Turning to the oceans: Energy economics institute IEEFA has cautioned that India might need to reorient RE deployment offshore to reduce the burden of land requirements | Photo: DNV GL-Energy

India needs judicious planning of land use for solar, wind projects to achieve RE goals: IEEFA

To achieve renewable energy goals and net-zero emissions by 2050, India needs judicious planning of land use for solar and wind generation today, cautioned a new IEEFA report. 

The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) estimated that with a 2050 net-zero target, solar in India could occupy around  50,000-75,000 square kilometres (km2) of land, while wind could occupy 15,000-20,000 km2 (the total project area including space between turbines and other infrastructure). The report stated that land that could be needed for solar is equivalent to 1.7%-2.5% of India’s total landmass, or 2.2%-3.3% of non-forested land.

IEEFA said India should minimise total land use by installing offshore wind, rooftop solar, and solar on man-made water bodies. India should incentivise tenders for sites without land conflict and back distributed RE projects, the report stated. 

Only “miraculous fall” in panel costs may rescue RE projects: Study

Amid falling tariffs and high investor interest, only a miraculous fall in panel costs would make the bids for renewable projects viable, according to a Bridge to India study. Tariffs have fallen despite levy of Basic Customs Duty (BCD) on solar cells and modules, higher equipment prices and implementation of Approved List of Models and Manufacturers, the study stated. 

It added that seven auctions totalling 3,950 megawatt (MW) capacity have been completed in just seven weeks and a strong interest in bidding had led to a further fall in tariffs.

Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) discovered a record low tariff of Rs2.34 to Rs2.35 per unit for wind-solar hybrid projects recently–that’s a 3% fall over the last SECI solar-wind hybrid auction in December 2020, said the consultancy firm.

Tenders are getting routinely oversubscribed by five to six times as developers are anxious to win projects. There was a big slowdown in auctions in the 12-month period leading up to July 2021, the report said.

India may generate up to 34 kilotonnes of PV waste by 2030: India-EU study 

By 2030, India will generate a cumulative mass of PV module waste as high as 34 kilotonnes, according to a new study. The PV waste would be generated due to early failures or damages during transportation, installation, and operation.

The report was jointly produced by the EU-India Technical Cooperation Project (IDOM), European solar trade body SolarPower Europe, European take-back and recycling association PV CYCLE, and Indian industry body National Solar Energy Federation of India (NSEFI).

Meanwhile, Spanish turbine maker Siemens Gamesa announced it is producing recyclable offshore wind turbine blades for commercial use.