Solar prices in India dip below coal

May 19, 2017 by  
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Solar power is soaring in India as prices plummet. A recent auction for 500 megawatts (MW) of capacity at Bhadla solar park in Rajasthan saw a record-low tariff of 2.44 rupees per kilowatt-hour (kWh) – that’s around four cents in dollars. Solar tariffs have fallen by more than 25 percent in the past three months. But this isn’t all good news; some experts worry that as tariffs get so low, many solar projects in India could become unviable. The Government of India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy announced the incredibly low tariff in a May 12 press release , describing the moment as history in the making. The figure beats out coal prices: India’s biggest power company NTPC sells electricity from coal-fired plants at 3.20 rupees per kWh. The country is set to become the world’s third biggest solar market this year as capacity hits 8.8 gigawatts, which is a 76 percent increase over the year before. Consulting firm Ernst & Young said the country has the second best market on Earth for renewable energy investments. Related: India doubles down on solar power with huge park capacity increase But Quartz India said they aren’t all celebrating in the solar sector. The industry is seeing cutthroat competition; around 33 groups participated in an April auction for 750 MW of capacity at Bhadla. Such reverse auction processes – where sellers try to underbid each other for the work – lowers tariffs more. One problem with super low tariffs is at a certain point developers won’t make a profit. Quartz India spoke with Reliance Securities senior analyst Rupesh Sankhe who said if a developer hopes for a return on investment of 14 percent, solar tariffs should be between 4.5 and five rupees per kWh. He told Quartz India if the tariff dips below three rupees per kWh, “the return will be zero. No matter what they do, they won’t make profits.” Some companies may not be taking into account risks like grid curtailment, or times when power-generating units aren’t allowed to send electricity to the grid. And as more renewable energy goes on grid, in line with India’s goals, some companies may not end up making the money they expected. Via Quartz India Images via Wikimedia Commons and Ajay Tallam on Flickr

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Solar prices in India dip below coal

Indiana governor delivers blow to solar industry

May 4, 2017 by  
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The solar industry provides three times as many jobs in the state of Indiana as natural gas, but governor Eric Holcomb doesn’t seem to care. Despite Department of Energy statistics that show the industry’s potential benefits to his constituents, Holcomb just signed a bill reducing incentives for solar power , impacting both installers and customers. Holcomb signed Senate Bill 309 this week. It’s better than a previous variant, which would have treated homeowners as power plants and consumers simultaneously, requiring them to sell all of the power generated on their own rooftops at the wholesale rate, around four cents per kilowatt-hour (kwh), and then buy it back at the retail rate of about 11 cents per kwh. That version didn’t go through; but the new bill hits net metering , or the opportunity for homeowners to sell excess energy at the retail rate in Indiana. Now they can only sell it at just above the wholesale rate. Related: Solar power now provides twice as many jobs as coal in U.S. That’s not all. Utilities can now charge those homeowners with rooftop solar an extra fee for “energy delivery costs.” Some people think the bill’s ambiguous language also ends net metering entirely for people obtaining power from community solar, or those leasing their panels. People who get rooftop solar installed after 2022 won’t be able to benefit from net metering at all; neither will those people who replace or expand the system they have now after 2017. The public were against the bill, according to Hoosier Environmental Council executive director Jesse Kharbanda who said, “Ask Republicans , ‘What kind of feedback are you getting from your constituents?’ They’ll tell us that they have gotten dozens and dozens of calls opposing the bill, but zero supporting the bill.” Solar installer Paul Steury of Indiana-based Photon Electric said the law could hurt sales since it’s stripped away incentives. He said he knows many representatives who didn’t listen to the people. Indiana rooftop solar owner Lanette Erby told Nexus Media, “We’re currently on an inverter with the electric company, but obviously if the net metering bill were to go through, we’d be purchasing battery backups. That’s where we’re at. The same kind of legislation killed the solar industry in a couple of other states…which is terrible because it’s creating so many jobs.” Via Nexus Media Images via Rectify Solar Facebook

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Indiana governor delivers blow to solar industry

4 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Going Solar

January 5, 2017 by  
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There are now more than 1 million solar systems installed in the United States, according to a recent report by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association. Q3 2016 was record-shattering by all accounts, and the solar industry is…

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4 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Going Solar

Is it time to stop using solar-utility war words?

June 7, 2016 by  
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5 reasons the fighting language is here to stay.

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Is it time to stop using solar-utility war words?

Renewable Energy Roundup: 5 Myths About Solar Energy

April 13, 2016 by  
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Renewable energy continues to advance, particularly the solar energy market which is dynamic and evolving quickly. Proof you say? Let’s take a look at a few facts first. The solar industry had another record-breaking year in 2015, with installed…

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Renewable Energy Roundup: 5 Myths About Solar Energy

The solar panel and beyond: SunPower’s Tom Werner

November 16, 2015 by  
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SunPower CEO Tom Werner introduced Helix, integrated solar-in-a-box type solution at VERGE.

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The solar panel and beyond: SunPower’s Tom Werner

Deforestation: Give credit where credit is due

November 16, 2015 by  
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With Indonesia burning, are corporations failing in their “no deforestation” pledges?

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Deforestation: Give credit where credit is due

A sharing economy for governance? 3 ingredients for sustainable cities

November 16, 2015 by  
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Coordination and targeted investment will be key to the future of low-carbon cities.

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A sharing economy for governance? 3 ingredients for sustainable cities

SunPower targets commercial market with new solar play

October 28, 2015 by  
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SunPower hopes its turnkey commercial solar product will reduce installation bottlenecks. Bed Bath & Beyond is an early customer.

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SunPower targets commercial market with new solar play

MIT idea: Reward solar generation instead of installation

July 30, 2015 by  
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Instead of paying generators a flat rate for every kilowatt-hour, how about an output-based approach that rewards production?

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MIT idea: Reward solar generation instead of installation

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