Tech cuts for solar power in second phase of mission: MNRE

Ministry says no to tech imports; says move will help developers to move from being importers to manufacturers


Neha Sethi | July 25, 2010

Imports in solar technology will be allowed only in the first phase of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM), Farooq Abdullah, the minister for new and renewable energy announced while unveiling the guidelines for selection of new grid connected solar power projects. The first phase of the mission lasts till 2013 and hopes to generate 1000 MW of grid connected solar power.

The guidelines were jointly released by Farooq Abdullah and Sushilkumar Shinde, the power minister in New Delhi on Sunday.

Abdullah said that though the solar developers are allowed to import in the first phase of the mission, but this would not be allowed in the second phase. “You can’t import in the second phase and you will have to become the manufacturers, so plan properly,” he said while addressing the solar power developers.

Deepak Gupta the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) secretary said that the developers have great enthusiasm for the mission and great responsibility falls upon them. "We would be able to generate 500 MW of solar thermal power and another 500 MW from solar photovoltaic in the next three years," he added.

Talking about the guidelines, Gupta said that the eligibility criteria have a lot of filters. “The conditions also have an element of indigenous components in it,” he said. He added that the clause of too much demand has also been factored into the guidelines. “Only those (developers) who have strategic and long-term goal should apply,” added Gupta. In order to have wider participation from solar power developers, only one application per company shall be permitted for development of a single project, he added.

P Umashankar, the power secretary said that one of the barriers to solar was high cost but that hurdle was being fixed by mixing unallocated or reserve power being provided by the power ministry. “The power ministry is giving 1000 MW of power for bundling with solar power so that it is affordable for utilities and viable for developers,” he added.

NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam (NVVN) is the nodal agency for sale and purchase of power under the solar mission. NVVN will invite expressions of interest from developers for solar photovoltaic projects under this scheme.

Umashankar said another barrier of utilities not wanting to buy solar power was being overcome by making amendments in the national tariff policy. He also added that though solar was being developed but the dependence on coal would not go down. “But we are encouraging supercritical thermal projects,” Umashankar said.

The Power Finance Corporation (PFC) and Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) would also be financing some of the solar projects, Shinde said. He said that the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) will also fund these projects.

Abdullah said that he will be holding a meeting with banks to convince them to fund solar projects. “Banks must be liberal in funding for solar energy and I am meeting some of them in Mumbai,” he added. The meeting with banks would be in the next month.




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