Saturday, February 27, 2010

Transforming India to a Solar Energy Manufacturing Hub

According to "Photovoltaic World" Magazine ( 2010 March-April issue); "By 2010, India will supply nearly 40% of its own solar pv demand". This is going to be true based on the announcenment of the National Solar Mission by Govt. of India. The 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.

Currently, the bulk of India's Solar PV industry is dependent on imports of critical raw materials and components - including silicon wafers. Transforming India into a solar energy hub would include a leadership role in low-cost, high quality solar manufacturing, including balance of system components.

One of the Mission objectives is to take a global leadership role in solar manufacturing (across the value chain) of leading edge solar technologies and target a 4-5 GW equivalent of installed capacity by 2020, including setting up of dedicated manufacturing capacities for poly silicon material to annually make about 2 GW capacity of solar cells. India already has PV module manufacturing capacity of about 700 MW, which is expected to increase in the next few years.

The present indigenous capacity to manufacture silicon material is very low, however, some plants are likely to be set up soon in public and private sector. Currently, there is no indigenous capacity/capability for solar thermal power projects; therefore new facilities will be required to manufacture concentrator collectors, receivers and other components to meet the demand for solar thermal power plants.

To achieve the installed capacity target, the Mission recommends the following:

• Local demand creation: The 20 GW plan supported with right level of incentives for solar generation coupled with large government pilot/demonstration programs will make the Indian market attractive for solar manufacturers

• Financing & Incentives: SEZ like incentives to be provided to the manufacturing parks which may include:

o Zero import duty on capital equipment, raw materials and excise duty exemption

o Low interest rate loans, priority sector lending

o Incentives under Special Incentive Package (SIPs) policy to set up integrated manufacturing plants;

(i) from poly silicon material to solar modules; and (ii) thin film based module manufacturing plants.

According to the the SIP scheme, the Department of Information Technology, there are 15 applications in the domain of solar photovoltaic, which includes cell manufacturing, (both crystalline and thin film) and poly-silicon manufacturing among others. The combined capacity projected by these 15 companies could result in the production of 8-10 GW solar power by the year 2022 which would be sufficient for meeting the Mission targets even after accounting for exports.

o It is also recommended that solar components be covered under the Bureau of Energy Efficiency's star rating programme to ensure high standards.

Similar incentives will be required for manufacture of CSP systems and their components. A Committee may be set up to formulate a policy for promotion of solar thermal manufacture in the country.

• Ease of doing business: In consultation with States, create a single window clearance mechanism for all related permissions.

• Infrastructure & ecosystem enablers: Create 2-3 large solar manufacturing tech parks consisting of manufacturing units (across the solar value chain), housing, offices, and research institutes. These will have 24x7 power and water supply and will likely need to be located near large urban centres with good linkages to ports and airports to ensure rapid access to imported raw materials and high quality engineering talent.

All the above announced policies, if implemented in the right way, can make India the Global leader in Solar industry. We all know that India had started the initiative for the first time in the world to set up a seperate Ministry for Renewable Energy movement and it is going to click in a strategic way for making the country a world leader in the industry.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

EU will meet its 2020 target on Renewable Energy

Despite the controversies airing up regarding the IPCC's findings and the failure of the Copenhagen Summit, there is still hope for the Renewable Energy industry. European Wind Energy Association's (EWEA) latest forcast document brings hope for us and which will be beneficial for all the regions across the world.

According to an analysis by the European Wind Energy Association of all 27 Member States' national forecast documents, the EU will meet and even slightly exceed, its 2020 20% renewable energy target.

The EWEA analysis shows that EU member states are on course to achieve over 20% renewable energy by 2020, with 21 Member States meeting or exceeding their national targets. The top 21 are made up of 13 Member States who predict they will meet their target and eight who forecast they will exceed their target.

Only six forecast they will not manage to reach their target through domestic action alone, although two of these say that with fresh national initiatives they can meet or exceed their targets. None of the six expect to be more than 1%-point below their target.

Spain and Germany will exceed targets

Top achievers are Spain, which believes it will reach 22.7% renewables by 2020 - almost 3%-points above its 20% target. Next comes Germany which expects to be 0.7%-points above its 18% target. In addition Estonia, Greece, Ireland, Poland, Slovakia and Sweden will exceed their targets.

The six who do not expect to meet their target are Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg and Malta, together with Bulgaria and Denmark - the two countries which state that with fresh national initiatives they could meet or exceed their targets. Bottom of the league is Italy which, in order to meet its target, foresees importing renewable energy from neighbouring non-EU countries (Albania, Croatia, Serbia and Tunisia).

"Europe has witnessed a sea-change since the 2009 Renewable Energy Directive was agreed as in 2008 many countries were stating that their target would be difficult to meet – now the majority are forecasting that they will meet or exceed their national target” said Justin Wilkes, Policy Director of EWEA. "The forecast documents give a clear signal to the European Commission of where they could facilitate implementation of the Renewable Energy Directive” said Wilkes.

Christine Lins, Secretary General of the European Renewable Energy Council stated, “The clear majority of European Member States recognise the economic, environmental and social benefits of promoting a broad range of renewable energy technologies nationally, as reflected in their forecast documents”.

For further details see EWEA’s website link below:

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