The Underachieved Solar Target Of FY17, What Went Wrong?

While the industry is cheering on the record-breaking wind capacity addition for the year for FY17, we still fall behind in our solar targets, which has been the government’s favourite child

 

While the industry is cheering on the record-breaking wind capacity addition for the year for FY17, we still fall behind in our solar targets, which has been the government’s favourite child.

As per the official data of the Union ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE), against the targeted 12,000 MW (10,500 MW ground-mounted and 1500 MW rooftop solar) for grid-connected solar projects in 2016-17, 5,525.98 MW has been achieved. Cumulative solar capacity currently stands at 12,288.83 MW, against 6,762.85 MW as compared to the last fiscal, which is a great news for the solar industry overall and is impressive even if it falls short of the target.

However, let’s talk about what happened to this particular fiscal’s target. Was 12000 MW too ambitious for this fiscal or things didn’t go as planned by the officials.

According to Amit Kumar Kadam, Partner, Renewables, PwC, the target of 12000 MW for solar was made on certain assumptions, one of the biggest being the solar parks, which failed to get operational by 2016.

5000-6000 MW capacity addition was expected to come from solar parks. Two to three solar parks were already operational but the rest didn’t take off as per the desired target. The main issue was the infrastructure which was not ready”, says Kumar.

Outside the solar parks comes the Rooftop segment(1500 MW target) which didn’t get the desired push especially from the DISCOMs. “The single most important reason for the underachievement of the renewable targets in the last fiscal year is the dismal performance in the solar rooftop segment. Economic reasons such as no economies of scale in rooftop and non-economic reasons such as poor contract enforceability, poor implementation of net metering policies by state agencies etc. are some of the major reasons behind the shortfall in the rooftop targets”, says Manu Agarwal, Research Analyst, Centre for Energy, Environment and Water.

Kumar says the DISCOMs need financial incentives to encourage rooftop installations which would alleviate their concerns about loss of profitable customers and additional network investments.

The third major concern is the PPA signing and biddings which didn’t happen as anticipated. According to Girishkumar Kadam, VP, Corporate Sector Ratings, ICRA and Power Sector Lead, the 2016-17 target for solar faced shortfall owing to the delays in tendering and PPA signing process. “There was a temporary lull in the sector post-Rewa. The authorities would be re-evaluating the project structure and there is going to be a bidding delay in the next fiscal as well”.

“Post the tender, the winning developers should be awarded the LOA (Letter of Award) in 5 months and the PPA should be signed in the next 1 month, but that didn’t happen. The same scenario cannot be predicted for the next set of targets”, says Kadam.

There is now a downward concern, according to Kumar. The DISCOMs want a replication of what happened at the Rewa auction and are hesitant in signing the PPAs at tariffs higher that Rewa. All experts are of an opinion that Rewa was a result of unique conditions of land, payments, subsidies, created by the state which led to those record tariffs, a pure plug and play.
Raj Prabhu, CEO, Mercom Capital Group voices another hurdle of RPO Compliance and government policies which hindered this year’s solar target, “The 12,000 MW goal was pretty aggressive but the government agencies were not equipped to handle it. Power demand is lacking and some states have to curtail power as there is no demand. Every time there is a new low bid, tender activity freezes as all states want the bids to get down to those levels. I think the investors and renewable energy companies are ready to invest and execute projects but hurdles are in the government machinery.”

Going forward, Kumar says the sector could land into trouble post-2018 when we touch almost 20% of the installed capacity in solar. ” There are major challenges- Grid stabilisation, Spinning reserves and storage. Who will incur the cost of all three?. India is in no position for storage innovation as we are dependent on countries like Japan for technology breakthrough.”

“Getting to 175 GW by 2022 will be tough, it is a very aggressive target. The issue is, these targets are set to top-down from the central government without figuring out how states will be able to achieve this. DISCOM financials are in shambles and most would rather cut power than purchase and supply it to the customer”, says Prabhu who terms the next 2 years crucial to see if the states can handle higher renewable generation.

However, Sabyasachi Majumdar, Senior Vice President, ICRA is optimistic of the overall targets and set up the government and predicts 7-7.5 GW of capacity addition for solar in 2018, amidst a very strong project pipeline via NSM (National Solar Mission) route. “A lot is under implementation. We should look at these targets from year to year basis. All the capacities for FY17 should be commissioned and the shortfall in the target should be made up in the next fiscal”, says Sabhya.

Of the 5,526 MW added, only 2,803.77 MW had been commissioned till February end, but it was followed by a spurt of more than 2,700 MW in March 2017, which shows how the government is speeding up on its targets just in time to beat the year-end deadline.

Amidst all, the experts hail both centre and state specific policies giving momentum to the renewable energy, besides some unattended areas. “Under the national solar mission, the projects awarded via SECI have increased tremendously with amendments in the national tariff policy as well. The states have coined their own region-specific policies and targets showing active interests in bids and RPO targets”, says Girish.

The targets of the government might seem too ambitious but aiming for the moon will at least make you land on the stars. 12,288.83 MW of cumulative capacity against 6,762.85 MW compared to the last fiscal, being this FY17’s shining star.

 

View original post on Business World: http://businessworld.in/article/The-Underachieved-Solar-Target-Of-FY17-What-Went-Wrong-/11-04-2017-116155/

5 unanswered questions after Tesla’s big solar roof and battery announcement

As the dust settles, the details of Elon Musk’s new solar-plus-storage offering remain unclear

For a while now, Tesla has situated itself as the Apple of the electric storage and transport industries. It streamlines the design of an existing technology, makes it sleeker and sexier, while expertly marketing it to cultivate an upscale, but mass-market following.

The company first did it with its electric vehicles, producing sought-after luxury cars and then gradually moving toward less expensive models. And it brought residential energy storage into the consumer mainstream last year when it unveiled the Powerpack, the first generation of its home battery.

Now Tesla is leveraging its planned acquisition of solar installer SolarCity to do the same thing with residential solar and storage. Last Friday, CEO Elon Musk unveiled a slate of integrated solar roof and battery storage offerings that mimic the design of traditional roof shingles and eliminate the external mounted panel design.

The glass PV tiles, available in a number of common roof colors, will cost “less than a normal roof plus the cost of electricity,” Musk promised, and will integrate with the Powerwall 2, the second generation of Tesla’s home storage system.

That new battery is powerful enough to run the refrigerator, sockets and lights of a four-bedroom house for a day — or indefinitely when combined with the solar system, Musk said, touting a future where everyday consumers have a solar roof, battery and electric vehicle.

But like Tesla events of the past, those general operational and cost promises are about as much detail over the specifics of the battery and the solar system as Musk divulged all night. Details about the panel efficiency, battery life and overall cost were left out of Musk’s presentation, leaving a number of open questions about the sleek new Tesla offering and its potential impacts on the market.

1. Solar roof specifications

Just as Tesla was not the first to offer electric vehicles or home batteries, it is not the first in the integrated solar panel market.

While not widespread for the residential market yet, a number of large buildings have demonstrated the effectiveness of solar technologies integrated into their designs, including the National Air and Space Museum. And Greentech points out there are a number of integrated solar roof installers on the market already, though no runaway commercial successes.

Integrated PV technologies are appealing for their sleek design, but are more expensive than existing rooftop solar models that are simply bolted to a homeowner’s roof. Typically, integrated PV does not generate power with the efficiency of traditional panels, which can more easily be faced toward direct sunlight.

Beyond his promise that the Tesla roofs would cost less than traditional ones over time, Musk offered no pricing or efficiency details on the new solar roofs, as well as no insight as to how power contracts with consumers would be structured. Currently, SolarCity contracts typically guarantee solar output for 20 years, but most roofs are expected to last longer.

Other financial aspects of owning the PV roof, such as its impacts on a mortgage, resale value, homeowner’s insurance and other aspects of property value remain unclear, though those are issues that continue to bedevil the residential solar sector at large.

It also remains to be seen how the glass panels perform in the field. Typical solar panels require regular cleaning to achieve maximum output, and it’s unclear whether homeowners would have to regularly wipe down their PV rooftops to generate energy.

Tesla solar roof styles

 

Available in different styles, Telsa’s solar roofs are designed to mimic traditional styles.

 

2. Battery specifications

A bit more is known about the solar roof’s partner — the Powerpack 2.

At the event, Musk said the new 7 kW, 14 kWh battery will cost $5,500, including a custom inverter. That capacity outpaces both the first iteration of the Powerpack and a larger, 10 kWh model Tesla discontinued last year.

That size battery is likely better suited to the average American homeowner, GTM reports, but little is known beyond its size and price. Tesla did not release details about the expected efficiency or cycle life of the Powerwall 2, or the second iteration of its Powerpack grid-scale battery, released Thursday evening.

Cycle life, or the number of cycles a battery can perform before degrading to a certain level, is expected to be crucial for customers of both the residential and grid-scale batteries. Using a home battery to store and discharge solar from a PV roof typically uses at least one cycle a day, as do grid services such as ramping or shifting renewables generation.

The rate at which batteries degrade determines how long they can be used before needing replacement, and often forms the foundation of energy storage contracts with utilities. But Tesla has never publicly released degradation curves or other performance information regarding their energy storage systems or car batteries, which some companies consider proprietary information.

Tesla currently offers an eight-year “unlimited mile” warranty for its Model S electric vehicle batteries, but makes no commitment to replace the $44,000 car battery after that time.

survey of Tesla owners by EV advocate Plug In America last year showed that the Model S generally loses about 5% of its capacity within the first 50,000 miles of driving, but the jury is still out on how the batteries will perform once they reach the end of the warranty period.

tesla solar roof batteries

 

Tesla’s new Powerwall is more rectangular than its predecessor.

 

3. Solar and storage markets

But even if the integrated PV and storage market is not large yet, Tesla is not without competition.

There are a number of companies installing integrated solar roofing projects, Greentech notes, including names like SunTegra and Solarmass. There’s also a sizeable list of high-profile failures, like SunEdison’s Ready Solar and PV shingle offerings from Dow Chemical and PV.

As impressive as the design of integrated solar shingles is, Greentech’s Eric Wesoff points out that hasn’t been the biggest issue in commercializing it with other companies. Instead, it is launching a pricey, newfangled environmental technology through a conservative roofing industry.

“PV panels and roofing have very different roles, and I’ve observed that combining the two compromises both at a premium cost,” the editor wrote in an open letter to Musk.

If Tesla can succeed in convincing consumers and the broader industry that its roofs are indeed cheaper and more durable than traditional designs, its brand recognition and reputation could help it make inroads. But it remains to be seen how the company will go about sharing the technology behind its new combined offering.

Currently, Tesla makes many of its electric vehicle patents public, but other aspects of its business are strictly vertically integrated. The company does not sell its cars through third party dealerships and even uses a different charger outlet than other EVs.

With the planned merger with SolarCity, Tesla appears to be spreading that vertically integrated model to its energy offerings, creating an all-in-one distributed energy company. If it continues that trajectory, that could see it stop selling batteries to third-party installers like Sunrun, which currently uses Tesla batteries for its residential solar offering and would be a direct competitor with a merged Tesla.

4. The SolarCity merger

Musk’s event on Friday was about more than unveiling a new product — it was also a chance to show Tesla investors the promise of a merger with SolarCity, the largest residential rooftop installer in the U.S.

Since Tesla announced its intent to buy the company in June, some analysts and shareholders have reacted skeptically. Musk is SolarCity’s chair, his cousins run the company, and many saw the move as a bailout for the residential installer, whose business model relies on hefty debt financing to support its model of no-upfront-cost solar leases.

Tesla’s unexpected third quarter profit, reported last week, gave pause to some of the most anxious shareholders, and Musk’s unveiling of an exciting, integrated product could buoy support for the acquisition.

If that goes badly for Musk, the future of the new solar roof option appears in doubt. In a “master plan” for Tesla unveiled in the summer, Musk hinted at a new integrated solar offering and warned that it would be impossible to offer it if SolarCity remained a separate company.

Whether shareholders view the solar roof offering as an exciting new extension of Tesla’s business or a risky bet on an unfamiliar market remains to be seen. They vote on the merger Nov. 17.

5. Utility sector impact

Musk often frames his business moves as part of a larger strategy to clean up the electricity and transport sectors, allowing them to run on renewable energy and modern energy storage.

That broad vision is one shared by a number of policymakers, including U.S. leaders who signed the Paris Climate Accord last year. But just how deep that decarbonization of the power sector affects utilities remains to be seen.

Fossil generators are sure to feel the impacts, and many are already dealing with widespread coal plant retirements. But Musk said that the future for electric utilities in this cleaner future remains bright.

Powering new electric vehicles will increase demand for electricity, making utilities more critical to the modern energy system and assuaging concerns of a financial “death spiral” for the sector. Going forward, Musk predicted the grid will eventually reach an equilibrium with about one-third of power coming from distributed energy and two-thirds from utilities.

“I think it’s a very bright future for utilities and rooftop [solar],” he said.

View Original Post on:   http://www.utilitydive.com/news/5-unanswered-questions-after-teslas-big-solar-roof-and-battery-announcemen/429393/

Now THAT’S what you call a sun roof! Solar-powered car can travel 115 MILES on a single charge

In an effort to make cars more environmentally friendly, a German car company has looked to solar technology.

A prototype for a car has been developed which is adorned with solar panels.

The Sion car can travel up to 115 miles on a single charge and also uses the unexpected material of moss to ventilate the vehicle.

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Researchers in Germany are pushing the panels to their limits, with the invention of a new car powered by the sun

Researchers in Germany are pushing the panels to their limits, with the invention of a new car powered by the sun

Sono Motors, a car company based in Munich, is now crowdfunding $200,000 (£154,000) to build the car, which is currently a prototype.

The self-charging car will get power from the solar panels fitted to its roof and sides, though drivers will also be able to use power outlets as an alternative.

Sion, which is expected to hit the roads in 2018, also features an unusual ventilation system fitted with moss.

The Icelandic strain of moss is claimed to have air-cleaning capabilities that can filter dust particles and act as a natural air filter.

The self-charging car will get power from the solar panels fitted to its roof and sides, though drivers will also be able to use power outlets as an alternative

The self-charging car will get power from the solar panels fitted to its roof and sides, though drivers will also be able to use power outlets as an alternative

Two models will be available – the ‘Urban’ designed to travel 75 miles will be priced at $13,000 (£9,940), and an ‘Extender’ model that will travel up to 115 miles on a single charge and cost $18,000 (£13,770).

The car is a six-seater, with three front seats, and three in the back, which can be flipped down to provide more room for storage.

THE URBAN VERSUS THE EXTENDER 
URBAN EXTENDER
Price $13,000 (£9,940) $18,000 (£13,770)
Range 120 kilometres (75 miles) 250 kilometres (115 miles)
Charging Power 43 kilowatts 22 kilowatts
Time to charge to 80% 30 minutes 30 minutes
The car is a six-seater, with three front seats, and three in the back, which can be flipped down to provide more room for storage

The car is a six-seater, with three front seats, and three in the back, which can be flipped down to provide more room for storage

Laurin Hahn from Sono Motors, said: ‘We started four years ago in a garage and soon got bigger and moved to a bigger workshop.

‘The team got bigger and we managed to finish our first pre-prototype in early 2016.

‘At that time we founded the Sono Motors.

USING MOSS FOR VENTILATION

A unique moss is integrated into the dashboard and used as a natural air filter.

A special lichen moss is used, which is known for its appealing look and excellent air filtration.

In spite of the naturalness of the moss, it actually requires no care, since the plant draws its water from the air, acting as a natural air conditioner.

The microstructures of moss binds fine dust particles from the air, so even in a big city, you can breathe fresh air.

‘Right from the beginning we had the plan of doing a crowdfunding campaign.

‘It was always on our mind to make this happen with all the people out there, who want to see the same change as us.’

As well as charging the vehicles, the solar panels can be plugged in to other devices, such as cooking stoves, to provide power.

Sion, which is expected to hit the roads in 2018, also features an unusual ventilation system fitted with moss. The Icelandic strain of moss is claimed to have air-cleaning capabilities that can filter dust particles and act as a natural air filter

Sion, which is expected to hit the roads in 2018, also features an unusual ventilation system fitted with moss. The Icelandic strain of moss is claimed to have air-cleaning capabilities that can filter dust particles and act as a natural air filter

Sono Motors, a car company based in Munich, is now crowdfunding $200,000 (£154,000) to build the car, which is currently a prototype (pictured)

Sono Motors, a car company based in Munich, is now crowdfunding $200,000 (£154,000) to build the car, which is currently a prototype (pictured)

As well as charging the vehicles, the solar panels can be plugged in to other devices, such as cooking stoves, to provide power

As well as charging the vehicles, the solar panels can be plugged in to other devices, such as cooking stoves, to provide power

View original post on: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3803758/Now-S-call-sun-roof-Solar-powered-car-travel-115-MILES-single-charge.html#v-8421778707531480634