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Published on September 18th, 2015 | by Smiti


India May Set Up National Renewable Energy Certification Lab

September 18th, 2015 by  

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.

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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.

  • Venkatapathy

    For any laboratory to certify goods, standards are not just essential but also critical. Compliance to standards’ technical requirements ensures commercial level-playing and lack of it critically distorts the market. BIS Standards are available for use in several industry segments including for electrical products. These are either drafted by the Buerau or ‘harmonized’ with IEC, ANSI, and such other international standards. What is essential today is to at least ‘harmonize’ existing IEC standards applicable to Solar and Wind Energy components into India BIS Standards. However, there is yet a standard internationally that assesses the aging of the PV modules produced, while there exists standards that can verify environmental impact such as humidity, heat, salt spray, and others.
    First country and particularly BIS must get seized of the issue. It would be interesting to know, if BIS has formed a committee to draft Standards for each of the sectors such as PV systems, Wind turbine assembly, and hydro plants. In the alternative, the energy ministry would be well advised to force this issue, and force this issue on war footing as it takes years to publish standards from drafting stage.

  • JamesWimberley

    This could go wrong. At the moment, absent national standards, Indian developers presumably rely on German, American and Chinese ones. They may not be precisely tuned to Indian conditions, but they are sound and don’t cost anything. A national scheme could reintroduce the Permit Raj by the back door. It is reasonable to be sceptical of the ability of the Indian government to create a robust, independent and timely system of certification. It could be useful if it concentrated on adaptation to Indian conditions: canals, coexistence with an unreliable grid, monsoon rain and dry-season dust.

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