Clean Power

Published on August 30th, 2014 | by Smiti

28

India To Subsidise Solar Power Projects For Army, Railways

August 30th, 2014 by  

The Indian government has devised a plan to promote domestic solar photovoltaic module manufacturers even as it recently dropped the proposal to levy anti-dumping duties on imported modules.

The Indian government plans to take advantage of some specific clauses in the WTO agreements to subsidise solar power projects by the army, railways, and public sector enterprises. As per the plan drawn up by the government, the Indian army and public sector companies will set up 1,000-MW solar PV projects each.

An aerial view of India’s largest solar park in Gujarat, India

An aerial view of India’s largest solar park in Gujarat, India

The government will offer Rs 1 crore viability cost funding for each MW of capacity. The condition for this funding is that this entire capacity would use Indian-made solar cells, modules, and inverters. Projects using Indian-made modules and inverters only will get funding of Rs 50 lakhs per MW.

The government is looking at the country’s power producer, NTPC Limited, to take the lead among the public sector enterprises. The company already owns a number of solar power projects and is planning to set up some large-scale solar power projects with capacity of up to 1,000 MW. NHPC Limited, the largest hydropower generator in the country, may also set up some projects.

The US government had challenged Indian regulations that require some projects to use domestically manufactured solar power equipment. Sources within the Indian government claim that the new scheme is WTO compliant. Governments are allowed to procure domestic equipment for defence purposes and for its own use, thus the use of Indian-made solar power equipment by the army and public sector companies is justified, the sources claim.

With such bold plans, the Indian government has also asked the cell and module manufacturers to operate their production lines at full capacity and even add more production capacities. BHEL, another state-owned company and the largest power equipment manufacturer in India, has plans to set up solar cell and module manufacturing facility.

If the army and the railways are able to install significant solar power capacity, it would reduce substantial financial burden from the two institutions as both are heavy consumers of electricity. Railways, which pay some of the highest electricity tariffs among all consumer groups, will have their own power generation capacity.

NTPC will be able to bundle solar power with coal-based power, which will allow distribution companies to meet their power demand and fulfill renewable purchase obligation through a single power purchase agreement.

Image Credit: Gujarat Power Corporation Limited





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About the Author

works as a senior solar engineer at a reputed engineering and management consultancy. She has conducted due diligence of several solar PV projects in India and Southeast Asia. She has keen interest in renewable energy, green buildings, environmental sustainability, and biofuels. She currently resides in New Delhi, India.



  • Diepak Paul

    India has a potential of over 2000 GWs of solar energy. If harnessed, it will be a surplus energy country without fossil fuel usage, and reduced carbom emmission, along with reducing global warming

  • A lot of the biggies of CleanTechnica are here, so I thought I’ll pose this question here. Now this item is ‘news’ only because India is sort of ‘trying’ to outsmart US by getting into technicalities of WTO agreement(s). What I don’t understand is when US does things like – Buy American, Ban Chinese solar etc. etc. then why does it stop (or try to stop) other countries from doing so? I totally understand the business angle at play. But is there some other logic I am missing here?

    • Bob_Wallace

      First, I find it an interesting question coming from India which has a long, and extreme, history of protecting its national industries. Thumbs Up, no Coco Cola. Badly outdated Ambassadors, no Toyotas.

      Then, it’s all about world trade agreements, is it not? If countries agree to abide by a common set of trade agreements and one country then breaks those agreements is it not the case that if enough countries let them get away with it then it no longer would be possible to form agreements?

    • Offgridman

      There is no logic, it is more a case of simple stupid political gamesmanship. The right wing republicans that have been paid off by the fossil fuel interests are doing their best to slow the deployment of renewable energy in order to let the rich get a bit richer continuing the sales of the fossil fuels where their money is invested.
      The original complaint on price support of the Chinese manufacturers by their government was actually brought by a German manufacturer. So far as I know none of the big American solar manufacturers came out in support of these import tariffs, as they are well aware that with rising electricity prices there is plenty of market demand for their panels as well as the imports. Actually in a lot of cases the American installers will go ahead and use the Chinese panels contracted for and pay the tariffs. As with our installation prices still some of the highest in the world on the residential level the end costs still fall into the normal range and it is the American consumer getting stuck paying for the tariffs.

  • Matt

    For those of us not in the know. Are India’s trains electric? Do they have regenative braking?

    • Bob_Wallace

      This site says 31% of Indian railways are electric with plans to take that to about 40%.

      http://indiatransportportal.com/2013/08/indian-railways-to-increase-electricity-based-power-use-by-25/

      Apparently 25% of their electric trains have regenerative braking, the more recently purchased engines.

      http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/allahabad/Regenerative-braking-helps-Railways-to-save-energy-money/articleshow/10131180.cms

    • Ronald Brakels

      I’ll mention that all trains that aren’t electric are diesel electric (except for a few steam trains here and there), so converting them to run off electriciy is not especially difficult. In practice, diesel electrics just get used on the unelectrified lines rather than modified, but it’s something that can be done.

      • Bob_Wallace

        The steam engine no longer runs from Siliguri to Darjeeling. They do a short ‘out and back’ from Darjeeling periodically for the tourists. The haul up and down is now diesel. (It’s great trip that should be experienced.)

        The Ooty train a very interesting ride as well. A cogwheel train. The route is so steep that iron wheels on rails lose traction so a large toothed wheel is lowered down from the center of the engine. The teeth on the wheel engage with teeth on a center rail and drive/brake the train. A rack and pinion system. Diesel engines have shown up on that route so those steam engines might be on the way out as well. (Grab a ride if you can. Opportunities to ride steam engine somewhere other than an amusement park are becoming rare.)

        • Offgridman

          Unless it has changed in the past few years you can get a steamer ride from Stone Mountain Park (outside of Atlanta) up and around the mountain, which is a 2-3 hour trip.
          And if you catch it on the right day they run the steam engine out of Chattanooga up to my neck of the woods (the old copper hauling route), and other days up to Lookout Mountain. Coming my way takes most of a day up and back with about a two hour layover to get lunch up here, it is unique in that the front and back of the train are in view of each other due to the switchbacks or loops around the mountains. Haven’t done the Lookout Mountain run yet, but think it is more like a half day and concentrates on the Civil War history aspect. I think Lookout Mountain also has a cog train, but not sure if it is steam

          • Bob_Wallace

            Yeah, but those are ‘tourist trains’. The Darjeeling and Ooty routes are working railways that have been in service since the days of the British Raj when they hauled people up to the hill stations to escape the heat.

            Now there are roads as well which are much faster than the trains. These routes have become mostly tourist routes (including many Indian tourists).

            Ride these routes if you get a chance, the ones that snake up mountains and through remote canyons. We’ve lost many of the really unique routes and they aren’t likely to be rebuilt. They generally cover short distances and buses are taking their place.

            (We have drifted far off topic, have we not? Mostly my bad.)

          • Offgridman

            Granted we have gotten a little off subject, but railways are in the title, and Zach has said he enjoys seeing where these conversations go sometimes. 🙂
            Also granted that the runs I mentioned are tourist trips, but with the variety of people we meet on them it makes me think that it is a similar experience to when they were running to take people to destinations, and good for the boys.
            We are looking forward to doing the Chattanooga – Copperhill run again next summer after they finish renovating the old Pullman cars they recently acquired.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Copperhill and Ducktown. We used to drive through that area in the 1950s. The devastation from the copper mines was amazing. Especially in the lush, verdant Southeast.

          • Offgridman

            Used to be, fortunately this is one of the areas that got cleaned up right before the EPA started losing their powers.
            The bottom half of my property used to be part of the red hills (as the old timers call them) from the acid rain, but with the replants of trees approximately forty and then thirty years ago it is hard to see a difference anymore.
            It helped a lot that the early Apollo mission took pictures and pointed it out as the largest man made desert of the time. And the white water events for the Olympics nearby helped to fund a lot of cleanup on top of what the copper companies had to do..
            Actually there have been some celebrations lately because the wildlife has returned to normal numbers even in the big area that is the covered over tailing ponds. And the water going through the old mine area is safe to go into the Ocoee river.
            They did some tests at the lake that is 25-30 miles downstream this year and the sediments are almost buried deep enough to not be a problem anymore but there are some breeds of fish that live to be old enough or are bottom feeders that it is unsafe to eat. But otherwise the river and lake see heavy tourist usage with swimming, rafting, and etc being part of the National forest.
            There are some of the old buildings and piles of iron ore that are still being taken off, but hard to associate with the pictures that can be seen up at the local mine museum. And with the population down to 10-15% of what it was when you came through you probably wouldn’t recognize the place.

    • Simple Indian

      Regenerative braking is good, but total electrification is costly because of the Transmission losses. There is a better loco developed by GE in Bengaluru which consumes 35% less fuel.

      New government is focused on bringing anything and everything that is efficient and cost-effective.

      • Offgridman

        Within the past week either on here or 1sun4all.com, there was an article about a totally electric train route starting up in England, that carried its own batteries for places where there wasn’t a hot rail, and utilized regenerative power. It is in testing for now, but I guess it is becoming more cost effective, or enough so when considering avoiding the pollution from the stack in and around London.

  • JamesWimberley

    Besides, the Pentagon’s large renewables programme is also “Buy American”.

    • Brian Donovan

      And there 50 times large nuclear and fracking plans are big gov welfare queen industries thour our gov pushes all over the world.

      Obama and the DINO hate solar, wind and wastes, and love nuclear and fracking. That’s what their policies show. So if they say something else, you know it’s a lie.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Oh, Brian, what rock have you been hiding under?

        Please tell us how PBO has shown love for nuclear and fracking over solar, wind and wastes. It should be interesting to see what you’ve cherry-picked to come to that conclusion.

        • Brian Donovan

          Obama’s admin called Japan officially in the week after Fuku to make sure they did’nt quit nuclear.

          The gov gives 50 times the break to nuclear as solar or wind, and lets a conjecture based German company put 50% tariffs on the Chinese solar panels, destroying the US positive balance to trade, and our poly silicon industry, and slowing solar in the USA.

          The DOE/EIA still don’t even count residential and commercial solar, so they under report it, and they still predict solar leveling off, and fossils and nuclear taking off. The only fossils they don’t like are coal, since the coal bothers back the GOP.

          All of the above means status quo, the big donors get the big breaks.,

          Where have you been?

          • Bob_Wallace

            “Obama’s admin called Japan officially in the week after Fuku to make sure they did’nt quit nuclear.”

            I’ve never heard about that and didn’t find anything on the web. Can you provide a reliable source for that claim?

            “The gov gives 50 times the break to nuclear as solar or wind,”

            Well, yes, that’s something we’ve done from day one with nuclear – put most of the liability costs on taxpayers.

            PBO didn’t start that, he inherited it.

            And nuclear received 10 times more in subsidies during nuclear’s first 15 years than renewables received in their first 15 years.

            Of course that happened before PBO was elected to office.

            I think that at the moment wind and solar are receiving more in subsidies than nuclear (other than assumed liability) because wind and solar get PTC subsidies and nuclear, while it qualifies for PTC subsidies hasn’t brought any new capacity on board.

            ” put 50% tariffs on the Chinese solar panels, destroying the US positive balance to trade, and our poly silicon industry,”

            “New duties will range from 18.56 to 35.21 percent”

            I guess you like to round up – very strongly when if fits your fantasy.

            Destroying the US positive balance of trade? Check the graph below.

            “The DOE/EIA still don’t even count residential and commercial solar, so they under report it”

            Wrong. (Again.)

            http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=8510

            ” they still predict solar leveling off, and fossils and nuclear taking off”

            Right. Once. Not the DOE per se, but an office inside the EIA that appears to be smoking crack. We’ve covered that problem in detail on this site.

            “Where have you been?”

            Paying attention. And avoiding untrustworthy sites that engage in hyperbole.

          • Brian Donovan

            Without subsidies breaks and protection, electricity prices would
            be: rooftop solar Power: 3-6 cents/KWH
            Wind Power: 6-7 cents/kWh
            Nuclear Power: 11-20+ cents/kWh
            Coal Power: 9-32+ cents/kWh
            http://cleantechnica.com/2011/06/20/wind-power-subsidies-dont-compare-to-fossil-fuel-nuclear-subsidies/#ABfIXAl3UjBqeQOP.99
            http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/the-real-deal-on-u.s.-subsidies-fossils-72b-renewable-energys-12b
            solar 2.3, wind 12B, ethanol 17B, 70B fossils. nukes 120B$

            The OFFICIAL yearly reports do not include residential and commercial rooftop solar.

            The DOE/EIA are not a reliable source. They are political run gov agencies.

            So why do you believe the old Atomic Energy Commissions, which is now the DOE, and sill 90% nuclear related actives and personal. Chu is a nuclear engineer.

            Positive balance of trade in the solar industry. Sorry, left that out, thought it was obvious.

          • Bob_Wallace

            US onshore wind, without subsidies is now just under 4c/kWh. Solar, w/o, is in the range of 7c to 9c.

            The EIA numbers for annual generation contain a rough estimate of end-user solar based on net metering data provided by utility companies.

            http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=8510

            Much of what the EIA does seems solid. They have a single office that turns out some batshit crazy predictions.

            Stephen Chu is not a nuclear engineer. He is a physicist who has worked in various areas. He’s now working on battery technology. He is also no longer the Secretary of Energy.

            Now you made a claim –

            “Obama’s admin called Japan officially in the week after Fuku to make sure they did’nt quit nuclear.”

            I asked you to back that up. I’d like for you to do that.

            Can you provide data for your positive solar balance of trade that has now gone negative?

            I’d like to see that as well.

          • Brian Donovan

            Where did you get your numbers?

            Of course a good lying agency has to make their numbers look good.

            they aren’t when you dig into their sources or lack there of.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Brian – I repeat myself…

            Now you made a claim –

            “Obama’s admin called Japan officially in the week after Fuku to make sure they did’nt quit nuclear.”

            I asked you to back that up. I’d like for you to do that.

            Can you provide data for your positive solar balance of trade that has now gone negative?

            I’d like to see that as well. In fact, you show me yours and I’ll show you mine.

          • Brian Donovan

            looked, I can’t find a reference. I recall it. I also recall the US gov officials helping sell reactors in the week or so after the disaster. If anyone has a link I would appreciate it.

            But’s totally believable and well within the expected behavior of the Obama admin.

            The Obama admin is intensely pro nuclear.

            Fact.

            http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/mar/08/big-nuclear-cosy-relationship-obama-administration

            Chu wrote a paper on why we should go nuclear. The Obama admin has lobbied for nuclear for a long time.

            http://www.facebook.com/notes/steven-chu/why-we-need-more-nuclear-power/336162546856

          • Bob_Wallace

            Oh, pleeeeease….

            A $18 billion loan guarantee was set up for nuclear reactors. That hardly makes the Obama administration “intensely pro nuclear”.

            In fact, I think it’s the exact opposite. I suspect the $18B loan guarantee was a ‘give them enough rope to hang themselves’. Any rational person who goes through the numbers would know that nuclear makes no financial sense. We proved that to ourselves back in the 1970s. But over time many have forgotten history and the nuclear industry pushed the idea of a nuclear renaissance. Their clamoring has been a distraction to getting on with wind and solar.

            Let the industry build a few reactors. Let them prove once more that nuclear is too expensive to consider. That, I think, is the thinking behind the loan guarantee program.

            And that is what is happening.

            BTW, there’s nothing in Amy’s piece that backs your claim.

            Now, Chu’s 2010 Facebook bit. You are aware, are you not, that the cost of wind and solar were much higher than now back in 2010? As each year goes by the cost spread between nuclear and renewables widens. I seriously doubt Chu would make the same statement today. Especially since we’ve learned this prediction is almost certainly wrong.

            “the Energy Information Administration projects an almost 20 percent increase in overall energy demand and over 30 percent increase in electricity demand over the next 25 years under current laws”

            Energy use is flattening and falling due to higher efficiency. What looked to be the future in 2010 is not what the future looks like in 2014.

            Now, I’ve spent a fair amount of time dealing with this BS. Let me again post –

            =======================

            Now you made a claim –

            “Obama’s admin called Japan officially in the week after Fuku to make sure they did’nt quit nuclear.”

            I asked you to back that up. I’d like for you to do that.

            Can you provide data for your positive solar balance of trade that has now gone negative?

            I’d like to see that as well.

            ========================

            How about you get those backup documents in hand before posting more stuff or admit you were wrong? We don’t take too kindly to FUD on this site.

          • Brian Donovan

            BS, got ya. I proved Obama’s admin is super pro nuclear and his commerce derangement used a German company to slow down solar, probably a favor for the big donors.

            You really want to believe in Obama, you think he’s a progressive, when he’s really a Reagan conservative.

            The EIA numbers are worthless, why do you trust a political agency, oh yeah, you believe politicians. Your data set just happens to include the 2008 world economic crash. Talk about FUD.

            Why don’t you dig into the way they calculate those numbers. It’s in BTU thermal equivalents using various conversion factors.

            http://www.energy4me.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/28228_flowcharthighres.png 2012 USA energy flowchart in QUADS which are about the same as EJ.

            Read the foot note.

            Now look at the electrically output from the generator block. It’s not adjusted. Look it up.

            But why anybody believes an agency that uses BTU’s is beyond me.

            They get their own docs wrong. But you still believe them.

            Perhaps you think I pick Obama out, no, virtually every admin has sold out to nuclear.

        • Brian Donovan

          Hey Bob, Why don’t you stick to the subject? Obama is pro nuclear.

          Grow up. Just because we can’t find a link for it, does not make it false, it’s it is irreverent in the scheme of things.

          Your denial of Obam’s love of nuclear is a huge mistake on the other hand, one you contue to compaound.

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