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A Look at 10 Indian Solar Projects which will Prevent Future Blackouts

By Joao Peixe | Mon, 20 August 2012 15:17 | 2

Following the recent blackouts in India that have caused so much stir due to the vast number of people that they affected, it is clearer than ever that the country would benefit from new energy sources, and especially renewable energy sources. In fact a recent article on the website Gigaom has listed 10 solar projects that are already underway, and which will help to prevent future blackouts. I will briefly summarise each of the ten projects below.

1. Solar-powered microgrid: Mera Gao Power sells microgrid systems which consist of two solar panels, two batteries, four distribution lines, supplies electricity to 50 households, and costs $1,200. They hope to supply power to 70 rural villages before the end of the year.

2. Large Rooftop Solar Project: Azure Power plans to install solar panels on the roofs of 60 houses before March 2013. It will then share revenue earned by selling the power with the owners of the buildings.

3. 600 MW in Gujarat: The Indian state of Gujarat has approved 600 MW of solar energy projects this year, with the 214 MW solar park in the Patan district providing the largest contribution.

4. 20 GW by 2022: Back in 2010 the National Solar Mission set a goal of installing 20 GW of grid-connected solar power and 2 GW of off-grid solar by 2022; enough to provide three percent of India’s power.

5. SunEdison’s rural projects: SunEdison has created a business model for designing, installing, and managing solar systems for 29 villages in the Guna District. The development of these systems will be funded by government grants and private investors.

6. Pay-as-you-go solar: Simpa Networks has designed a system where customers only pay for the electricity produced by their own solar panel, and only when they use it.

7. Solar in the agriculture industry: SunEdison is working on a 1MW installation which stretches along a half mile of the Narmada Canal, in the state of Gujarat. The solar energy will be used by the agriculture and water industries.

8. Solar lanterns: d.light has recently achieved its goal of supplying it solar products, such as solar powered lanterns, to over 7 million people across 40 goals.

9. Solar Thermal Project: Areva Solar is constructing a 250 MW solar thermal plant in the north west of India.

10. Solar cooking and heating: Flareum sells solar products that concentrate the suns heat in order to cook food, or create a heater.

By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com

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  • Aravind on January 16 2013 said:
    Scott, I think you have to consider so many other factors when you are judging the future of Indian solar energy dream. I dont think, we will be able to generate more than 10% of solar energy any time before next 2 decades because it is a developing country which does not have enough money to go 60% or 90% solar. I would say for India this will work because all these projects are funded by government and electricity produced by government is heavily subsidized in most cases. And again, we are way below our demand when it comes to power production. So, India has to depend on every form of energy to keep the nation with 1.2 billion population going. If not, we will have to invite US/Chinese companies to come and burn our own coal, sell us power at higher cost and worst part make our fiscal deficit worser which is already worse because of imports from China and US.
  • Scott Brooks on August 24 2012 said:
    The reason solar may work in India is their standard of living and effluence is very low. What can you expect from a country that worships rats and treast cows like pedestrians? So it fits right in with their lifestyle. But still they will likely undergo the Spanish experience of high costs for relatively little return.

    In Spain, the original model for Obama and the greens, green proponents invested heavily in wind and solar, but prices rose so high it ended up driving the mfg. industry to China and India. 2.2 jobs were lost for every 1 green job created and only 1 in 10 green jobs were permanent. In Italy it was 3.4 real jobs lost for every green job created. In Spain, unemployment rose to 25.5%, highest of any country. Not a single fossil fuel power plant was shut down and CO2 emissions went up 50% not down.

    Masterresource.org:

    Though solar thermal tower technology has been around since the 1970s, to date, only one plant in the world commercially generates electricity: Abengoa Solar’s 11-MW PS10 tower just outside Seville, in Spain’s Andalucía desert has been grid-connected since early 2007. Because the technology relies on heat from solar energy that is reflected by mirror arrays (heliostats) onto a tower-mounted receiver, installations tend to be site-specific, expensive, and high-maintenance.

    Spanish company SENER, meanwhile, is building a 17-MW facility, with a mirror field measuring 75 acres, also in Andalusia. That plant, Gemasolar (previously known as “Solar Tres”), has been under development for 7 years now at the hands of SENER and, more recently, Abu Dhabi firm Masdar. It should be operational by 2011. Unlike PS10, it will use molten salt heated to 1,050F to transfer heat.

    Molten salt technology was developed from U.S. Department of Energy pilot tests in the 1990s of the Solar One and Solar 2 projects in the Mojave Desert. This method will give the Spanish plant a thermal storage advantage of 647 MWh (permitting 15 hours of turbine load) over PS10’s paltry 20 MWh with steam (or 30 minutes), according to the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research. But that advantage will have a cost, the group said: Gemasolar’s total efficiency is 14% — worse than PS10’s 15.45%. Added to that, due in large part to the associated storage technology, Gemasolar’s generation costs will be €78.5 /MWh ($105.3/MWh) higher than that of PS10.

    But the problem with solar energy is subsidies and mandates. If some plants do not face price- and volume-risks, of course this will come at the expenses of other plants. This form of “competition” resembles the idea of socialism that George Orwell made famous: all competitors are equal, but some competitors are more equal than others.

    So India, so indoctrinated with the global warming fear mantra, will fall into the same trap that the EU and increasingly, the US has fallen into. You can't integrate energy poor intermittent into the grid successfully. This sort of energy has limited application and usually for remote circumstances. It's the flip side of social utopia, a Green fancy more then a real alternative.

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