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CPV in India

India’s development is hampered by peak power and capacity shortages that are in excess of 10%. New capacity additions are dominated by coal-based plants that are import dependent and have severe penalty in terms of emissions. As a country, India has an international obligation to rein in carbon load.

Therefore for reasons of economy, ecology and international environmental compulsions, India needs to develop and deploy non renewable sources of energy and amongst those specifically solar energy given the abundant gift of ‘irradiance’ over 60% of Indian land mass. The Indian government under its solar mission (JNNSM) has planned to install 20,000 MW of Solar capacities by 2022.

The tremendous growth in the Indian GDP in the last decade has led to an increase in the consumption of energy. Access to energy in all its forms will decide future growth of India. For the Indian economy to continue on this trajectory, India needs to address its energy challenges, which cross all sectors and impact all citizens. Electricity - both in terms of quality and access - is a key challenge. The quality of the current electricity supply is an impediment in India’s economic growth. The addition of grid - tied renewable power can help address these issues.

The gap between the demand of customers connected to the grid and the available electricity supply reported by the Central Electricity Authority for 2009–2010 was almost 84 TWh, which is 10% of the total requirement. The peak demand deficit was more than 15 GW, corresponding to a shortage of 12.7%. Closing this gap will be critical for India to achieve its growth targets, and renewable energy has the potential to improve energy security and reduce dependence on imported fuels and electricity while striving to meet these goals. Much of India’s population is not experiencing the benefits of economic growth. Most of the current power generation is coal based.

The Government of India sees the provision of electricity to all as critical to inclusive growth and recognizes off-grid renewable energy as a practical, cost-effective alternative to an expansion of grid systems in remote areas of the country. To be able to provide adequate electricity to its population, India needs to more than double its current installed capacity to over 300 GW by 2017. The Indian government is aware not only of the size and importance of the challenges but also that success will depend on structural changes in the industry and on new technologies and business models.

Atmospheric Suitability for CPV in India

India has an abundant solar resource and the potential for solar energy greatly exceeds the potential from other renewable energy sources. Deployment of solar energy as a renewable source is well positioned to play a critical role in addressing the growing energy demand of our country. There is a large market potential and opportunities for grid tied projects under the JNNSM under which 20,000 MW expected to be installed by 2022, as well as off-grid projects such as rural electrification under RGGVY for farm water pumping, power supply for mobile towers and petrol pumps, urban townships and industrial manufacturing units with load requirements of 10-100 KW.

The incident solar radiation over 60-65% of the landmass of India is suitable for efficient use of CPV technology.

CPV Solutions made in India

CPV technology developed in India has the potential to wrest leadership in the developing country markets including the Middle East because of following reasons:

  • India would have the labour cost advantage, a large one compared to the western suppliers but currently even a good one compared to China because of current severe pressures in China on wages of skilled workers; this is likely to accentuate as the China’s demographic dividend fades (Chinese supply is currently heavily subsidized under its $ 48 billion green program)
  • CPV systems developed in India would also be suitably tailored for similar atmospheric and ambient conditions in the markets mentioned above.
  • If smaller and roof top mounted CPV systems can be economically developed then resultant numbers would generate enormous scale economies. These scale economies would accrue both in sourcing (multi-junction cells, power electronics) and manufacture and assembly. Under such a scenario, Indian CPV will be able to lead a disruptive charge in the solar market given its large home consumption.