The demand for open access in Karnataka remains high as the state’s IT sector and data centers constantly seek cost-effective energy sources. Photo: Coshipi_Flickr

Solar open access installations rise 68% in last quarter of 2023

Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu led the way in open access installations as India added 518 MW of solar open access in the first quarter (Q1) of 2023. That’s over 68% more compared to the 308 MW installed in Q4 2022. However, on a year-over-year (YoY) basis, the installations declined by 37%..  The demand for open access in Karnataka remains high as the state’s IT sector and data centers constantly seek cost-effective energy sources, reported Mercom, adding that In Maharashtra, the country’s economic hub, open access solar is more viable since the retail tariff is among the highest. By March 2023, the cumulative installed solar open access capacity reached 8.3 GW.

The latest National Electricity Plan for 2022-32 (NEP) was released May 31 by Union Ministry of Power (MoP). The MoP revisits the NEP every five years to forecast the country’s power generation, transmission and demand trajectory for the coming decade.

The NEP announced plans to increase the overall contribution of non-fossil power generation. Its capacity will be hiked to 68.4% from 40% at present by 2031-32. 

The NEP includes a review of the period 2017-22, detailed capacity addition requirements during the years 2022-27, and perspective plan projections for the years 2027-32.

India may cut import tax to meet domestic demand of solar panels

Reuters reported that India may slash its import tax on solar panels by half and is seeking a rollback in goods and services taxes on the devices to make up a shortfall in local output amid rising demand for renewable energy. Quoting unnamed sources, the newswire added that India’s renewable energy ministry has held talks with the finance ministry to approve its request to cut the import tax on solar panels from 40% to 20%. The report also said the government may make a recommendation to India’s Good and Services Tax (GST) Council to lower the GST on solar panels to 5%, from the 12% imposed in 2021.

India may add 5GW pumped hydro energy storage by 2028

The latest guidelines can be a shot in the arm for pumped hydro energy storage (PHES) projects, and kickstart around 5 GW of capacity addition over the next five fiscals. A Mercom report cited a CRISIL study that stated 2.8 GW is under construction and the rest may come up at potential sites, cumulating to 29.9 GW marked by the Centre.

The rising capacity share of renewable energy produced during non-peak hours is making investments in storage infrastructure an imperative. For instance, solar, which at present forms half of renewable generation, is produced during the daytime, while peak power requirement is during the evening (5-8 PM), which is when the solar power stored in hydro energy storage would fulfill the demand.

EU distributes $2-6 billion to back RE in 7 member countries

The European Union disbursed €2.4 billion (~$2.6 billion) to finance 31 projects in seven beneficiary member countries to support the modernisation of energy systems, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in energy, industry, and transport, and improvement of energy efficiency, reported Mercom. The funds were generated through the European Emissions Trading System.

Romania received €1.1 billion (~$1.2 billion) to support the development of new renewable electricity production capacities, district heating systems, and replacing coal-powered energy with cleaner gas infrastructure. Czechia’s ENERGov Program, secured €1 billion (~$1.1 billion) to improve energy efficiency and savings in new public buildings. Bulgaria received €197 million (~$212 million) to modernise its electricity distribution grid. Croatia secured €88 million (~$95 million) to deploy photovoltaic and energy storage capacities to specifically serve public water service providers and Poland received €47 million (~$51 million) to support cogeneration for district heating. 

Record solar-cell efficiency achieved at 32.5 %

The solar-cell technology institute Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin (HZB) developed a tandem solar cell that converts 32.5% of incident solar radiation into electrical energy—a world record. Tandem solar cells increase the efficiency of a solar cell by splitting the spectrum and optimizing each section of the spectrum, reports Electrek. The researchers used “an advanced perovskite composition with a very smart interface modification.”

Silicon is currently the standard material in solar cells, and perovskite and silicon have been developed separately as semiconductor materials for solar panels. Scientists see perovskite as having untapped potential, and they experiment with it by combining it with other materials.

About The Author