Clean Power Coal Tax To Fund India's 750 MW Solar Power Capacity Addition Plan In 2013

Published on April 23rd, 2013 | by Mridul Chadha


Rajasthan Becomes Second Indian State To Cross 500 MW Solar Power Capacity

April 23rd, 2013 by  

The western Indian state of Rajasthan recently became the second state to have an operational solar power capacity of over 500 MW. Last year, another western state, Gujarat, achieved this milestone with its aggressive solar power policy.

Reliance Industries' 5 MW solar PV project at Khimsar, Rajasthan

Reliance Industries’ 5 MW solar PV project at Khimsar, Rajasthan
Image Credit: Reliance Industries Limited, Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corporation Limited

Rajasthan laid the foundation for India’s National Solar Mission. The state had unveiled its solar power policy, among the first in the country, a few years ago. The state had allocated a number of solar photovoltaic and solar thermal power projects under this policy. When the Prime Minister announced the ambitious National Solar Mission policy, that aims at setting up 20,000 MW grid-connected solar power capacity by 2020, all these projects were transferred to the central government’s mission.

The state boasts several firsts in India’s developing solar power market. The first solar thermal power plant in India was commissioned in Rajasthan. The project is expected to remain India’s only project using that tower technology for some years. The state also has a highly unique solar PV power plant owned by Reliance Industries Limited. The project seems to have been commissioned with an intent to test the suitability of the various solar PV technologies to the Indian conditions. The project, having a capacity of 5 MW, is based on monocrystalline polycrystalline solar panels as well as thin-film solar panels. Some of these panels use no tracking equipment while others use single-axis or dual-axis tracking. The project even has concentrated solar PV panels.

Rajasthan, along with Gujarat, also has the claim to India’s largest operational solar PV project. A 40 MW solar PV project owned by subsidiary of Reliance Power Limited is currently the largest solar power project in India along with a project owned by Adani Power Limited in Gujarat of same capacity. However, a number of solar thermal parts, mostly in Rajasthan, are set to dethrone both these projects as the largest solar power projects in the country. At least a couple of solar PV projects with over 100 MW capacity are expected to be commissioned in India over the next couple of years.

Rajasthan will soon have the highest concentration of solar thermal power capacity in the country as 400 MW capacity projects are set to be commissioned soon. These projects were allocated under the first phase of the National Solar Mission.

Gujarat and Rajasthan currently host a majority of the solar power capacity operational in India. The two states have about 88% of the total operational capacity. While Gujarat has an operational capacity of just over 824 MW, Rajasthan has a capacity of about 513 MW. The Gujarat government has executed the first phase of its solar policy and has, so far, not released details of any large-scale deployment of solar power capacity in the near future. The state may continue to concentrate it efforts on roof-top and canal-top solar power projects over the next few years.

Rajasthan, on the other hand, is expected to become the engine of growth of the Indian solar market. Blessed with significantly high solar energy resource, a vast area of barren land, and developer-friendly policies, the state may attract a bulk of the solar power capacity set to be allocated over the next three years by the central government under the second phase of the National Solar Mission. Additionally, the state plans to set up 600 MW of solar power capacity under its own policy by 2017.

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About the Author

currently works as Head-News & Data at Climate Connect Limited, a market research and analytics firm in the renewable energy and carbon markets domain. He earned his Master’s in Technology degree from The Energy & Resources Institute in Renewable Energy Engineering and Management. He also has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering. Mridul has a keen interest in renewable energy sector in India and emerging carbon markets like China and Australia.

  • I agree with you Jagadeesh, Desert areas from all countries are best for Solar Power Plant.

  • No doubt Desert in Rajasthan experiences high temperatures especially in Summer. I visited Jaisalmer area in Summer in connection with Wind Project there. I visited the area where the present Solar Projects were established. The Problem with Rajasthan is LOO.

    One problem with solar panels that I have repeatedly raised is dust. It’s everywhere, and the atmosphere is full of it — it’s estimated that about 1,000 tons of dust fall to Earth from space each year. That’s a lot of dust, and it coats everything, including solar panels. And more dust is kicked up by the wind.

    Desert countries are of course best suited to photovoltaic
    generation, but keep in mind that arid regions also have a bigger problem with dust, that means PV panels have to be frequently cleaned to maintain optimum power production, and that of course requires a further expenditure of energy for maintenance.

    Some countries are setting up Vast solar arrays in desert
    countries and exporting the power to other countries. And the bigger the solar park, the more people and machines will be needed to keep making the rounds and cleaning the panels, especially after a dust storm. This continuing expenditure of energy for maintenance needs to be taken into account. If cleaning is neglected, then before you know it a solar park’s output will drop to half or even below as dust continues to accumulate.

    Dust accumulation on the Solar Panels is a big problem
    especially in arid regions.

    Everybody knows anything immobile is quickly covered, whether
    hanging laundry, parked cars or solar panels.

    Unless regularly removed, accumulated dust can in one month
    reduce a solar panel’s efficiency by 35 per cent, according to some experts, more if there is a dust storm. Making matters worse is that, in addition to the dust that blows in from the desert, the region’s relatively high humidity helps turn fine dust into a sort of crust. “It makes the dust stick,”

    Using precious water in those regions is expensive nor regular cleaning manually large installations.

    Why not Scientists develop non sticky dust glass ? A glass where the dust won’t stick to the surface but slides with a periodic jerk. In Rajasthan,India there is ambitious Solar PV Programme for large scale power. Dust storms in Rajasthan during summer are common which are carried to far way places.

    The Loo is a strong, hot and dry summer afternoon wind from
    the west which blows over the western Indo-Gangetic Plain region of North India and Pakistan. It is especially strong in the months of May and June. Due to its very high temperatures (45 °C–50 °C or 115°F-120°F), exposure to it often leads to fatal heat strokes.

    Infact there are places hot enough like Ramagundam,Kothagudem,Rentachintala in Andhra Pradesh.

    Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India

    • Bill_Woods

      “— it’s estimated that about 1,000 tons of dust fall to Earth from space each year. That’s a lot of dust, …”

      It isn’t really. That’s 1000 t / 500 million km2 = 2 g/km2 = 2 µg/m2.

  • James Wimberley

    Why are Indian state governments going solar so quickly? Democracy, that’s why. The coal industry is in a state of chaos, as domestic mining can’t be ramped up and imported coal is too expensive to meet the low electricity rates that Indian peasants see as their right. India has next to no gas. So renewables are the only way to deploy new generation fast enough to avoid brownouts and electoral payback. They will have to do something about despatchable capacity though.

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