Hydro-gains: New norms proposed by the Indian government will allow large energy consumers to meet their Renewable Purchase Obligations (RPO) through green hydrogen procurement | Photo: Universal-sci.com

New norms allow purchase of green hydrogen power as renewables power

India proposed new renewable energy rules to boost the RE sector, including allowing purchase of hydrogen to meet the Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO). The Centre also categorised waste-to-energy plants as renewable power, although some experts said waste-to-energy is not a clean source of energy. 

The new norms proposes to make consumers with 100 kW load, covering MSMEs and commercial complexes, eligible to take power through open access, which was so far open to large consumers purchasing over one megawatt of power.

Experts welcomed the proposed rules and said, if implemented properly, the rules will go a long way in supporting the growth of the renewable energy sector.

Indian renewable energy sector gets $6.6 billion in first quarter of this fiscal

According to research by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), the renewable energy sector’s first quarter of FY22 is back on track with funding of $6.6 billion. The study said investment has already surpassed $6.4 billion. The ongoing fiscal year will “easily” exceed the $8.4 billion investment figure of FY20.

According to JMK research, new renewable energy capacity additions slowed a bit as India added 1.5 GW of utility scale solar power in the second quarter of 2021, which is 30% less than the previous quarter. In the wind energy sector, new capacity added was 475 MW, which is 56% less than the first quarter. Rooftop solar’s new capacity was at 417 MW in the second quarter, 55% less than the first quarter. 

Andhra Pradesh plans to set up 33.24 GW of pumped hydro storage capacity

Andhra Pradesh is planning to set up a massive 33.24 GW of pumped hydro storage power to enable the consumers to get quality power. The state has already established 109 charging stations. It will set up another 400 chargers across the state and along national highways every 25km, ET reported. 

Meanwhile, the Centre increased benchmark costs for grid-connected rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems for the financial year (FY) 2021-22. Benchmark costs for rooftop solar projects in states other than special category states for system capacities of 10 kW-100 kW is ₹41.64 (~$0.56)/W. This is an increase of 9.6% compared to the benchmark costs of FY 2020-21. In FY 2020-21, for systems between 10-100 kW, the benchmark costs had been reduced to ₹38 (~$0.51)/W from the ₹48 (~$0.70)/W in the previous year. The cost for system capacities of 100-500 kW was lowered by 20% when compared to the preceding year’s cost of ₹45 (~$0.66)/W, Mercom reported.

Tech breakthroughs push the envelope on solar cell efficiency

Researchers from the Australian National University have used a breakthrough process called ‘laser doping’ to create the most efficient type of bifacial solar cells yet. Using lasers to boost electrical conductivity locally in cells, researchers have developed a dual-sided silicon solar cell conversion efficiency of 24.3% on each side, yielding a bifacial factor of 96.3 percent. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has independently verified the claims that this equates to a 29% effective power production, well beyond the average for single-sided silicon solar cells.

Meanwhile, US-based Oxford PV claims to have created solar cells with an efficiency of 29.52% using ‘perovskite-on-silicon tandem technology’. The technology is a clear upgrade to the 26% efficiency threshold that silicon cells function under, and the company has stated that it is very close to starting commercial application of the tandem technology.

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