Saturday, October 20, 2012

Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission

The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, also known as simply National Solar Mission, is a major initiative of the Government of India and State Governments to promote ecologically sustainable growth while addressing India’s energy security challenge. It will also constitute a major contribution by India to the global effort to meet the challenges of climate change. This is one of the several initiatives that are part of National Action Plan on Climate Change. The program was officially inauguratedby Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh.
Goals : - The objective of the National Solar Mission is to establish India as a global leader in solar energy, by creating the policy conditions for its diffusion across the country as quickly as possible. The immediate aim of the Mission is to focus on setting up an enabling environment for solar technology penetration in the country both at a centralized and decentralized level. The first phase (up to 2013) will focus on capturing of the low hanging options in solar thermal; on promoting off-grid systems to serve populations without access to commercial energy and modest capacity addition in grid-based systems. In the second phase, after taking into account the experience of the initial years, capacity will be
aggressively ramped up to create conditions for up scaled and competitive solar energy penetration in the country.
Timeline : - The Mission will adopt a 3-phase approach, spanning the remaining period of the 11th Plan and first year of the 12th Plan (up to 2012-13) as Phase 1, the remaining 4 years of the 12th Plan (2013–17) as Phase 2 and the 13th Plan (2017–22) as Phase 3. At the end of each plan, and mid-term during the 12th and 13th Plans, there will be an evaluation of progress, review of capacity and targets for subsequent phases, based on emerging cost and technology trends, both domestic and global. The aim would be to protect Government from subsidy exposure in case expected cost reduction does not materialize or is more rapid than expected.
Phase 1 : - The first phase of this mission aims to commission 1000MW of grid connected solar power project by 2013. The implementation of this phase is in hands of a subsidiary of National Thermal Power Corporation, the largest power producer in India. The subsidiary, NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd (NVVN), will lay out guidelines for selection of developers for commissioning grid connected solar power projects in India. While NVVN is the public face of this phase, several other departments and ministries will play a significant role in formulating guidelines. NVVN will sign power purchase agreements with the developers. Since NVVN is not a utility, it will sell purchased power to different
state utilities via separate agreements.
Tariff : - Tariff for solar power projects, like any other power projects, are determined based on guidelines issued by Central Electricity Regulation Commission of India (CERC).
Technologies : - For Phase 1 projects, NVVN proposed for 50:50 allocation towards Solar PV and Solar thermal. The latter is quite ambitious given India has no operational Solar Thermal projects and less than 10MW of Solar PV projects. While growing at a rapid pace lately, solar thermal technologies are still evolving globally. A growing solar PV industry is India is hoping to take off by supplying equipment to power project developers. World’s well known equipment manufacturers started increasing their presence in India and are sure to give a stiff competition to local Indian manufacturers. Due to generally high temperatures in India, crystalline silicon based products are not the most ideal ones. Thin film technologies like amorphous silicon, CIGS and CDTE could be more suitable for higher temperature situations. Solar thermal technology providers barely have a foothold in India. Few technology providers like Abengoa have some Indian presence in anticipation of demand from this mission. Many global players are gliding around and taking a wait and see approach via joint ventures with local Indian partners.
Domestic Content Controversy : - Initial guidelines for the solar mission mandated cells and modules for solar PV projects to be manufactured in India. That accounts to over 60% of total system costs. For solar thermal, guidelines mandated 30% project to have domestic content. A rigorous controversy emerged between power project developers and solar PV equipment manufacturers. The former camp prefers to source modules by accessing highly competitive global market to attain flexible pricing, better quality, predictable delivery and use of latest technologies. The latter camp prefers controlled / planned environment to force developers to purchase modules from a small, albeit growing, group of module manufacturers in India. Manufacturers want to avoid competition with global players and are lobbying the government to incentivize growth of local industry. - 


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