The Indian Government may be considering to set up a national lab for testing, standardisation, and certification of renewable energy systems and projects.
The Minster for Power, Coal, and Renewable Energy, Piyush Goyal, recently highlighted the need for such a lab, stating that such testing and certification would be essential to achieving the ambitious renewable energy targets set by the country.
India has set a target to have an operational renewable energy capacity of 175 GW by 2022, and have at least 15% electricity generated from renewable energy projects by the same year; this would include 3% electricity coming only from solar power projects.
While several state governments, and the central government as well, have already allocated thousands of megawatts of solar power capacity through competitive auctions there exists no dedicated agency or body that keeps track of the health of these power plants, the quality of construction, and whether or not the plant load factor is what it should be.
Testing and certification is also important to provide a level playing field to all developers. Additionally, some of the projects are receiving government subsidies, and thus it would be essential to track their performance. Data from performance reviews of power plants and equipment used would provide crucial information on the best equipment suited for Indian conditions.
Testing of equipment is also necessary to introduce new equipment and technologies. India is planning to set up canal-top solar power projects on a large scale and across various states. Since this has not been attempted anywhere else in the world, testing and impact of such plants on the local environment would be critical.
Another market segment India is planning to open up is offshore wind power. Review of operations and testing of equipment would be highly beneficial for new developers to set up projects.