Without protectionist duties, scaling up production could be the only hope for India's solar module manufacturers

RENEWABLES: House panel says no to proposed 70% solar import duty, India ranks 78 in energy transition index, KUSUM Farmers to ‘run solar plants’, Good radiations from Chernobyl

The proposed 70% safeguard duty on solar imports will not be implemented retrospectively, and developers will be allowed to increase the tariffs based on the rates they bagged the projects on. A Parliamentary panel has said no to ‘safeguard duty’ and recommended to scrap the current 7.5% customs duty, saying they are unviable and dampen investor sentiment. The 70% ‘safeguard duty’ was requested by a group of domestic manufacturers, including Adani.

Energy transition: India at 78 on list of 114

India figured at a low 78 (Brazil-38, China-76) of 114 countries on the World Economic Forum index, with costly and polluting fossil fuels driving most of its energy needs. The report said, many Indians still lack access to electricity and clean cooking fuel. Between 2013 and 2018, India improved by 5.6% points.

PM: Can we develop more efficient solar modules?

PM Modi has asked Indian scientists to “extend research from labs to the land” and develop more efficient solar panels. “Current efficiency of solar modules is 17-18%. Can India produce more efficient modules at the same cost?” he asked. The government has set a target of 100 GW of installed solar power by 2022

KUSUM: Farmers to run grid-connected solar projects

The government is formulating a scheme for farmers – KUSUM – that aims to install grid-connected 2MW solar plants each in barren farm lands. With a plan to decentralize over 28,000MW of solar power production over 5 years, KUSUM expects farmers to sell the surplus power to the grid (discoms), be free of power subsidy, and help states meet renewable targets.

Macron launches UP’s biggest 75MW solar plant

On Solar Alliance inaugural visit French President Macron launched UP’s biggest, 75MW, over Rs 500 crore solar plant in Mirzapur. The solar plant, set up through transparent bidding by French firm ENGIE, will generate power at Rs 4.43 /unit for 25 years. India backs it with viability gap fund of Rs 74.25 lakh per MW. With 75 MW, UP’s solar capacity has gone up to 165 MW.

S Africa court blocks 27 renewable deals, over coal job-loss plea

A South African court blocked 27 renewable deals, worth $4.7 billion, including 3 of Norway firm Scatec Solar, on the plea by ousted President Jacob Zuma loyalists. In a blow to current president Ramaphosa, National Union of Metalworkers and Transform RSA want the court to scrap the deals citing coal industry job losses.

India’s $1 billion solar credit line for Africa

India extended blanket Line of Credit worth $1 billion in Africa at the recently held International Solar Alliance. Credit for 23 solar projects in 13 African countries included French speaking Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Niger, Togo, Guinea, besides Democratic Republic Congo, Ghana, Nigeria, Seychelles, Tanzania and Rwanda. India aims to produce solar panels cheaper than those made in China, for these projects.

Mahindra completes 250 MW MP solar project

Mahindra Renewables completed its 250 Megawatt (MW) solar project in Rewa, Madhya Pradesh. Expected to start by December 2018, the project is part of the 750 Mw Rewa solar park. Mahindra raised Rs 750 crore from Yes Bank, and Rs 200 crores from other institutions. 78% of over 525 million units of electricity will be sold to MP discoms, rest 22% to Delhi Metro.

Healthy and green: Chernobyl’s solar radiation

The 1986 site of world’s worst nuclear disaster, now holds around 4,000 solar panels spread over concrete grave of radioactive waste. Ukraine’s Chernobyl plant today promises to deliver safe sun power as substitute to the erratic Russian gas and coal supplies. Ukraine boasts 1.2 GW of solar power by the end of 2017. It now aims to lure companies to generate another 1.2 gigawatts of solar energy on the site of the devastation, enough to power 200,000 homes.

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