Solar Energy

  • Clean energy the need of the hour

    THE need to generate power from renewable sources of energy is being increasingly emphasised due to growing awareness about climate change. V Subramanian, secretary in the ministry of new and renewable energy, feels the cost of solar power generation would come down over time due to technological improvements. Subsidy to producers of solar power is inevitable at this juncture, he told G Ganapathy Subramaniamin an interview. Excerpts. Why should the government subsidise solar power? The estimated cost of generating solar power is around Rs 15 per kilowatt hour (KWh). This is the cost of supplying photovoltaic power to the grid, without involving any batteries for storage. Since the unit cost of power generated through conventional sources is far lower and the cost at which power is bought by state electricity boards is cheaper, the government has decided to subsidise solar power generation. The incentive is up to Rs 12 per Kwh for electricity generated from solar photovoltaic and a maximum of Rs 10 per Kwh for electricity generated through solar thermal power plants. We need to provide subsidy in order to encourage generation of clean energy. This subsidy is only for power supplied to the grid. It is not applicable for any private supply or captive use. The subsidy component would go down over a period of time. How will the subsidy, once awarded, go down? The initial cost of solar photovoltaic systems is high because raw materials like silicon wafers are imported. We expect costs to come down over a period of time due to advances in technology. In the next four to five years, we expect conversion efficiency of solar power plants to improve to 18% as compared to 14% or 16% now. The industry, on its part, is trying to reduce consumption of silicon wafers. As a result of these measures, cost of solar cells and modules should come down by about 33%. Therefore, the subsidy component can be reduced over a period of time. There is a built-in provision to bring down maximum subsidies by 5% each year for capacities commissioned from 2010-11 onwards if the current programme is not reviewed in 2009-10. Do you believe the subsidy offer would attract a large number of investors? As much as 97% of the power generation capacity based on renewable energy is built on the strength of incentives and government policies. This includes wind energy, power from waste, bagasse co-generation and biomass conversion programmes. For the sake of clean energy, incentives have been provided. We are confident of the solar power scheme since it is a direct, upfront subsidy. The programme would be implemented through IREDA and there is no chance of bureaucratic red tape coming in the way of the delivery system. State electricity boards will not feel any disincentive since they are buying power at commercial rates, similar to what is paid to other electricity producers. Moreover, we are also providing state electricity boards with an incentive of 10 paise per unit sourced from solar power generation. How much progress have we made in generating renewable energy? By the end of 2007, installed capacity of solar photovoltaic systems in the country has increased to 125 MW in various applications like lighting, rural telecom and offshore oilwell-head platforms. We have street lighting systems, lanterns, home lighting and pumping systems run on solar power, apart from stand-alone units. Installed capacity in the case of wind energy has increased to 7,092 MW, followed by 1,975 MW in the case of small hydro projects, 615 MW in the case of bagasse co-generation, and 524 MW in the case of biomass conversion. In the short-tomedium term, we can generate more power from renewable sources as compared to nuclear power. We have set the ball rolling with the subsidy scheme for solar power and the initial response is very positive. There are people who do not want their investments restricted to 50 MW, but we have kept in mind the need to keep the window open for opportunities from various parts of the country. Can we quantify the projected benefits from the subsidy for solar projects? Every solar plant with 1 MW capacity would produce 2 million KW of electricity, taking care of 5,000 families if we go by the government's commitment of providing at least 1 KW of power to each rural household. Apart from this, each of these plants would create 25 to 40 jobs directly and another 400 indirectly.

  • CDGK to use solar energy

    In a bid to explore alternative sources of energy under the public-private initiative, the city government has decided to use solar energy for spot lights installed in parks and on the streets etc. The decision has been taken in view of a looming energy crisis in the country. In this regard, the CDGK's Enterprise and Investment Promotion Department has invited expressions of interest (EoIs) from prominent local and foreign firms having experience in the field of solar energy by March 5. The offers must be in accordance with the required health and safety international standards. Before entering into an agreement, such projects completed by the bidding firms at home or abroad will also be inspected to ascertain their capability and expertise. Under the agreement, the successful bidder will be bound to provide and successfully operate streetlights, lamp poles, spot lights, wall-mounted lights, landscape lights etc and hand over the same to the city government within the stipulated period.

  • The power of concentration

    A new type of power plant harnesses the sun

  • Lab powered by sun - Solar energy debut in college

    Asutosh College, in south Calcutta, has become the first college in the state to use solar power. A 73-watt panel, set up on the roof of the college with help from the West Bengal Renewable Energy Resource Development Agency, is powering instruments in the physics, electronics and computer laboratories for the past 10 days. Asutosh College principal Debabrata Chowdhury said: "The use of non-conventional source of energy is likely to increase the life span of sophisticated instruments in the laboratories. This is one of reasons we opted for solar energy.'

  • More timer switches for streetlights

    TIMELY MOVE: The Corporation plans to install timer switches to prevent streetlights from burning much after dawn, as seen on the Poonamallee High Road on Sunday. CHENNAI: The Chennai Corporation has taken up energy efficiency as a priority

  • Tokyo Electron joins Sharp in solar project

    Tokyo Electron, a leading maker of semiconductor equipment, is set to develop solar cell manufacturing equipment through a joint venture with Sharp in an effort to capitalise on demand for clean energy. The two Japanese companies plan to develop production equipment for thin-film solar cells. Tokyo Electron will produce and sell the equipment, starting next year. Thin-film solar cells use just 1 per cent of the silicon needed in conventional solar cells. The technology is attractive because, as a result of scarcity, the price of silicon has rocketed to as much as $350 a kilogramme. Japanese companies are at the forefront of thin-film solar cell technology, with Sharp, Kaneka and Sanyo the three big manufacturers. Sharp, the world's leading maker of solar cells, is set to boost output capacity for thin-film solar cells more than tenfold this year, by investing Y22bn ($203m). In western Japan, Sharp, which also makes LCD televisions, is constructing the world's biggest solar cell plant. It will be dedicated primarily to thin-film solar cells and is expected to start operations by March 2010. The joint venture will be capitalised at Y50m, with 51 per cent held by Tokyo Electron and the remainder by Sharp. For Tokyo Electron, it is an attempt to diversify and capitalise on a sector with a growing demand. Thin-film solar cells are more versatile than conventional crystalline solar cells because they are transparent and so can be used as walls that allow light to shine through. Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2008

  • Sharp in solar cell joint venture

    Japan's Sharp Corporation and Tokyo Electron will establish a joint venture to develop production equipment for solar cells, the Nikkei business daily reports. The venture will develop equipment for thin-film solar cells, which need less silicon than conventional solar cells, at Tokyo Electron's production site in Yamanashi Prefecture west of Tokyo. Sharp is investing heavily in the solar cell market and is building a 100 billion yen factory for thin-film solar cells in Osaka Prefecture. Tokyo Electron is the world's second-largest chip equipment maker. The venture will be capitalised at about 100 million yen. Tokyo Electron will take a 60% stake while Sharp takes the remaining 40%. REUTERS

  • Masdar in UAE goes all green

    United Arab Emirates's Masdar city will soon be the world's first zero-carbon, zero-waste and car-free city. Designed in accordance with wwf's

  • PWD solar power plant in Rangamati of no use

    The solar power plant installed by Power Development Board (PDB) at Baghachola village under Barkal upazila in Rangamati at a cost of Tk 8 lakhs is virtually of no use because of lack of proper maintenance. It was set up there about one year ago under Chittagong Hill Tracts Solar Photovoltaic Electrification Project (CHTSPVEP) to supply power and safe water among households. The technology does not benefit the villagers allegedly due to lack of maintenance by PDB officials, locals told this correspondent during a visit.

  • Expansion capital boom

    In the fourth quarter of 2007 the clean energy sector saw a sharp increase in the use of private equity expansion capital, but investment in buyouts evaporated in the face of the credit crisis. Venture capital investment, meanwhile, maintained the high levels seen in the previous two quarters.

  1. 1
  2. ...
  3. 594
  4. 595
  5. 596
  6. 597
  7. 598
  8. ...
  9. 675