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India to take criminal action against errant solar power developers


Mains Paper 3: Economy | Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy & their effects on industrial growth

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Domestic content requirement, solar rooftop scheme, RFID, Indian Penal Code

Mains level: Solar power target of India and related issues


Solar power developers using foreign equipment to be penalized

  1. India will penalize solar power developers who are using foreign equipment in power generation projects
  2. These projects were awarded on the basis that they would only use locally-made solar cells and modules

Possible actions

  1. Filing of a criminal case under 420 and related sections of the Indian Penal Code
  2. Blacklisting of the developer for 10 years
  3. Forfeiting of bank guarantee
  4. Disciplinary case against the concerned officers of the state-run firms and the state governments

Solar power program

  1. These projects were awarded under the domestic content requirement (DCR) route by state-owned firms
  2. They are required to use solar cells and panels made in India
  3. Also, under the solar rooftop scheme, the government gives subsidy on the condition that the modules should be made in India
  4. Solar cells can be imported under this scheme

Stringent norms introduced

  1. Indian government’s plans to making it mandatory for developers to publicly disclose the radio-frequency identification (RFID) tag information of the panels used in solar projects
  2. It will also be incumbent on the developers to share the RFID list of rejected panels
  3. The government also introduced stringent quality norms in August for solar equipment to be sold in the country and made the destruction of sub-standard equipment mandatory

[op-ed snap] Here comes the Sun


Mains Paper 2: IR | Important International institutions, agencies & fora, their structure, mandate

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: International Solar Alliance (ISA), Delhi Agenda

Mains level: Prospects for International Solar Alliance


International Solar Alliance & environmental diplomacy

  1. The Delhi Agenda, which kicked off the International Solar Alliance (ISA) on March 11, is a refreshing change in global environmental diplomacy
  2. The agenda’s 62 signatories agreed to increase the share of solar energy in their respective energy mix and the alliance plans to generate 1 TW of solar energy by 2030
  3. This is more than three times the current installed solar capacity, globally
  4. The coalition will facilitate “joint research and development efforts” to reduce the cost of solar projects in member nations

Challenges faced by ISA

  1. Many of the countries have poor technological capabilities that could come in the way of their leveraging the platform
  2. Even India, the club’s founder, has struggled to be competitive in manufacturing solar equipment like photovoltaics
  3. The country also requires technology to store solar energy when the sun is not shining
  4. Many of its energy-deficient African members want the club to become a facilitator of their electrification programmes
  5. For electricity-sufficient countries like Mauritius, membership of the alliance comes with an aspiration to transit to clean energy
  6. Mobilising finances will be another challenge as the alliance aims to pump in a trillion dollars into solar energy initiatives by 2030

Way forward

  1. Balancing the needs and the vastly different capacities of its members would require the ISA to develop robust procedures
  2. The alliance should also make sure that it does not become the means to advance the climate change mitigation goals of a few of its members or is reduced to an avenue of bilateral exchanges
  3. Developed countries like Australia and France partnering emerging economies like India and Brazil and small island nations like Fiji, Seychelles and Mauritius could be a potential game-changer for the renewable energy market

[op-ed snap] India must lead the transition to green energy

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Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the ISA

Mains level: Importance of the ISA and related issues discussed in the article.


Why is International Solar Alliance (ISA) important for India?

  1. It is a a breakthrough in India’s global positioning
  2. With this ,India has suddenly became a catalyst in the global attempts at capping climate change
  3. This is important in a geopolitical sense when China is clearly expanding its global footprint

India’s commitment on solar energy

  1. India has a domestic commitment to generate 100 gigawatts (GW) of solar energy by 2022
    (part of the broader 175GW target for renewable energy)

But what is the main issue?

  1. India has to push towards mass prosperity at a time when climate change is a huge concern
  2. The context of what India will have to do in the next three decades is quite different from what developed countries or Asian success stories such as China faced
  3. Fighting climate change cannot come at the cost of halting the urgent fight against poverty
  4. Global initiatives should always be seen through the lens of national interest
  5. That is why an international alliance based on credible commitments is important
  6. The key issues that India raised at the Copenhagen climate change talks is still important
  7. The rich countries still need to be pushed to provide asymmetrical funding for climate change mitigation and technology transfers
  8. That will continue to be an important challenge for the global solar alliance

Solar Energy: An opportunity

  1. The shift to solar energy should not be seen only as a defence mechanism
  2. It can also be an opportunity
  3. Economic historians have identified five long waves of technology since the Industrial Revolution
  4. The chronological order of these technology waves is as follows—the steam engine and cotton ginning; steel and railways; electrical and chemical engineering; automobiles and plastics; and information technology
  5. The fight against climate change(and the broader move to low-carbon economies) is likely to create the next big technological wave

The way forward

  1. New technology will be the critical factor in the transition to a green economy which also grows rapidly, and India should take a shot at global leadership
  2. Coal will continue to be a key part of the Indian energy mix in the immediate future
  3. But the push for solar energy is welcome if a longer view is taken
  4. ISA thus offers many opportunities —from geopolitical advantages to economic benefits in the next wave of global innovation


International Solar Alliance

International Solar Alliance drops limits on membership


Mains Paper 2: IR | Important International institutions, agencies & fora, their structure, mandate

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: International Solar Alliance,  Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn

Mains level: India’s renewable energy commitments and efforts in that direction


No restrictions on membership in ISA

  1. India, a founding member of the International Solar Alliance said that membership of the body will be thrown open to all countries that want to join the grouping
  2. There will be no restrictions on duration of sunlight or geographical location
  3. PM Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron will be formally launching the International Solar Alliance on 11th March

Previous criteria for membership

  1. When the International Solar Alliance was announced in 2015, 121 nations situated between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn and receiving 300 days of sunlight were deemed eligible for membership


International Solar Alliance

  1. The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is an alliance of more than 121 countries, most of them being sunshine countries, which lie either completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn
  2. The primary objective of the alliance is to work for efficient exploitation of solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels
  3. The alliance is a treaty-based inter-governmental organization
  4. The alliance is also called International Agency for Solar Policy and Application (IASPA)
  5. The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is to be headquartered in India
  6. The initiative was launched by PM Narendra Modi at the India Africa Summit and a meeting of member countries ahead of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in November 2015

[op-ed snap] Rooftop energy

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Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: B2B

Mains level: The recent survey done in Bengaluru and why it is important for solar power sector in India.


 Mapping of rooftop solar power potential(done in Bengaluru recently)

  1. Bengaluru’s aerial mission to produce a three dimensional map of rooftop solar power potential using Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) data can give this key source of power a big boost
  2. The mission was done to assess how much of a city’s power needs can be met through rooftop solar installations

Importance of these surveys

  1.  A survey helps determine usable rooftops, separating them from green spaces, and analyses the quality of the solar resource
  2. With steady urbanisation, solar maps of this kind will help electricity utilities come up with good business cases and investment vehicles and give residents an opportunity to become partners in the effort

These surveys are need of the hour

  1. An initiative(like these surveys) to rapidly scale up rooftop solar installations is needed if the target of creating 40 GW of capacity connected to the grid by 2022 is to be realised

Other important issues

  1. Domestic policy has to evaluate the impact of factors such as imposition of safeguard duty and anti-dumping duty on imports, and levy of the goods and services tax on photovoltaic modules
  2. Major solar projects that connect to the grid often face the challenge of land acquisition and transmission connectivity
  3. This has led to a delay in planned capacity coming on stream during 2017

What should be done?

  1. The Centre should come up with incentives, given the enormous investment potential waiting to be tapped and the real estate that can be rented
  2. The southern States and Rajasthan together host the bulk of national solar infrastructure on a large scale
  3. With some forward-looking policymaking, they can continue to lead by adding rooftop capacity

The way forward

  1. Initiatives such as the Bengaluru mapping project can contribute to assessments of both real potential and risk
  2. This is crucial for (solar power)projects on a large scale involving significant exposure for financial institutions, including banks
  3. With ongoing improvements to solar cell efficiency and battery technology, rooftops will only get more attractive in the future


What is LIDAR?

Centre’s plan may boost farmers’ solar power use


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the KUSUM

Mains level: Possible benefits and outcomes of the scheme discussed in the newscard.


Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahaabhiyan(KUSUM) scheme

  1. The Centre has announced a Rs. 1.4 lakh-crore scheme for promoting decentralised solar power production of up to 28,250 MW to help farmers
  2. The Centre will spend Rs. 48,000 crore on the ten-year scheme
  3. The scheme was announced in the Union Budget 2018-19

Other benefits of the scheme

  1. The scheme would provide extra income to farmers, by giving them an option to sell additional power to the grid through solar power projects set up on their barren lands
  2. It would help in de-dieselising the sector as also the DISCOMS

Possible positive outcomes

  1. The positive outcomes that are expected when the scheme is fully implemented across the country include (1) promotion of decentralised solar power production,
    (2) reduction of transmission losses and
    (3  providing support to the financial health of DISCOMs by reducing the subsidy burden to the agriculture sector
  2. The scheme would also promote energy efficiency and water conservation and provide water security to farmers

Burden of subsidy

  1. The 60% subsidy on the solar pumps provided to farmers will be shared between the Centre and the States while 30% would be provided through bank loans
  2. The balance cost has to be borne by the farmers

[op-ed snap] Towards solar-powered agriculture

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Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Interest subsidy

Mains level: Irrigation is an important issue of the Agricultural economy. The newscard discusses its solution in the form of solar pumps


Efforts done by different state governments

  1. Maharashtra is solarising its agricultural feeders by installing solar power plants at the substation level, through competitive bidding
  2. Karnataka is promoting solar pumps for existing grid-connected farmers under a net-metering regime
  3. This regime allows them to generate additional income by feeding back surplus energy into the grid
    Are we heading towards in the right direction?
  4. Despite the diversity of approaches and significant government subsidies, only about 1,42,000 pumps have been deployed till date against a target of one million pumps by 2021

How solar pumps can help?

  1. In India, 53% of the net-sown area is still rain-fed
  2. Solar pumps hold potential to enhance irrigation access, advance low-carbon agriculture, reduce the burden of rising electricity subsidies, and improve the resilience of farmers against a changing climate

What can be done?

  1. Target marginal farmers with smaller solar pumps, particularly in areas with good groundwater development potential
  2. Couple solar pump deployment with micro-irrigation and water harvesting interventions at the farm and community levels
    (due to limited water availability in some areas)
  3. In regions with already good penetration of electric pumps, prefer feeder solarisation through competitive bidding over solarisation of individual pumps
    (as solarising individual grid-connected pumps is the costliest approach for the government to expand irrigation cover)
  4. In regions with prevailing local water markets, promote community-owned solar pumps
    (for competitive prices)
  5. Encourage sharing of solar pumps among farmers through farmer extension programmes
  6. Provide interest-subsidy to farmers combined with reduced capital subsidy to enable large-scale deployment of solar pumps in a shorter span of time
    (for covering great number of farmers)
    What is interest subsidy: The value of the tax deductions of an individual’s or company’s earnings resulting from interest payments on its debt over the course of a year.

The way forward

  1. The government should continuously improve and innovate its support mechanisms on solar for irrigation
  2. India must exploit the potential of this decentralised technology to achieve the dual national targets of 100 GW of solar and doubling farmers income by 2022

[pib] ISA to become a Treaty-based International Intergovernmental organization


Mains Paper 2: IR | Important International institutions, agencies & fora, their structure, mandate

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: International Solar Alliance

Mains level: Various initiatives taken to increase usage of renewable energy


  • In terms of its Framework Agreement, with ratification by Guinea as the 15th country on 6th November 2017, the International Solar Alliance (ISA) will become a treaty-based international intergovernmental organization
  • The ISA, headquartered in India, has its Secretariat located in the campus of National Institute of Solar Energy, Gwalpahari, Gurgaon, Haryana
  • The ISA is an Indian initiative, jointly launched by the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi and the President of France on 30th November 2015 in Paris, on the sidelines of COP-21, the UN Climate Conference
  • Initially, 46 countries have signed and 19 countries have ratified the Framework Agreement of ISA.


  • Addressing obstacles to deployment at scale of solar energy through better harmonization and aggregation of demand from solar rich countries lying fully or partially between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn

At the Beginning:

  • Three programmes – Scaling Solar Applications for Agriculture Use, Affordable Finance at Scale, and Scaling Solar Mini-grids – have been launched
  • These programmes will help in achieving the overall goal of increasing solar energy deployment in the ISA member countries for achieving universal energy access and speeding up economic development
  • In addition to the existing 3 programmes, ISA has initiated plans to launch two more programmes: Scaling Solar Rooftops and Scaling Solar E-mobility and Storage


  • ISA has also been developing a Common Risk Mitigating Mechanism (CRMM) for de-risking and reducing the financial cost of solar projects in the ISA member countries
  • The instrument will help diversify and pool risks on mutual public resources and unlock significant investments.

Another major initiative:

  • Establishment of Digital Infopedia which will serve as a platform to enable policy makers, Ministers and corporate leaders from ISA countries to interact, connect, communicate and collaborate with one another

Solar Alliance comes into existence

Image Source


Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the ISA

Mains level: India’s contribution to the ISA


International Solar Alliance (ISA)

  1. The International Solar Alliance (ISA) came into legal, independent existence
  2. It is India’s global initiative that aims at increasing solar energy deployment in member countries
  3. How it is different: It is the first treaty-based international intergovernmental organisation to be based out of India

Particular of the Alliance and India’s contribution to it

  1. So far, 19 countries are part of the compact — Bangladesh, Comoros, Fiji, France, Ghana, Guinea, India, Mali, Mauritius, Nauru, Niger, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Tuvalu, Australia, Cuba, Malawi and Peru
  2. The ISA, also sees itself as on a mission to mobilise more than $1000 billion in investments needed by 2030 for “massive deployment” of solar energy
  3. As part of the agreement, India will contribute $27 million (Rs. 175.5 crore approx) to the ISA for creating corpus, building infrastructure and recurring expenditure over five years from 2016-17 to 2020-21
  4. In addition, public sector undertakings of the Government of India, Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) and Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA), have made a contribution of $1 million (Rs. 6.5 crore) each for creating the ISA corpus fund

Govt planning ‘rent a roof’ policy in solar power push


Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: Important policy for achieving future clean energy targets of India


“Rent a roof” policy

  1. The Union government is working on a “rent a roof” policy to support its ambitious plan to generate 40 gigawatts (GW) of power from solar rooftop projects by 2022

Why is this policy important?

  1. While investors have been enthused by India’s large ground-mounted, grid-connected solar parks, the solar rooftop market hasn’t gained much traction
  2. Of India’s ambitious target of 175GW of clean energy capacity by 2022, 100GW is to come from solar projects
  3. Of these, while 60GW is targeted from ground-mounted, grid-connected projects, 40GW is to come from solar rooftop projects. Wind power projects are to contribute 60GW

Suitability of India for such kind of projects

  1. The country offers a big opportunity given its 750GW potential as it records around 300 sunny days a year, with an average solar radiation range of 4-7 kilowatt-hours per square metre.

Concerns related to Solar Power Projects in India

  1. According to some experts,  there are concerns as India is not expected to achieve even half of the solar rooftop targets by December 2021

Government Strategy for Wind power Projects

  1. The central government is also firming up its strategy to expedite bidding out wind power contracts
  2. India has an installed wind power capacity of 33GW
  3. The country has auctioned 2GW of wind power contracts that saw tariffs fall to a record low of Rs2.64 per unit in the October auction conducted by state-run Solar Energy Corp. of India

Solar Alliance to set up 1000 GW of solar energy by 2030

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Mains Paper 3 | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Conference of Parties (COP)- 23, Paris Agreement, International Solar Alliance, Doha Amendments, Kyoto Protocol, GEF, GCF, BASIC group of countries

Mains level: This news card talks about the new target of ISA and also highlights some other agreements that were negotiated at COP-23 which is being held at Bonn


  1. Three years ago, India had surprised many by announcing that it would develop 100 gigawatts (GW) of solar energy by the year 2022, scaling up its then-existing target by almost five times
  2. Now, the International Solar Alliance, a, has set its eyes on installing 1000 GW of solar energy by the year 2030

International Solar Alliance (ISA)

  1. A new intergovernmental body set up at India’s behest at the Paris climate change conference in 2015
  2. ISA has just been ratified by enough number of countries to make it operational
  3. It will become operational by December 6 this year
  4. France is a key partner in the ISA which is open for membership to 121 countries lying in the tropical regions
  5. So far, 44 countries have signed on to the alliance while 16 of them have also ratified it

The New target of ISA

  1. Last year at the launch of ISA in Gurgaon it aimed to install 1000 GW of solar energy but also stated that this goal required an investment of about 1200 billion euros.
  2. This will be one of the biggest global efforts to shift away from fossil fuels and move towards cleaner sources of energy

Other Agreements discussed in the conference

  1. An agreement on climate resilient agriculture to reduce non-CO2 emissions from it was signed
  2. There was a similar agreement on the issue of loss and damages but many of the demands of the developing countries, especially small island nations, were not accommodated
  3. The small island countries, most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, have been asking for a loss and damage mechanism through which they can seek financial help to compensate for the destruction caused by climate change-induced extreme weather events

Discussions over Pre-2020 actions

  1. Pre-2020 actions’ refer mainly to the obligations of the developed countries under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol that has still three years to run.
  2. There was a fresh proposal to resolve the deadlock over the issue of pre-2020 actions.
  3. Though it still did not address-
  • The developing countries’ key demands of inclusion of pre-2020 actions in the official agenda of negotiations and;
  • Setting up of a timeline for the developed countries to ratify the Doha amendments of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

Meeting by BASIC

  1. India, China, Brazil and South Africa together are known as the BASIC group
  2. They held a meeting to review the progress made at the conference so far
  3. In a joint statement, they noted that developing countries had made much more efforts in tackling climate change than they were expected to
  4. BASIC countries’ actions represented far more ambitious efforts compared to their respective responsibilities and capabilities
  5. It also expressed its deepest concern over attempts by the developed countries to exclude some developing nations from accessing climate finance by applying new income criteria
  6. There have been suggestions that middle-income developing countries should not be eligible for accessing funds from Global Environment Facility (GEF) and Green Climate Fund (GCF), two existing financial institutions for climate finance
  7. The BASIC countries said such criteria were not compatible with the existing agreements and were tantamount to renegotiating the Paris Agreement


Global Environment Facility (GEF)

  1. The Global Environment Facility (GEF) was established on the eve of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to help tackle our planet’s most pressing environmental problems
  2. It is a  unique partnership of 18 agencies including United Nations agencies, multilateral development banks, national entities and international NGOs
  3. It is working with 183 countries to address the world’s most challenging environmental issues
  4. It acts as a financial mechanism for 5 major international environmental conventions:
  • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC),
  • United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD),
  • Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs),
  • United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD),
  • Minamata Convention on Mercury
  1. The slogan of GEF is- Investing in Our Planet

Green Climate Facility (GCF)

  1. The Green Climate Fund (GCF) was adopted as a financial mechanism of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at the end of 2011 in COP16 which was held at Cancun, Mexico
  2. It is intended to support projects, programmes, policies and other activities in developing country for combating climate change
  3. Its finances activities to both enable and support adaptation, mitigation (including REDD+), technology development and transfer (including CCS), capacity-building and the preparation of national reports
  4. The World Bank serves as the interim trustee of the GCF, and the fund functions under the guidance of and remain accountable to the UNFCCC Conference of Parties
  5. It is based in South Korea and governed by a Board of 24 members and initially supported by a Secretariat.
  6. NABARD has been accredited by Green Climate Fund (GCF) Board as one of the National Implementing Entity (NIE) for GCF in India


  1. It is a bloc of four large newly industrialized countries– BrazilSouth AfricaIndia, and China, formed by an agreement in 2009
  2. This geopolitical alliance, initiated and led by China, then brokered the final Copenhagen Accord with the United States
  3. It demands that developed countries allow developing countries “equitable space for development” as well as providing them with finance, technology, and capacity-building support, based on their “historical responsibility for climate change”

New norms for solar power bids to enhance transparency: MNRE

Related image

Image source


Mains Paper 3:Economy ] Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways, etc.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:  Not much

Mains level: New guidelines for procuring solar power



  1. The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) had issued the new guidelines for tariff based competitive bidding process for procuring solar power
  2. The guidelines have been issued under the provisions of Section 63 of the Electricity Act, 2003 for long term procurement from grid-connected Solar PV Power Projects of 5 MW and above, through competitive bidding.


Salient features

  1. Generation compensation for offtake constraints for reducing offtake risks
  2. The ‘must-run’ status for solar projects has been stressed upon.
  3. Besides, to ensure lower tariffs, minimum PPA (power purchase agreement) tenure has been kept at 25 years. Moreover unilateral termination or amendment of PPA is not allowed.
  4. Provides for termination compensation to increase bankability of projects by securing the investment by the generator and the lenders against any arbitrary termination of PPA.
  5. The risk of generator’s revenue getting blocked due to delayed payment/non-payment by the procurers has been addressed through provision of Payment Security Mechanism through instruments like Letter of Credit (LC), Payment Security Fund and State Guarantee. 
  6. It also provides for change in law provision to provide clarity and certainty to generators, procurers, and investors/lenders. 
  7. The penalties have been rationalised so as to reduce the overall cost to the generator, while at the same time, ensuring compliance with the Commissioning Schedule/Scheme Guidelines.
  8. The norms provide that generators are free to repower their plants.


  1. New Guidelines for Tariff Based Competitive Bidding Process to reduce risk, enhance transparency and increase affordability of Solar Power
  2. It will also provide standardisation and uniformity in processes and a risk-sharing framework between various stakeholders involved in the solar PV power procurement
  3. This will also help reduce off-taker risk and encourage investments, enhance bankability of the Projects and improve profitability for the investors
  4. The guidelines also streamline the provision for project preparedness to expedite and facilitate the setting up of projects.

India’s solar power capacity crosses 10,000 MW II

  1. State capacity: Tamil Nadu has the highest installed capacity, followed by Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat
  2. The report pointed out that the solar park scheme has also been instrumental in tackling the two major issues of land acquisition and power evacuation for project development
  3. The govt originally envisaged developing 20,000 MW of solar park capacity by 2020
  4. But the scheme has received an enthusiastic response from the private sector and the govt is already planning to double this capacity to 40,000 MW
  5. Further, 8 green energy corridors are under construction, with financial assistance from German development bank KFW
  6. These will evacuate and integrate the growing share of renewable energy into the grid
  7. The corridors will allow transmission of solar power from the solar rich states to other states

India’s solar power capacity crosses 10,000 MW I

  1. Source: A report by Bridge to India, a global solar energy consulting firm
  2. Major milestone: Cumulative solar capacity, including rooftop and off-grid segments, has crossed 10,000 MW in the country
  3. Reasons: Because of strong government support and the increasing price competitiveness of solar power
  4. India is expected to become the world’s third biggest solar market next year, after China and the US
  5. An average annual capacity addition of 8-10 GW per annum is expected from next year
  6. Utility-scale solar accounts for more than 85% of the total installed capacity. Rooftop solar, is about 10% of the sector
  7. Improving net metering implementation and subsidy disbursal are expected to lead to a significant demand boost for rooftop solar across consumer segments

World’s largest solar plant in Tamil Nadu

  1. The Adani Group opened the world’s largest single location solar power plant in Tamil Nadu
  2. It will produce 648MW of electricity
  3. The plant is at Kamuthi in Ramanathapuram district
  4. Has been connected to a 400 kilo volts substation of Tamil Nadu Transmission Corp.
  5. Built at a cost of around Rs.4,550 crore
  6. Significance: A plant of this magnitude reinstates the country’s ambitions of becoming one of the leading green energy producers in the world

Discuss: Remember National Solar Mission? A good time to go back and revise now!

ABB links TN solar project to national grid

  1. Context: ABB, a Swedish-Swiss MNC has commissioned five substations to integrate a 648-megawatt (MW) solar project in Tamil Nadu to the national transmission grid
  2. Largest: The solar photovoltaic project, made up of five plants in a single location, is the largest of its kind in the world
  3. At full capacity this facility will account for nearly 10 per cent of the country’s current solar capacity of around 7 GW

Govt. lines up $2.5 bn to boost rooftop solar units

  1. Context: Govt’s target of installing 40 GW grid-connected solar rooftop systems
  2. Loans extended by World Bank, Asian Development Bank and New Development Bank
  3. A national workshop on Roof Top Solar Power is to be organised in this week

Policy on Solar Capacity Panels in Indian Railways

  1. Context: India’s ambitious agenda to source 40,000 MW of rooftop solar power by 2022
  2. News: Indian Railways have finalized a policy for harnessing solar energy on rooftops of railway premises
  3. The policy provides for setting up solar power plants through developer mode with a long term Power Purchase Agreement by Railways
  4. Objective: To reduce dependence on fossil fuels and expand solar power

Read about Railway Budget 2016-17.


Budget’s impact on Solar Energy

  1. Outlay: Govt has allocated an outlay of above Rs.10,000 crore for 2016-17
  2. This includes Rs.5,000 crore from the National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF) & remaining from Internal & Extra Budgetary Resource (IEBR)
  3. Finance: A significant part of viability gap funding for solar power projects
  4. Diversification of sources of power for long-term stability
  5. Taxation: Clean environment cess on coal, lignite and peat has been doubled from Rs.200 to Rs.400 per tonne
  6. This would encourage the use of renewable sources of energy

Low solar tariffs susceptible to cost risks

  1. Context: Solar tariff hit a historic low of Rs 4.34/unit in January after a bid for a 70 MW project in Rajasthan
  2. Expert’s Opinion: Low tariff bids could prove risky for developers as any slight changes in costs could impact operating margins
  3. Reason: Low tariff bids have very tight assumptions of costs, which can escalate if any of the assumptions go wrong
  4. Challenge: Rooftop solar has been viable only for industrial consumers whose power tariffs are on the higher side, while residential users have low tariffs
  5. Discoms don’t favour rooftop solar power, as industrial consumers are buying less from them, due to difference in pricing

What are Solar parks?

  1. Context: A solar park is a concentrated zone of development of solar power generation projects
  2. Objective: Provides developers an area that comes equipped with infrastructure and access to amenities and where the risks to projects can be minimized
  3. Parks approved: So far, 27 solar parks in 21 states have been approved in principle
  4. Capacity: These amount to an aggregate capacity of 18,418 MW
  5. Nodal agency: MNRE’s nodal agency for solar power projects is Solar Energy Corp. of India
  6. Role: makes funds available to companies developing solar parks under the Union government’s programme
  7. Role of states: The states identify land for such parks

Easy land acquisition for solar parks

  1. Context: the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) has come out with fresh guidelines for land acquisition for solar parks
  2. Aim: To tackle the problems of acquiring land for solar park projects and keeping costs down
  3. Norms: allow state governments to use unproductive and non-agricultural land for the purpose, and emphasize minimum use of private land

PM Modi inaugurated the interim Secretariat of the International Solar Alliance

PM inaugurated International Solar Alliance (ISA) headquarters and inaugurated the interim Secretariat in National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE), Gwalpahari, Gurgaon.

  1. GoI has dedicated 5 acre land in NISE campus for the ISA Headquarters and also has contributed Rs 175 crore for ISA corpus fund for initial 5 years.
  2. ISA is part of Prime Minister’s vision to bring clean and affordable energy within the reach of all and create a sustainable world.
  3. ISA will be dedicated to promotion of solar energy for making solar energy a valuable source of affordable and reliable green and clean energy in 121 member countries.
  4. Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA and Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) announced contribution of US $ 1 million each to the ISA corpus fund.

International Solar Alliance set to be operational in 6 months

  1. An International Solar Alliance (ISA) is likely to be operational by the middle of 2016.
  2. Mr. Modi and François Hollande would lay the foundation stone of the alliance at the National Institute of Solar Energy in Gurgaon.
  3. One of the objectives of the alliance is to get $1 trillion investments in the solar sector worldwide by 2030.
  4. This will be the first time that India will have the headquarters of an international agency.
  5. The International Solar Alliance will become a legal entity after a minimum 25 countries ratify it.

Power for 2.5 million homes, jobs for 30,000

  1. The Union Cabinet approved Rs. 5,050 crore of viability gap funding for 5,000 MW of grid-connected solar projects.
  2. The additional 5,000 MW of power could provide power to almost 2.5 million households.
  3. This would be done over 4 years from 2015-16 to 2018-19 and generate employment for around 30,000 people in rural and urban areas.
  4. It will also reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the country by 8.525 million tonnes a year.

Let’s know about International Renewable Energy Agency

  1. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is an intergovernmental organisation that supports countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future.
  2. Abu Dhabi is the headquarter of IRENA.
  3. It serves as the principal platform for international cooperation and a centre of excellence on renewable energy.
  4. IRENA promotes the widespread adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy.

Increase in renewable energy use to boost global GDP by $1.3 trillion

  1. The International Renewable Energy Agency provided the first global estimate of the macroeconomic impacts of renewable energy deployment.
  2. The report highlights the benefits that would be achieved under the scenario of doubling the global share of renewable energy by 2030 from 2010 levels.
  3. A 36% share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030 would increase global GDP by up to $1.3 trillion.
  4. Employment in the renewable energy sector would also increase from 9.2 mn global jobs today, to more than 24 mn by 2030.

Let’s know about National solar Mission?

  1. The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission was launched on the 11th January, 2010.
  2. The Mission has set the ambitious target of deploying 20,000 MW of grid connected solar power by 2022
  3. Aimed at reducing the cost of solar power generation in the country through –
  • Long term policy
  • Large scale deployment goals
  • Aggressive R&D
  • Domestic production of critical raw materials and products.

Green light for Rs. 5,000 crore sop for rooftop solar power

There will be no subsidy for commercial establishments in the private sector.

  1. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved an increase in the budget for implementation of grid-connected solar rooftop systems to Rs.5,000 crore to 2019-2020.
  2. This will support installation of 4,200 MW solar rooftop systems in the country in next 5 years.
  3. The capital subsidy of 30 per cent will be provided for general category States and Union Territories and 70 per cent for special category States.
  4. This will enable the balance capacity through market mode to achieve the target of 40,000 MWp by 2022.
  5. The government has revised the target of National Solar Mission (NSM) from 20,000 MWp to 1 lakh MWp by 2022.

Encouragement to Domestic Households for Installation of Solar Panels

The Govt. has taken few measures to encourage domestic households for solar power in the country.

  1. Concessional loans from Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency.
  2. Loans under Priority Sector Lending upto Rs. 15 crore for renewable energy.
  3. Bank loans as a part of home loan/ home improvement loan for rooftop solar systems projects.
  4. Subsidy for grid connected rooftop solar systems, solar pumping systems, concentrated solar thermal and other off-grid solar applications.

Increasing Production of Solar Energy

The govt. has taken several initiatives to promote Solar Power in the country.

  1. A 10-year tax holiday for Solar Power Projects.
  2. Exemption from excise duties and concession on import duties on components and equipment required to set up a solar plant
  3. A subsidy of 30% of the project cost for off-grid solar thermal projects.
  4. Guaranteed market through solar power purchase obligation to states.

Lets know more about International Solar Alliance

  1. ISA is conceived as a coalition of solar resource rich countries to address their special energy needs.
  2. It seeks to share collective ambitions to reduce the cost of finance and technology to deploy solar power widely.
  3. It will ensure that generation and storage technologies would be adapted to the individual countries’ needs.
  4. The Alliance would pursue cooperation in training, building institutions, regulatory issues, common standards, and investment including joint ventures.
  5. It will function from the National Institute of Solar Energy, Gurgaon.

Modi launches International Solar Alliance

  1. India launched an International Solar Alliance (ISA) at the CoP21 Climate Conference.
  2. The revolution in the field would bring power to all citizens, and create unlimited economic opportunity.
  3. The new body has invited all countries located fully or partly between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn to join.
  4. India will provide land and $30 million to form a secretariat for the Alliance, and also support it for 5 years.
  5. It will promote solar technologies and investment in the solar sector to enhance
    income generation for the poor and global environment.

Over 4GW of solar power stream by end of fiscal

Presently Rajasthan leads in solar power capacity addition, followed by Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra

  1. The country is set to add more than 4 GW of solar power by March 2016, the largest annual addition of capacity in the solar sector.
  2. From 4,345 MW of new capacity, 3,775 MW of capacity will be added under the state government’s policies category.
  3. India added a cumulative grid-connected solar capacity of 4,262 MW.
  4. About 330 MW will be added through the viability gap funding scheme (phase II and Batch I of National Solar Mission).

Metro installs 9 Solar Power generation facilities

  1. Delhi Metro has installed nine new solar power generation facilities in Badarpur-Faridabad section for partial fulfilment of energy requirements.
  2. These power facilities have capacity of 1,660 kWp while total solar capacity installed as of now is 2,800 kWp.
  3. DMRC has a plan of creating solar power capacity of 20MWp out of which work has already been awarded for 11MWp.

Can the ‘National Solar Mission’ & ‘Make in India’ converge?

  1. The 100 GW solar target will result in much (~25%) of our power supply being ‘Made in India’ besides generating more than a million new jobs.
  2. Power purchase agreements for solar power are signed for 25 years, with no provision for tariff revision disproving the claims that solar power is expensive.
  3. Moreover, MSMEs, worst hit by power shortages, can meet a portion of their demand through in-house rooftop solar power.

Govt sets rooftop solar targets for States

  1. The Centre has recently set State-wise tentative targets for installation of grid-connected solar rooftop systems.
  2. Part of its plan is to achieve 40,000 MW of rooftop solar power by 2022.

Solar Power capacity target revised to 1 lakh MW under JNNSM by 2022

  1. JNNSM – Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission.
  2. How? 40,000 MW from Rooftop and 60,000 MW through Large and Medium Scale Grid Connected Solar Power Projects.
  3. Also approved setting up of over 2,000 MW of Grid-Connected Solar Power Projects on BOOT (build, own, operate, transfer) basis.

Solar power picks up steam in more States

  1. Gujarat & Rajasthan are the frontrunners – account for >50% India’s grid connected solar energy capacity additions.
  2. The Indian government has set an ambitious target of adding 100,000 MW by 2022.
  3. The plan would include large scale deployment of rooftop projects under both net metering and feed in metering.
  4. Secondly, the Government would lay emphasis on grid connected projects to achieve 40,000 MW by 2022. Solar parks have to be set up in.
  5. Thirdly, the Centre should focus on large scale projects (100 MW minimum).

Solar energy production advantages & the future of climate control

  1. Solar energy leaves the least pollution behind, only silicon wafer production is polluting step.
  2. In Hydro and Wind energy production there is huge green economy cost.
  3. Higher efficiency solar panel as invented recently is one reason that per Unit production is coming down.
  4. New zero white space (ZWS) solar module technology – increases efficiency.
  5. PV (Photo Voltaic) costs have gone down in recent times which is the major part for investment.

China plans to build huge space solar power station

  1. The power station would be a super spacecraft on a geosynchronous orbit equipped with huge solar panels.
  2. This is an attempt to battle smog, cut greenhouse gases & solve energy crisis.
  3. Electricity generated from the ground-based solar plants fluctuates with time of the day, but a space generator collects energy 99% of the time.

:( We are working on most probable questions. Do check back this section.

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