Thursday, March 4, 2021

Table of Contents for Powerzone

Power Zone

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With the Modi government set to double the target of the upcoming phase of JNNSM to 3,000 MW, solar is expected to emerge as India’s new prospective energy resource

Power or electricity is a critical resource behind the development of infrastructure and directly influences a nation’s economic growth. Among the main achievements of the country since independence the development of the power sector could be considered as significant from the point of view of generation capacity. With a power generation capacity of only 1,362 MW in 1947 it has today emerged as the sixth largest global power generator with a capacity of 2,34,600 MW. The country’s present per capita power consumption stands at 733.54 kilowatt-hours per year (kw/yr).

However, in a country with cities bursting at their seams with a population which threatens to multiply like piranhas in a feeding frenzy, the demand for power is a major concern.  Technical advancements have today enabled the country to generate power from renewable sources, of which solar prevails as the most exciting sector. With around 300 days of sunshine each year, India enjoys ideal conditions for overcoming its energy deficit with the aid of solar power in the future.  With much of the country not having the support of an electrical grid, solar power is expected to  emerge as a boon, especially for water pumping, to begin replacing India's four to five million diesel powered water pumps, each consuming about 3.5 kilowatt of off-grid lighting.

Power shortages are estimated at about 11 per cent of total energy and 15 per cent of peak capacity requirements which is likely to increase in the coming years.


Growth Prospects

According to the report published by Bridge To India, India has the potential to install 145 GW of solar power capacity across various project sizes by 2024. The report states the capacity addition potential across four plant sizes: residential rooftop (1-5 kW), industrial and commercial rooftop (10-500 kW), utility-scale projects (5-50 MW) and ultra mega solar power projects (1-3 GW). Furthermore, the levelised cost of energy (LCOE) from solar energy is now at par with that of imported coal. While the LCOE for imported coal is expected to increase with a compounded annual growth rate of 12 per cent over the next ten years, the LCOE for solar power is expected to fall with a CAGR of 4 per cent. Solar power is expected to match LCOE of new domestic coal-fired power plants in 2019. Furthermore, commercial, industrial and utility-scale projects are expected to have the highest potential for capacity addition in the next ten years, according to industry experts.

In addition, ultra mega solar power projects with capacities of up to 4 GW have been planned by the Indian government. The segment is anticipated to witness a cumulative capacity addition of up to 2 GW by 2024. Such projects are being planned across India, and will also be supported by dedicated transmission corridors. The Central government has announced a financial package of $83 million for four such projects this year. Also, under the National Solar Mission, India plans to have a cumulative installed solar power capacity of 22 GW. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy hopes to have 100 GW capacity installed by 2030.



The Modi government has set its eyes to double the target of the upcoming phase of Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) to 3,000 MW, the largest-ever tender for solar power in the country. The second batch of bidding under the second phase of JNNSM hopes to achieve 10,000 MW of grid connected solar power by 2017. The cumulative target of the mission is to have 20,000 MW of grid connected solar power by 2022. The current solar power capacity of the country is 2,600 MW.

Since many regions currently have no working power grid, off-grid solar installations (or ‘microgrids’) play an important role alongside large-scale solar power plants. The growth in solar sector has been tremendous in the recent years, primarily due to the government’s initiatives such as tax exemptions and subsidies. Due to the technical potential of 5,000 trillion kWh per year and minimum operating cost, solar power is considered the best suited energy source for India.


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