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Largest Solar Cooking System commences in Shirdi

Thursday, July 30, 2009 0 comments

Its not often that you come across such events happening in India. But a new solar cooking system being inaugrated at the Sri Saibaba Sansthan Trust in the famous Saibaba temple at Shirdi to cater to almost 30,000 devotees who visit the temple every day. The new prasadalaya' is spread over 7.5 acres of land in which 5,000 devotees can be served food at the same time.

Technical process -
They reflect and concentrate the solar rays on the 40 receivers placed in focus. Water coming from the steam headers placed above the header centres is received from bottom of the receiver, gets heated up to due to heat generated (about 5500C) due to concentration of solar rays on the receivers and get pushed up via top pipe of receiver into the header. The principle of anything that gets heated is pushed up is called thermo-siphon principle. The advantage of thermosiphon principle is no pumping (thus no electricity) is needed to create circulation since the heated water is pushed into the header and water from the same headers come into the receivers for heating. The cycle continues till it reaches 1000C and gets converted into steam.
The header is only filled and thus steam generated gets accumulated in the upper half of the steam header. The temperature and pressure of steam generated keeps on increasing and heat is stored till the steam is drawn for cooking into the kitchen.All the 40 dishes rotate continuously along with the movement of the sun, always concentrating the solar rays on the receivers. This movement of concentrators is called tracking, which is continuous and is controlled by the fully automatic timer mechanism.
Only once during the day i.e. in the early morning the dishes have to be turned manually onto the morning position, subsequently the automatic tracking takes over.

Project Cost:

Considering the fuel expenses and to avoid pollution, the trust has installed the automatic solar energy system worth Rs 1.33 crore. A subsidy of Rs 58.4 lakh was sanctioned by the Union ministry of non-conventional energy for the project which will help save around 74 metric tonne of LPG worth approximately Rs 29.80 lakh. Earlier, the trust had installed two windmills for electricity generation at Supe in Ahmednagar district.

The Solar Company:

Gadhia Solar, a global player in thermal energy systems has manufactured and commissioned this project which is possibly the worlds largest solar parabolic concentrated technology systems. The newly upgraded system now installed at Saibaba Sansthan would cook 50,000 meals per day. It took the company seven months to install and commission the system, which would have 25 years of life. The company has also other plans to enter in Solar Energy space in India. Few announced projects are:
Capacity and Technology
Kutch Gujarat
100 MW - Solar concentrated thermal plant
Cancer hospital in Gujarat
100-tonne - Solar concentrated air-conditioning project
Nagpur- Lathur area, Maharshtra
1 to 1.5 MW - Steam-based solar thermal power system
IBM office in Bangalore
Solar air-conditioning system
The company provides different applications like concentrated solar thermal power packs from 1KW to 100MW, concentrated solar air-conditioning and heating systems, concentrated solar process heat for systems for various industrial applications. The company also undertakes concentrated solar waste water evaporation systems, concentrated solar desalination systems, concentrated solar space heating systems and concentrated solar drying systems to cater to industrial needs. (Source: Indian Express, Times of India)
I hope that many more systems come up soon and companies like Gadhia becomes one of the most respected and profitable companies as such companies are working towards making the world a place to live.
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Gujarat: A front-runner in adopting renewable energy at state levels

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 0 comments

Government of Gujarat is already proving itself as a front-runner in renewable energy initiatives. In June 2009, GERC raised tariff for wind power procurement to INR 3.55 per kwh from earlier level of INR 3.37 per kwh which would promote power generation from renewable energy sources.
Apart from this, GERC has also raised the limit of wind and solar power to be purchased by distribution licensees. The purchase limit for power generated from wind energy has been increased to 6 per cent for fiscal 2009-10 and 7 per cent for financial years 2010-11 and 2011-12. Earlier, the limit was 2 per cent for wind power.
As far as solar power is concerned the limit has been fixed at 1.5 per cent for the first two fiscals and 2.5 per cent for the year 2011-12.
In case of other renewable sources the limit is 0.5 per cent for the next three financial years.
I believe that this would help the companies interested in investing in Gujarat to make better decisions. Government of Gujarat is taking major steps in increasing promotion towards development of solar energy generation.
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New Investor-friendly Tariff Structure for Gujarat Solar Energy Generation

Tuesday, July 28, 2009 0 comments

An interesting development has happened for all the people concerned with Solar Energy. Inspite of current downturn in world economies, Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission (GERC) has now proposed an increased tariff for procurement of energy from Solar resources. Below is the new tariff structure.

Generation Technology
Tariff per kwh (First 12 years)*
Tariff per kwh (13th to 25th year)*
Solar PV
INR. 14 / USD 0.29
INR 4.0 / USD 0.08
Solar Thermal
INR 10 / USD 0.20
INR 3.5 / USD 0.07

*All the distribution licensees and other buyers will have to procure power at the above mentioned tariffs.
The state power regulator has also invited comments, suggestions and objections from the stakeholders. The final tariffs will be determined after considering the views of the stakeholders. According to solar experts, the cost of solar power generation may vary from INR 13 to INR 18 per kwh depending upon cost and location of the project.
This would provide a great impetus for solar companies planning to enter in India and especially Gujarat for setting up power plants. Recently Astonfield Solar (Gujarat) Pvt Ltd had approached Gujarat power regulators for their 25 MW solar PV plant with a proposed tariff of INR. 19.92 per kwh. This would help them to increase their Internal Rate of Return from the project faster than previous tariff schedule.
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Development of Solar City in India comes in full gear: 11 Cities sanctioned, other 8 cities given "in-principle" approvals

Wednesday, July 22, 2009 1 comments

After a long wait, Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has confirmed that it will start it's solar cities implementation project soon. In Feb '09, Gandhinagar and Rajkot cities in Gujarat were granted in-principle approval by MNRE under the scheme — 'Development of Solar Cities.'

Now in July '09, the project is finally given a green signal. The programme is aiming to reduce a minimum of 10% of the projected demand of conventional energy of the city through energy efficiency measures and renewable energy installations. A total of sixty cities are proposed to be developed as solar cities during the Eleventh Plan period including two model solar cities.

So far, sanctions have been issued for 11 cities in the States of Uttar Pradesh (2 nos.), Gujarat (2 nos.), Maharashtra (3 nos.), Uttarakhand (1 no.), Haryana (2 nos.) and Nagaland (1 no.). Further, 'in-principle' approval has been given for eight cities in the States of Tamil Nadu (1 no.), Madhya Pradesh (1 no.), Manipur (1 no.), Andhra Pradesh (1 no.), Chattisgarh (2 no.), Tripura (1 no.) and Union Territory of Chandigarh, for developing them as Solar Cities.

The Ministry is providing financial support up to Rs. 50 lakh for each solar city to the respective State Governments. The approximate break-up is:
  • up to Rs 10 lakh for preparation of the Master Plan within a year
  • up to Rs 10 lakh for oversight of implementation during five years
  • up to Rs 10 lakh for setting up a 'Solar Cell' and it's functioning for a period of five years
  • remaining amount of Rs 20 lakh is to be utilised for other promotional activities in five years (Source: Express News Services, PTI)
Further, for two model solar cities, financial support of 50% upto a maximum of Rs. 9.50 crore will be available towards the cost of installation of renewable energy systems. An amount of Rs. 47.58 lakh has been released for 11 cities sanctioned so far.

According to the MNRE guidelines, the energy base-line – the detailed documentation of the existing energy supply and demand scenario of the city – will be prepared by the urban local governments on the basis of the consumption pattern for 2008.

It will detail the sector-wise (residential, commercial and institutional, industrial and municipal) data collection on energy consumption (electricity, petroleum products, coal and biomass). Surveys will also be conducted for understanding energy use patterns and the efficiency of use. This will help in generating a Demand Forecasting for 2013 and 2018 and help prepare sector-wise strategies involving techno-economic feasibility of different renewable energy options. The next step will be a priority listing of all potential renewable energy technology options.

Realising the importance of Stakeholders' consultation in the preparation of the master plan preparation, the MNRE has suggested two consultations (excluding the inception workshop) – one immediately after the analysis of sector-wise strategies, and one towards the end to discuss the draft master plan.

The participants can include elected representatives, local research and academic institutions, resident welfare associations, industries and corporate organisations and NGOs among others.
This can be the first big step by Government of India towards the energy sustainibility, and its growth in future. Though I feel the amount of Rs 50 lacs is less still it can atleast initiate a number of activies in Solar Energy Development in India.

Hope we see the solar energy burning our electric poles soon!!!
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Gujarat implements levelized cost of energy to Solar Power

Friday, July 17, 2009 0 comments

There are lot of renewable energy jargons which are not understood by common man. I will try to throw light upon each one as and when I come across such article which is useful for common man and companies alike.

Lets start with Levelised energy cost (LEC, also called Levelised Cost Of Energy or LCOE).  It is an economic assessment of the cost the energy-generating system including all the costs over its lifetime: initial investment, operations and maintenance, cost of fuel, cost of capital. A net present value calculation is performed and solved in such a way that for the value of the LEC chosen, the project's net present value becomes zero.

In short, LEC is the minimum price at which energy must be sold for an energy project to break even. This would be particularly higher for renewable energy systems as the initial investment cost is too high. Many countries such as Spain and US has already adopted to levelized cost of energy.

Recently, Astonfield Solar (Gujarat) Private Limited, a special purpose vehicle floated by Kolkata-based Astonfield Renewable Resources Limited (ARRL), has approached the Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission (GERC) seeking determination of tariff for 25 Mw of solar power at Rs 19.92 per kWh (Kilowatt hour) for 25 years.

Astonfield is setting up a 200-Mw grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant in Gujarat, for which it has tentatively identified Kutch, Banaskantha, Patan and Surendranagar districts.
In a tariff petition for a 25-Mw solar power project, the company has proposed a levelised tariff of Rs 19.92 per kWh for the next 25 years. The tariff is based on the cost formula worked out by the company.

The company has urged the power regulator to also consider Rs 438.37 crore as the project cost while determining the tariff. This project cost is for 25 Mw of grid-connected solar power. For the entire 200 Mw, the company is pumping in around Rs 3,600 crore. (Source Business Standard)
"GERC has already invited comments, suggestions and objections from stakeholders such as power distribution companies in the state and the tariff will be fixed after hearing the stakeholders," said a senior official of GERC.

It may be mentioned here that the Gujarat government, in its solar power policy, has fixed the solar power tariff at Rs 13 per kWh for the first 12 years. The tariff applies to all the projects commissioned by December 31, 2010. However, the cost of solar power varies from project to project.

"Based on the location and cost of the project, the cost of power generated from solar energy may range between Rs 13 and 18 per kWh," the official added.

This is a very important step towards promotion of solar energy and other renewable sources. We have to understand that the companies coming to set-up plants in renewable energy space would also want to make to profits. Let them make it as it would help them to invest more in R&D and thus come out with lower initial costs options in future. We all need to work together for a better future.
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You can make a difference: Buy a solar energy appliance

Monday, July 13, 2009 0 comments

In the back-drop of current G-8 summit, many countries have realized that they need to curb the potential harm of "Global Warming" and that too, fast. I have been saying time and again that Gujarat is doing something and now yet again its been validated.

According to recent article in DNA, Gujarat is taking the front seat in doing something rather than just saying "blah blah" about green energy implementation and global warming. Taking note of this growing problem at the local, national and global levels, the government of Gujarat has taken initiatives to bring about a plausible solution to the menace.

Recently, Gujarat Ecology Commission held a solar training workshop discussing "Lack of demand for solar energy appliance."
"People's participation is essential if this programme is to be successful. Create a demand for solar appliances, and we will supply it to you," said SK Nanda, principal secretary of the department of forests and environment.

Forest minister Mangu Patel said that unless the loss is personal, people fail to react to the imminent problems. Manish Dhru of GSPC, who participated in the workshop said, "I was very keen on understanding the various uses of solar power."
Solar energy can also be used to meet our electricity requirements. Through Solar Photovoltaic (SPV) cells, solar radiation gets directly converted into DC electricity. This electricity can either be used as it is or can be stored in a battery.

Such products are available at a subsidised rate at the nearest Government Renewable Energy Center in each state. It just takes few minutes of your day to understand your product requirement and buying that product. It's a one time expense only. For e.g. you can buy a solar heater for heating purposes and solar cooker for cooking purposes. You can cook your dinner for sure if not lunch in solar cooker. And best is, it preserves all the nutritions in your food. 

So, "Go Solar, Go Healthy"!!!
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Gujaratis giving preference to Solar power alternatives

Monday, July 6, 2009 1 comments

Many things said and left undone by people living in India regarding the energy issue. I felt that "is the common man doing something about reducing their conventional energy consumption or just blabbering?" I am glad that I came across such an article where our very own Gujaratis are adopting to the solar energy for their daily uses. 
Gujaratis (residents of Gujarat) are using solar water heaters, solar cookers and now even solar panles to light up their houses at night. If this is promoted wisely, then we can have many more followers who would adopt to alternative and green power source.

Some of the most advanced solar appliances are becoming popular among educational institutes and corporate houses in Gujarat to generate thermal and electric energy form solar source. 
Company/ Insitute
Adoption of Green Source
School of Solar Energy, Gandhinagar
Currently undertaken research to reduce unit cost of photovoltaic cells
Solar street lights in Campus
Ganpat Vidhyanagar University
Solar street lights in Campus
Intas Biopharma
Borocell solar heating panel for their kitchen facilities
Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation
Solar powered street lights in AMC gardens

Quoting General Manager (projects- engineering) of Intas Biopharma, Satish Kolte, "Not only is solar energy an environment-friendly option, it also cuts on costs in the long run. We started with this solar prototype two months ago in our kitchen and so far, it has given good results. We will be using solar energy in all our upcoming plants. We believe industries can tap into this freely available large source of energy." 
Satish Deshpande, a solar power expert, has been using solar energy in his home since the last 12 years and now prefers to cook his lunch in his solar concentrator. Deshapande says, "It makes economic sense to embrace it." 
Akshat Khare, a young entrepreneur has started a solar-based lighting system to promote the use of solar energy. "We have installed solar streetlights at IIM-A, SEWA and at other organisations in city," he says. 
The above instances exemplify how Gujaratis are doing something "for the cause" rather than "blame the government" Kudos to those adopting to the solar energy!!!
Visit Geda and you will be surprised to see so many offers and subsidies are being offered by Gujarat government for Solar Energy Promotion and Adoption.

So when are you going green?
Jai Garvi Gujarat!

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Taiwanese researchers conclude that Solar Lanterns can “light up” Gujarat

Wednesday, July 1, 2009 0 comments

According to a recent study by two Taiwanese researchers in Gujarat, the use of solar lanterns can help rural households save upto Rs 12,000 in kerosene and electricity charges and improve living conditions. Thus the solar lanterns can help rural households in Gujarat and similarly other parts of India to cut on their fuel charges.

The Researchers

Professor Govindasamy Agoramoorthy from Tajen University and Dr Minna Hsu from the National Sun Yat-sen University in Taiwan studied the effects of 100 solar lanterns supplied by an NGO in 25 villages in Dahod district of Gujarat between January 2004 and December 2007.

The Methodology

Agoramoorthy and Hsu studied the effects of using solar lanterns on energy usage, household savings in terms of kerosene and electricity costs, as well as the family's quality of life.
The women in the households were interviewed a month before and again a month after the introduction of the solar lanterns.

The Study Conclusions

The study found that on an average each household saved between Rs 7,531 and Rs 12,556 annually on kerosene and electricity after the solar lanterns were introduced and households below the poverty line significantly cut down on their electricity use. (Source: PTI)

The researchers also found that solar lanterns particularly benefited school going children and women. The lanterns provided six hours of light which meant study hours increased improving children's performance at school. Women were also able to perform their routine household work both indoors and outdoors during power cuts.

The authors conclude that "the use of solar energy will contribute to India's future energy security, particularly in rural areas where the technology that converts sunlight directly into electricity offers a decentralized alternative to uncertain electricity supplies."

This is indeed good news for Gujarat solar energy development. If the Government starts giving solar lanterns at a highly subsidized rates, it would not only bring the much needed power in the interior part of state but also could be used as a good "pro-development government" promotion tool during state and national elections.

Hope the government and regulatory bodies are listening to this??
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