Greenko raises $230 million in fresh funds from Abu Dhabi fund, GIC

Hyderabad: Clean energy company Greenko Energy Holdings, an affiliate of the Singapore government’s sovereign wealth fund GIC, has raised $230 million in fresh funding from Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and the parent firm.

GIC, which acquired a majority stake in Hyderabad-based Greenko Group Plc’s Mauritius entity (Greenko Energy Holdings) for GBP 162.8 million in October is infusing $80 million into the company through one of its affiliates, the company said. GIC will continue to be the majority shareholder.

Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, the government of Abu Dhabi’s investment arm, is investing the remaining $150 million.

Greenko, which has a diversified portfolio of more than 1,000 MW of wind and small hydro assets, also appointed former State Bank of India chairman Om Prakash Bhatt as the company’s non-executive chairman. Greenko Group Plc is listed on London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market.

The investment in Greenko comes at a time when the union government has set a target of generating 175 GW through renewable energy by 2022. About 60 GW of this mix would come from wind energy and 100 GW from solar energy, according to the 2015-16 economic survey.

Funds raised from the private equity round will enable Greenko to develop new renewable energy projects, including low-risk expansions of existing wind farms the company said on Tuesday.

“With our attractive diversified renewable power portfolio, we will continue to execute on our vision to be the most admired independent power producer delivering multiple gigawatts of clean energy at grid parity to support the growth of the Indian economy,” Anil Kumar Chalamalasetty, chief executive officer (CEO) of Greenko said in a statement.

“We have created a strong and sustainable platform to take advantage of evolving energy market dynamics and strong sector fundamentals accelerated by new government initiatives, and look forward to Mr Bhatt’s guidance as we move forward.”

Apart from increasing installed capacity by developing and building new greenfield assets, Greenko also plans to make “selective” acquisitions. The company plans to increase capacity to 5,000 MW by 2020, Mint reported in March last year.

The country’s renewable energy sector is likely to generate business worth $160 billion over the next five years, a bulk of it from the private sector, according to last year’s economic survey.

Source: Mint; 07 June 2016



10 technologies shaping the future of solar power

1. Bio-solar cells

For the first time ever, researchers connected nine biological-solar (bio-solar) cells into a bio-solar panel and continuously produced electricity from the panel and generated the most wattage of any existing small-scale bio-solar cells.

Last year, the group took steps towards building a better bio-solar cell by changing the materials used in anodes and cathodes (positive and negative terminals) of the cell and also created a miniature microfluidic-based single-chambered device to house the bacteria instead of the conventional, dual-chambered bio-solar cells.

However, this time, the group connected nine identical bio-solar cells in a 3×3 pattern to make a scalable and stackable bio-solar panel. The panel continuously generated electricity from photosynthesis and respiratory activities of the bacteria in 12-hour day-night cycles over 60 total hours.

The current research is the latest step in using cyanobacteria—which can be found in almost every terrestrial and aquatic habitat on earth—as a source of clean and sustainable energy.

Even with the breakthrough, a typical “traditional” solar panel on the roof of a residential house, made up of 60 cells in a 6×10 configuration, generates roughly 200 watts of electrical power at a given moment. The cells from this study, in a similar configuration, would generate about 0.00003726 watts. So, it isn’t efficient just yet, but the findings open the door to future research of the bacteria itself.

“Once a functional bio-solar panel becomes available, it could become a permanent power source for supplying long-term power for small, wireless telemetry systems as well as wireless sensors used at remote sites where frequent battery replacement is impractical,” said Seokheun ‘Sean’ Choi, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering in Binghamton University’s Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science, and co-author of the paper, in a 11 April press statement.

The findings are currently available online and will be published in the June edition of the journal Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical.

2. A new way for converting solar energy into electricity

Researchers from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel, and the University of Bochum in Germany, reported a new paradigm for the development of photo-bioelectrochemical cells in Nature Energy this January, providing a means for the conversion of solar energy into electricity.

While photosynthesis is the process by which plants and other organisms make their own food using carbon dioxide, water and sunlight, bioelectrochemical systems take advantage of biological capacities (microbes, enzymes, plants) for the catalysis of electrochemical reactions.

In a 19 January press statement, the researchers pointed out that although significant progress has been achieved in the integration of native photosystems with electrodes for light-to-electrical energy conversion, uniting photosystems with enzymes to yield photo-bioelectrocatalytic solar cells remains a challenge.

Hence, the researchers constructed photo-bioelectrochemical cells using the native photosynthetic reaction and the enzymes glucose oxidase, or glucose dehydrogenase. The system comprises modified integrated electrodes that include the natural photosynthetic reaction centre, known as photosystem I, along with the enzymes. The native proteins are electrically wired by means of chemical electron transfer mediators. Photo-irradiation of the electrodes leads to the generation of electrical power, while oxidizing the glucose substrate acts as a fuel.

The system provides a model to harness the native photosynthetic apparatus for the conversion of solar light energy into electrical power, using biomass substrates as fuels. Itamar Willner, a professor at the Hebrew University’s Institute of Chemistry, said in a statement: “The study results provide a general approach to assemble photo-bioelectrochemical solar cells with wide implications for solar energy conversion, bioelectrocatalysis and sensing.”

3. Reshaping solar spectrum to turn light into electricity

Land and labour costs account for the bulk of the expense when installing solar panels since solar cells—made often of silicon or cadmium telluride—rarely account for more than 20% of the total cost. Hence, solar energy could be made cheaper if less land had to be purchased to accommodate the panels. This is best achieved if each solar cell generates more power, but it is not easy.

A team of chemists at the University of California says it has found a way to make this happen. In a paper that was published in Nano Letters, an American Chemical Society publication, the researchers said that by combining inorganic semiconductor nanocrystals with organic molecules, they succeeded in “upconverting” (two low-energy photons into one high-energy photon) photons in the visible and near-infrared regions of the solar spectrum.

The infrared region of the solar spectrum passes right through the photovoltaic materials that make up today’s solar cells, explained Christopher Bardeen, a professor of chemistry in a press release on 27 July 2015. This upconverted photon is readily absorbed by photovoltaic cells, generating electricity from light that normally would be wasted, according to Bardeen.

He added that these materials are essentially “reshaping the solar spectrum” so that it better matches the photovoltaic materials used today in solar cells. The ability to utilize the infrared portion of the solar spectrum could boost solar photovoltaic efficiencies by 30% or more.

Besides solar energy, the ability to upconvert two low-energy photons into one high-energy photon has potential applications in biological imaging, data storage and organic light-emitting diodes, says Bardeen.

4. WaterNest 100

Indian real estate developers can take a lesson or two from this project. EcoFloLife has developed the WaterNest 100 eco-friendly floating house, exclusively designed by renowned Italian architect Giancarlo Zema. It is an over 100 sq. m residential unit, 12 metres in diameter and 4 metres high, made entirely of recycled laminated timber and a recycled aluminium hull.

Balconies are conveniently located on the sides and thanks to the large windows, permit enjoyment of fascinating views over the water. Bathroom and kitchen skylights are located on the wooden roof, as well as 60 sq. m of amorphous photovoltaic panels capable of generating 4kWp, which are used for the internal needs of the floating house. The interior of WaterNest 100 floating house can include a living room, dining area, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom or have other configurations according to the different housing or working needs.

The floating house can be positioned along river courses, lakes, bays, atolls and sea areas with calm waters. The use of materials and sustainable production systems make this unit recyclable up to as much as 98%. It has a hull that is made entirely of aluminium—a light alloy, highly resistant to impact, corrosion and 100% recyclable. Its photovoltaic panels installed on the wooden roof differ from conventional ones due to the low-energy consumption required for their production. From an aesthetic point of view, they can be curved to fit almost any type of roofing.

5. Floating panels, floating solar farms

In many countries, there is a lack of space to install large-scale ground-mount solar systems. As authorities wish to avoid taking away large farmlands for ground-mount solar systems, companies are introducing ecological alternative solutions.

One such firm is French company Ciel & Terre International, which has been developing large-scale floating solar solutions since 2011. Its Hydrelio Floating PV system allows standard PV panels to be installed on large bodies of water such as drinking water reservoirs, quarry lakes, irrigation canals, remediation and tailing ponds, and hydroelectric dam reservoirs.

This simple and affordable alternative to ground-mounted systems is particularly suitable for water-intensive industries that cannot afford to waste either land or water.

This is how it works. The main float is constructed of high-density thermoplastic (HDPE) and is set at a 12-degree angle to support a standard 60-cell PV solar module. A secondary non-slip HDPE float is then used to link the main floats together and provide a platform for maintenance and added buoyancy.

According to Ciel and Terre, the system is easy to install and dismantle, can be adapted to any electrical configuration, is scalable from low- to high-power generation and requires no tools or heavy equipment. It is also eco-friendly, fully recyclable, has low environmental impact and is cost-effective.

To date, the system has been installed in the UK. The company has also set up projects for floating solar farms in countries such as India, France and Japan.

6. Transmitting solar power wirelessly from space

The Japanese Space Agency (JAXA)’s Space Solar Power Systems (SSPS) aims at transmitting energy from orbiting solar panels by 2030. On 12 March, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd (MHI) successfully conducted a ground demonstration test of “wireless power transmission”, a technology that will serve as the basis for the SSPS. In the test, 10kW of electricity was successfully transmitted via a microwave unit. Power reception was confirmed at a receiver located 500 metres away. LED lights on the receiver confirmed the transmission. This marks a new milestone in transmission distance and power load (enough to power a set of conventional kitchen appliances).

Potentially, a solar battery in orbit (36,000km above earth) could generate power that would then be transmitted to earth via microwave/laser, without relying on cables. JAXA anticipates that this new technology could become a mainstay energy source that will simultaneously solve both environmental and energy issues on earth.

The estimated lifecycle carbon dioxide emission for the operational SSPS indicates that it is almost the same as from nuclear power system and much less than fossil fuel power system, JAXA claims on its website. Countries such as India, China and Japan are investing heavily in these technologies right now.

7. Solar energy harvesting trees

Researchers at the VTT Technical Research Centre in Finland have used solar and 3D printing technologies to develop prototypes of what they have christened as “energy harvesting trees”. The tiny leaves generate and store solar energy and can be used to power small appliances and mobile devices. They flourish indoors and outdoors and can also harvest kinetic energy from wind and temperature changes in the surrounding environment.

The tree’s leaves are actually flexible organic solar cells, printed using well-established mass-production techniques. Each leaf has a separate power converter, creating a multi-converter system that makes it possible to collect energy from a variety of sources such as solar, wind and heat temperature.

The more solar panels there are in a tree, the more energy it can harvest. The tree trunk is made with 3D technology by exploiting wood-based biomaterials VTT has developed. They are mass producible and can be infinitely replicated.

8. Squeezing more out of the sun

The sun is undoubtedly the greatest sustainable energy source for earth, but the problem is the low efficiency: 80% of installed PV panels worldwide have a performance of 15% or lower; if the panels are not tracked with the sun, the average of annual tilt losses add up to minus 70%.

German architect Andre Broessel believes he has a solution.

He says his company Rawlemon can “squeeze more juice out of the sun”, even during the night hours and in low-light regions. He has created a spherical sun power generator prototype called the beta.ray. His technology will combine spherical geometry principles with a dual axis tracking system, allowing twice the yield of a conventional solar panel in a much smaller surface area.

The futuristic design is fully rotational and is suitable for inclined surfaces, walls of buildings, and anywhere with access to the sky. It can even be used as an electric car charging station.

By using a high-efficiency multi-junction cell, Broessel’s company claims to have reduced the cell surface down to 1% compared to the same power output as a conventional silicon cell in optimal conditions.

“In combination with dual axis tracking, our system generates twice the yield of a conventional panel. In addition, our smaller cell area has a lower carbon footprint because its production requires fewer precious semiconductor or other building materials,” he says on the company website.

Rawlemon has also introduced a USB spherical sun charger called beta.ey.

9. Ways to boost solar power

A group of scientists at the University of Toronto have unveiled a new type of light-sensitive nanoparticles called colloidal quantum dots, which many believe will offer a less expensive and more flexible material for solar cells. Specifically, the new materials use n-type and p-type semiconductors, but ones that can actually function outdoors. This is possible because the new colloidal quantum dots don’t bind to air (unlike traditional n-type materials that bind to oxygen)—a quality that also helps increase radiant light absorption besides offering stability outdoors. The researchers claim that panels using this new technology were found to be up to 8% more efficient at converting sunlight.

Researchers at Imperial College University in London believe they have discovered a new material—gallium arsenide—that could make solar PV systems nearly three times more efficient than existing products on the market.

The solar cells are called “triple junction cells” and they are much more efficient because they can be chemically altered in a manner that optimizes sunlight capture. The model uses a sensor-driven window blind that can track sun light along with “light-pipes” that guide the light into the system.

A company called Novatec Solar recently commissioned an energy storage solution for solar PV systems using a molten salt storage technology. The process uses inorganic salts to transfer energy generated by solar PV systems into solar thermal using heat transfer fluid rather than oils as some storage systems have. The result is that solar plants can operate at temperatures over 500 degree Celsius, which would result in a much higher power output. This means that costs to store solar power would be lowered significantly and utility companies could finally use solar power plants as base load plants rather than to meet peak demand during prime daylight hours.

In a project funded by the US department of energy, Ohio State University researchers recently announced they created a battery that is 20% more efficient and 25% cheaper than anything on the market today. The secret to the design is that the rechargeable battery is built into the solar panel itself, rather than operating as two stand-alone systems. By conjoining the two into one system, scientists said they could lower costs by 25% compared to existing products.

Scientists are exploring ways to actually line up highways and roads with solar panels, which would then be used to deploy large amounts of electricity to the grid. Called solar roadways, they have already popped up in countries such as the Netherlands and promise to save on land space.

10. Concentrated PV cells

IBM researchers have found a way to make concentrated PV cells that are more efficient in converting the sun’s energy into electricity. The researchers have shown that it is possible to increase the concentration of light on photovoltaic cells by about 10 times without causing them to melt. This, they say, makes it possible to boost the amount of usable electrical energy produced by up to five times.

The principle behind concentrated PV cells is to use a large lens to focus light onto a relatively small piece of PV semiconductor material. The benefit is that only a fraction of the semiconductor material is used, thereby reducing costs. IBM’s solution is to place an ultrathin layer of liquid metal, a compound of gallium and indium, between the two surfaces. The metal has a very high thermal conductivity and because it’s a liquid, it is possible to make this layer extremely thin, typically around 10 micrometers.

IBM is in talks with solar-cell companies about licensing the technology. Last September, Swiss-based Airlight Energy said it has partnered with IBM to bring affordable solar technology to the market by 2017.

The system can concentrate the sun’s radiation 2,000 times and convert 80% of it into useful energy to generate 12kW of electrical power and 20kW of heat on a sunny day—enough to power several average homes.

5 things you may not know about solar

1. Solar energy is the most abundant energy resource on earth–173,000 terawatts of solar energy strikes the Earth continuously. That’s more than 10,000 times the world’s total energy use.(

2. The first silicon solar cell was built by Bell Laboratories in 1954.

3. The space industry was an early adopter of solar technology, and began to use it in the 1960s to provide power aboard spacecraft. The Vanguard 1–the first artificial earth satellite powered by solar cells–remains the oldest manmade satellite in orbit, logging more than 6 billion miles.

4. As prices continue to fall, solar energy is increasingly becoming an economical energy choice for homeowners and businesses. Still, the biggest hurdle to affordable solar energy remains the soft costs like permitting, zoning, and hooking a solar system up to the power grid.

5. In California’s Mojave Desert, the largest solar energy project in the world is currently under construction. The project relies on a technology known as solar thermal energy. Once the project is complete, 350,000 mirrors will reflect light onto boilers. When the water boils, the steam turns a turbine, creating electricity. The project is expected to provide clean, renewable energy for 140,000 homes and is supported by an Energy Department loan guarantee.

Source: Mint; 06 June 2016


CLP Plans India Solar Entry, Eyes Stake in Suzlon Project

Sunshine Deal Co likely to buy 49% in Telangana unit initially in line with PPA norms
Hong Kong’s CLP Group, the largest overseas investor in Indian power sector, wants a piece of the solar energy action now.CLP (formerly China Light & Power), is finalising its solar debut through an acquisition. It’s local arm is in advanced negotiations to buy stakes in a 100-MW solar park project in Telengana from Suzlon Energy, according to people aware of the talks. CLP India is diversifying its clean energy portfolio after establishing itself as leading wind power generator, with almost a gigawatt operating assets.

If the deal goes through–a formal announcement is expected in a few days, barring hiccups–it will give a big boost to the domestic industry , underscoring global interest in even secondary market brownfield or greenfield growth opportunities.

An estimated 10,000 MW of solar and wind projects are believed to be on the block, seeking equity investments of . 20,000 crore, according to sector ex` perts. India’s solar energy sector has seen record capacity additions while tariff bids for new projects have fallen to unprecedented lows as the government is pushing hard to achieve the ambitious target of 100,000 MW of grid-connected solar power by 2022.

To comply with power purchase agre ement (PPA) norms, CLP India will initially acquire 49% of the project and, a year after its commissioning, take majority control. It may even buy Suzlon out entirely , said people cited above.

Suzlon will, however, remain involved with engineering, procurement and construction work. The ` . 800-crore project needs ` . 150 crore equity , with the rest being financed through debt.

Suzlon, India’s second-largest wind turbine manufacturer, made its solar entry in January by winning rights to set up 210 MW of solar plants in Telangana in this financial year across six projects. Suzlon declined to comment, saying it was in a `silent period’ ahead of its results on May 30.

CLP India said it wouldn’t comment on specific transactions but a spokesperson said the company is looking to increase the proportion of clean energy and non-carbon technologies in its portfolio as part of a global strategy and aims to add 250-300 MW of renewable energy in India every year. The company will continue to expand wind energy portfolio, currently at committed capacity of over 1,050 MW, he said.

“Solar power has experienced great thrust from the Indian government and the favourable policies make the sector attractive and create a conducive environment for us,“ said Mahesh Makhija, director, commercial, renewables, CLP India. “Our strategy is to build a balanced a portfolio by adding solar power to complement our wind capacities.“ He elaborated on the growth strategy for India. “We are focused on accessing various avenues in the market including bidding for projects, joint ventures, industrial markets and pre-bid agreements. However, I cannot comment on specifics at this stage and as a policy we do not comment on speculation.“

CLP entered the Indian power sector in 2002 with the acquisition of a 655 MW gas-fired power plant in Gujarat and is among the few foreign players that have a presence in conventional energy in the country .

It hasn’t participated in the highly competitive bidding that has seen solar tariffs fall to as low as ` . 4.34KW-hr but expects to join in as rates are seen to be stabilising above ` . 5 per unit following recent auctions in Jharkhand, Karnataka or Rajasthan.

Suzlon is using its engineering and project execution skills to duplicate its wind energy business model. “Several EPC players including Suzlon Mahindra Susten, Sterling & Wilson are getting into development with the purpose of bringing on board a generation partner who can develop the project,“ said a person with knowledge of the matter. “That way , both can focus on their core and leverage on each other’s strengths. This will be among the first of its kind JV experiment. If successful, it will offer a template for others.“

Source: Economic Times; 30 May 2016

Clean energy to take bigger share of electricity market by 2030

Abu Dhabi/Dubai: Renewable energy will account for 40% of electricity output capacity by 2030, almost double today’s market share, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena).

The expansion will be due to lower technology costs, Adnan Amin, Irena’s director general, said in an interview onBloomberg TV in Dubai.

“We anticipate with the lower technology cost, by 2030 we’re going to have renewables capacity in the global power system at around 40%, which is quite remarkable growth.” That compares with 22% today, according to Irena.

The real challenge for renewables is capturing crude oil’s market share in heating, cooling and transportation products, Amin said. “As far as the power sector is concerned, oil plays a very little role in power generation worldwide” at about 5%, he said.

Electricity from solar energy is getting a boost as the price of solar power has declined. Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, awarded a contract for a 200-megawatt solar plant in January 2015 at what was then a record-low price of 5.85 cents per kilowatt-hour. Last month, the emirate received a bid for an 800-megawatt plant at a power price of 2.99 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Falling crude prices have made alternative fuels less economically attractive, curbing investment in biofuels, according to Irena.

“There is a lot of momentum looking at electric mobility powered by renewables, but we’ve seen a real negative impact has been on biofuel investment,” he said. Bloomberg

Source: Mint; 29 May 2016


Green energy’s moment under the sun

Although India is far from achieving its target of 175 gigawatts (GW) of renewable power by 2022, a series of steps taken by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in the past year has set India on the path to a green economy in the next few years.

India started moving towards green power when the Union cabinet in June 2015 scaled up the country’s targeted solar power capacity under the National Solar Mission fivefold to 100,000 megawatts (MW) 2022 from the earlier 20,000MW.

Later, in the run-up to the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement in December, India announced its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to combat climate change , where it promised to achieve 175GW of renewable power—100GW from solar, 60GW from wind, 10GW from bio-power and 5GW from small hydropower—by 2022.

The huge target has attracted attention the world over. Piyush Goyal, minister for new and renewable energy, also made his intentions clear, saying that India will lead the world in clean energy rather than follow it.

“With 21GW of grid-connected new solar projects out in the market, India has signalled to the world that we’re ready to lead,” Goyal said.

Experts, too, commend the government for huge strides it has made—even if some of them are just in the policy stage right now.

“Definitely, the Indian government has taken some steps to move towards a greener economy including the enhanced solar mission, energy efficiency programmes and move to advance Bharat Stage VI emission norms (for vehicles) to April 2020 among others. They have also improved emission standards for coal-based power plants,” said Rakesh Kamal, senior programme manager, climate change at the Centre for Science and Environment, a Delhi-based environmental think tank.

“The seeds for these steps were planted in previous governments. But the present regime deserves credit for enhancing it many times… There is no doubt about that,” Kamal added.

As of 30 April, India’s total installed renewable capacity is 42.8GW, of which wind power is 26.8GW, followed by solar with 6.7GW, biomass power with 4.9GW and small hydro projects with 4.2GW.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley’s decision to increase the “Clean Energy Cess” levied on coal, lignite and peat fromRs.200 per tonne to Rs.400 per tonne was another such step. The cess was renamed “Clean Environment Cess”.

Though solar power has been one of the main focus areas of the government, it has not entirely ignored other renewable power sources.

For instance, the cabinet in September 2015 cleared the National Offshore Wind Energy Policy, aiming to harness wind power along India’s 7,500km coastline .

India is an important player in wind power and has a huge potential. For instance, as per government estimates, India has the potential to generate 302GW of onshore wind power, compared to the 27GW it currently generates.

Though offshore wind is still a few years away—at present, costs are too high and it is difficult to maintain—it too has a huge potential. According to government estimates, the Gujarat coast alone has the potential to generate around 106GW of offshore wind energy, while Tamil Nadu can generate another 60GW.

“Transition of energy sector is going to take much longer than five years. But what this government has done is to dream big and set ambitious targets. They certainly deserve credit for that. We should grant that they have taken the right step for renewable energy,” said Karthik Ganesan, who is a senior research associate at the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), a Delhi-based policy research institute.

Ganesan, however, cautioned that setting big targets isn’t enough—they need to be backed by proper mechanisms.

The push for achieving 40% installed power capacity from renewable energy by 2030 has also led to positive developments, like the central government encouraging the manufacturing of solar panels in India. The solar sector alone requires an investment of around Rs.6.5 trillion to achieve the 100GW target for 2022.

However, the government’s efforts to move towards a green economy are not limited to renewable power alone. The ministry of new and renewable energy under Goyal has been successfully running a scheme to promote LED bulbs across India in a bid to improve energy efficiency.

Under its UJALA (Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All) scheme, the ministry is aiming to replace 770 million incandescent lamps with LED bulbs across the country by March 2019. The lifespan of LED bulbs is estimated to be almost 50 times that of ordinary bulbs and 8-10 times that of compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). Besides energy savings, LEDs also help reduce thousands of tonnes of carbon emissions per day.

The government has also recently launched a national energy efficient fan programme under which five-star rated ceiling fans will be sold to consumers; each fan could reduce a consumer’s electricity bill by about Rs.700-730 per year. The fans will be sold for Rs.1,250 (or Rs.60 a month for two years, as part of the electricity bill).

Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL), a joint venture of public sector undertakings under the ministry of power, has already distributed over 100 million LED bulbs. Interestingly, in 2014-15, the total number of LED bulbs that were distributed was only 3 million, but 2015-16 saw a huge jump with distribution of over 90 million LED bulbs under the UJALA scheme. The government has targeted distribution of an additional 200 million LED bulbs this year.

The scheme has also resulted in a massive drop in prices of LED bulbs from Rs.310 in February 2014 to Rs.55 apiece in March 2016. Goyal said in November 2015 that LEDs bulbs will soon reach Rs.44 apiece .

Source: Mint; 23 May 2016


Tata Power renewables unit wins two 50 MW projects in Karnataka

Mumbai: Tata Power Co. Ltd on Thursday said its unit Tata Power Renewable Energy Ltd (TPREL) has won two solar projects of 50 megawatt (MW) capacity each in Karnataka under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) at a tariff of Rs.4.79 per kilowatt-hour (kWh).

The company has received a letter of intent to develop the two solar grid connected photovoltaic projects in Pavagada Solar Park in Tumkur district, Tata Power said in a BSE filing. The company will sell power from the projects to state-run NTPC Ltd’s unit NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd under a 25-year power purchase agreement, it said.

The company is aiming to get more than its earlier stated 20-25% of total capacity from renewable energy, Mintreported in March, citing chief financial officer Ramesh Subramanyam.

Subramanyam said the company will not bid for solar projects at aggressive or low tariffs. Indian and foreign firms have been quoting tariffs below Rs.5 per kWh in government auctions to win solar projects in India, in part helped by lower cost of solar panels and government-provided solar parks.

In a reverse auction, the role of the buyer and seller is reversed and a business bid is won by quoting prices downwards. Solar tariffs first fell to a record low of Rs.4.63 per unit with SunEdison Inc.’s bid in November and fell to Rs.4.34 at a January e-auction conducted by NTPC. Indian banks are cautious about funding projects which offer low returns or look unviable, Mint reported on 15 April.

India launched the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) in 2010 with the aim of adding 20,000MW or 20 gigawatt (GW) of grid-connected solar power to India’s energy mix by 2022 in three phases. That target was raised to 100 GW by 2022 by the National Democratic Alliance government in 2015.

Under JNNSM, the government-provided solar parks offer project developers ready-to-use infrastructure, such as land and transmission facilities, leading to low project risk and lower costs.

Source: Mint; 19 May 2016


SunEdison bankruptcy floods India’s market for green projects

New Delhi: SunEdison Inc.’s bankruptcy filing is reverberating halfway around the world in India, where developers say the US company’s troubles are adding to a surplus of green capacity up for sale.

SunEdison has said it’s searching for equity partnerships for its 2.4 gigawatts of capacity in India following its petition to a New York federal court. That means about 4 gigawatts of clean energy projects are up for sale, more than 10% of the nation’s existing solar and wind capacity, according to industry executives.

“There are 2 gigawatts odd of wind assets comprising medium and small portfolios,” Rahul Shah, chief executive at Tata Power Renewable Energy Ltd, the clean energy arm of Tata Power Co. Ltd, said in an interview in Mumbai. “In solar, again 2 gigawatts odd, finished and unfinished projects are looking for buyers.”

A gigawatt is about as much as a nuclear reactor can produce, and global solar installations last year were about 40 gigawatts.

That much capacity on the market threatens to push down prices and make lenders reluctant to finance projects, meaning a portion of the projects being planned could ultimately be scuppered. In turn, that would endanger Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s target to install 100 gigawatts of solar by 2020 at an estimated cost of $100 billion.

India has 6.7 gigawatts of solar capacity and 26.7 gigawatts of wind power, according to the latest government data.

Solar auctions

A drop in tariffs paid for solar power is being blamed for distorting the Indian clean energy market. SunEdison is partly behind that trend, having taken all 500 megawatts of capacity offered in an auction in November in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. It offered to sell electricity at a record low for an India at the time.

Solar tariffs in India have fallen sharply from 8 cents a kilowatt-hour in July 2015 to a record low of 6 cents a kilowatt-hour in January.

“For the likes of SunEdison, who may have to get some kind of capital to be able to build the committed projects, it will mostly be desperate deals at this stage,” Jasmeet Khurana, associate director for consulting at solar researcher Bridge to India, said in an interview in New Delhi. “Premiums will come down because there will be desperate deals.”

Limited market

Investment bankers trying to match buyers and sellers for clean energy assets say there is limited scope for significant premiums for ‎projects awarded recently.

“This is driven by increased aggressiveness in project assumptions and an overall tightening of returns,” Rahul Goswami, a managing director at clean energy investment bank Greenstone Energy Advisors, said in an e-mail.

Greenstone Energy is involved in some of the transactions involving renewable capacity.

Lower prices for solar energy are only desirable so long as they can be maintained, according to International Finance Corp., a unit of the World Bank. Gaetan Tiberghien, the principal investment officer on infrastructure and natural resources for IFC South Asia, said the market must allow investors to earn a return to keep them interested in funneling money into green-energy projects in India.

“If the risk-return balance is not adequate, there is an increased probability that fewer investors will bid and that awarded projects don’t get built,” Tiberghien said by e-mail.

Narendra Modi’s hurdles

India already faces several hurdles in financing Modi’s ambitions for renewable energy. Central bank data show that about 14% of loans to the industry have soured or been written off.

SunEdison’s filing isn’t helping. The company based in Maryland Heights, Missouri, has 700 megawatts of commissioned assets in India and 1.7 gigawatts of projects in being planned.

“Half of solar installations in the country are looking for buyers, and it’s a buyers’ market,” said Ravi Khanna, chief executive of the solar business at Aditya Birla Group, an Indian manufacturer in the Fortune 500. Bloomberg

Source: Mint; 27 April 2016


India solar industry not threatened by SunEdison: Piyush Goyal

London: India’s solar industry wouldn’t be affected by a potential SunEdison Inc. bankruptcy, according to Indian power minister Piyush Goyal.

“I don’t think it deters us or deflects the success of the solar program at all,” Goyal said at a media briefing in London Tuesday. “If one or two companies fail, there will be others who can take their projects.”

SunEdison, the world’s biggest clean-energy company, was credited with bringing tariffs to record lows in India at a government auction in November. It’s now said to be seeking to sell as much as 1 gigawatt of unfinished projects while preparing to seek protection from creditors, according to people familiar with both matters.

There are about 50 companies operating in India’s solar industry, and some have bid lower prices than SunEdison, according to Goyal.

“Investors need not be worried about it,” he said. “Bankers are not worried about it and there is enough interest in the market for much larger volumes than they have taken up in India.”

Goyal also said he’s open to the idea of implementing solar tariffs in US dollars and is considering pricing them in euros and yen, as well.

India has set a target to raise its renewable power capacity to 175 gigawatts by 2022. The goal is for 100 gigawatts to come from solar, 60 gigawatts from wind, 10 gigawatts from biomass and the remainder from hydropower plants.

Source: Mint; 20 April 2016


Welspun’s 1.1 GW green assets attract Tata Power, Greenko

Welspun Renewables Energy Pvt. Ltd’s plan to sell its portfolio of 1.1 gigawatts (GW) of renewable power assets has attracted interest from several local and foreign power producers, according to two people aware of the development.

Tata Power Ltd and Hyderabad-based Greenko Group Plc have evinced interest in acquiring Welspun’s portfolio, said one of the two people cited above, requesting anonymity, as he is not authorized to speak with reporters. Singapore-based Sembcorp Industries Ltd is also interested, he added.

In February, Mint reported that IDFC Alternatives, the asset management arm of IDFC Ltd, was in talks to acquire the portfolio.

Welspun Renewables, a part of the $3 billion Welspun Group, has solar and wind power assets across eight states in India.

“At 1.1 GW, this is an attractive opportunity for any serious power producer to increase their renewable portfolio in India and that is why there is a good interest for acquiring these assets,” the first person said.

Welspun is seeking an enterprise valuation of Rs.9,500-10,000 crore for the assets, primarily solar power, said the second person cited above, also requesting anonymity.

“They are looking at a consideration of almost Rs.3,500 crore for the equity portion,” he said, adding that the portfolio of assets has a total debt of over Rs.6,000 crore,” he said.

Out of the portfolio of 1.1 GW, about 600 MW is currently operational and remaining 500MW is expected to become operational before the end of the year, this person added. Emails sent to Welspun Renewables on Friday went unanswered.

Tata Power declined to comment on the development except to say that it is evaluating various options.

In an emailed response, Sembcorp said that the company does not comment on specific opportunities. “India is one of Sembcorp’s key markets and an integral part of the company’s emerging market strategy. We are constantly on a lookout for suitable opportunities to grow our business in India, especially in the areas of thermal power, renewable power and urban development,” the firm said.

Sembcorp has more than 3,500 MW of power capacity in operation and under development in India, comprising 2,640 MW of thermal energy and over 900 MW of renewable energy, the company said.

In 2015, Sembcorp Renewables, a unit of Singapore’s Sembcorp Industries Ltd, acquired 60% in IDFC Alternative-backed Green Infra Ltd for Singapore $227 million (Rs.1,100 crore).

Several calls and text messages sent to Anil Kumar Chalamalasetty, chief executive and managing director at Greenko went unanswered.

The sale process will help Welspun Renewables free up capital for its future projects, said the first person cited above.

“They raised capital last year and that has helped them with the ongoing development of projects. However, their other attempts to raise capital, such as business trust, a yield co in the US, have not worked out. They have decided to sell the existing portfolio to free up capital for investing in their future projects,” he said.

In October, Welspun Renewables received $617 million in funding. The investment was a combination of debt and equity infusion by the promoters, existing and new investors. The existing investors of Welspun Renewables include General Electric Co.’s unit GE Energy Financial Services and the Asian Development Bank.

In a statement in October, Welspun Renewables vice-chairman Vineet Mittal had said that Welspun plans to reach 1 GW in operational capacity by the end of this fiscal. Over the next few years, the firm is aiming at 5 GW in combined capacity between wind and solar projects.

India’s renewable energy sector has attracted strong interest from foreign funds after the government sharpened its focus on clean energy.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is banking on renewables to fight climate change and has set an ambitious target of increasing India’s clean energy capacity by more than fivefold to 175 GW by 2022.

On Monday, Mint reported that Hero Future Energies Ltd, the renewable energy arm of the Hero Group, is in talks with CDC Group Plc and International Finance Corp. (IFC) to raise $150 million (about Rs.1,000 crore).

Last month, Canadian pension fund Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec pledged an investment of $150 million in India’s renewable energy sector, while in October last year, Goldman Sachs-backed ReNew Power Ventures Pvt. Ltd raised $265 million in fresh equity from investors, including sovereign wealth fund Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.

“India always had a supportive policy framework for renewables, but now the central government’s push has encouraged many states to better them,” said Kameswara Rao, leader of the energy, utilities and mining practice at consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) India.

The continued challenges to conventional thermal power has pushed domestic power companies and investors to reconsider where they invest next, he said. “At the same time, Indian renewable developers are able to squeeze in more economies of scale and deliver at lower costs,” said Rao.

Source: Mint; 06 April 2016


India, China led investments in renewable energy in 2015: UN

India and China led developing countries in investments made in renewable energy in 2015, when for the first time commitments in solar, wind and other renewables capacity by emerging economies surpassed those by wealthy nations, a UN-backed report has said.

The report ‘Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2016’ by the UN Environment Programme said the developing world including China, India and Brazil committed a total of $156 billion in new renewables capacity last year, up 19 per cent on 2014.


Investments by developed countries were down eight per cent in 2015 to $130 billion.

The year 2015 was the first time when investment in renewables in developing countries outweighed that in developed economies, the report said.

A large part of the record-breaking investment in developing countries took place in China, which lifted its investment by 17 per cent to $102.9 billion, more than a third of global commitments.

India was also among the top 10 investing countries in renewable energy, with its commitments rising 22 per cent to USD 10.2 billion.

The US, Japan, UK Brazil, South Africa, Mexico and Chile all made it to the top 10 investing countries in 2015.

“The investment (in India) took place against a backdrop of pro-renewable policies introduced by India’s BJP government. These include a target to almost- triple wind capacity to 60 GW by 2022,” the report said.

Within the developing-economy category, the “Big Three” of China, India and Brazil saw investment rise 16 per cent to $120.2 billion, while other developing economies enjoyed a 30 per cent bounce to $36.1 billion.

Among developed countries, investment in Europe was down 21 per cent, from $62 billion in 2014 to $48.8 billion in 2015, the continent’s lowest figure for nine years despite record investments in offshore wind projects.

The US was up 19 per cent to $44.1 billion, and in Japan investment was much the same as the previous year at $36.2 billion.

The report said India enjoyed a second successive year of increasing investment, breaching the $10 billion for the first time since 2011.

It added that the highlight of India’s performance in 2015 was a jump in utility-scale solar financings to $4.6 billion, up 75 per cent on the previous year, although still a little below the 2011 record of $4.9 billion.

Among the big projects getting the financial go-ahead were the NTPC Kadiri PV plant phase one, at 250 MW, and the Adani Ramanathapuram PV installation, at 200 MW.

Source: Business Today; 26 March 2016