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Story of solar energy powered billboards in Gujarat

Monday, March 29, 2010 4 comments

After the conventional uses of solar energy, Gujarat government has taken a step forward with an initiative to power the billboards with solar power. This would obviously be a low compared to total energy consumption. But as one likely said, a drop each time fills up the ocean!

On the initiative, the government is likely to set-up a state-level steering committee to lay down guidelines with the help of Departments of Forest, Energy and Urban Development. It will be implemented in seven big cities namely, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot, Jamnagar, Junagadh and Bhavnagar. This has come up live in the moment of IPL which has gone into huge level of billboard advertising. With many such events coming up, the outdoor advertising has again come up in the limelight. Other reality-based shows/ events such as Indian Idol (Singing) and Dance India Dance (Dancing) have been the major driver of billboard advertising on a regular basis.

 
Let us analyze the technology costs and some benefits of solar power billboards.

Currently the solar powered billboards come with an ability to operate 4, 6, 8 or 10 hours a night based on the battery storage capability. The PV panels can illuminate from one/ two sides of a 30-feet wide billboard depending upon the requirements. The current price of a sample billboard is approximately INR 2, 10,000 for a 2 panel, 318 AHR battery back-up, two-side lighting, solar-powered billboard system.

Some of the benefits of a solar-powered bill-board system are:

·         do not need to run underground wire from the nearest electrical transformer to the billboard

·         do not need to pay the additional costs of digging trenches for underground wiring

·         allows the outdoor advertiser to provide consistent, affordable lighting to billboard locations without the need to negotiate with property owners to use their property for underground wiring and landscaping

·         no need to meter and bill the Billboard Lighting System.

In India, the outdoor advertising accounts for 7% (USD 245 million) of the total advertising industry USD 3.5 billion growing at a growth rate of 20%. The outdoor advertising industry is led by a few major players like Selvel Vantage, Madison Outdoor, Portland and Posterscope. This presents a huge market opportunity for solar powered billboards in the metros and tier-2 and tier-3 cities in India.
 
Next is what? Solar powered buses and AC bus-stops!!!
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The story of Azure Power investing in Solar Energy in Gujarat and Solar-as-a-service

Monday, March 22, 2010 3 comments

The story of investments in Gujarat solar energy continues with the newest companies Azure Power planning investments in tune of INR 255 crore in Gujarat. The company has proposed 15 MW (cost of 1 MW is expected to be INR 17 crore). The site location is Dahegam near Gandhinagar. The company has also identified 75 acres of land near the site which would be sufficient for the solar power generation plant. The company is planning a stage-wise expansion in Gujarat with 50-60 MW of solar capacity in next three years.
Now something about the company. Azure Power is an independent solar power producer and is the first private sector company to implement a megawatt scale grid connected solar photo-voltaic power plant in India. It has already implemented a 2 MW plant in Punjab distributing solar energy to 20,000 people in 32 villages. It has already secured a USD 10 million (~INR 46 crore) investment from International Finance Corporation (IFC).
The important point as discussed previously is that many Indian companies are entering in the solar energy space in India esp. Gujarat. Most MNC companies are still in the planning stage while Indian companies are already in implementation stage. Also most of the smaller companies are targeting PV and thus small-scale projects. Also, the concept of Solar as a service is rising in India. Many industrial companies have to manage their own captive power plants. Companies such as Azure power are already tapping on this market with providing end-to-end solutions for such industrials. This can be a very important cue point for entrepreneurs/ companies planning to invest in solar energy in India.
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Story of Capacity allotment of solar power projects in Gujarat

Friday, March 19, 2010 6 comments

The official figures of the projects of solar energy in Gujarat are just released. The government of Gujarat has ousted it's own target! It has allotted 716 MW of Solar Power capacity to 34 national and international project developers against the 500 MW capacity declared earlier this year under its Solar Power Policy -2009.
Even though the number of companies in photovoltaic technology is higher (24) as compared to concentrated solar power (10), the capacity split is almost equal. This can be attributed to the large-scale requirement of CSP plants. Some of these projects were already discussed at Solarishi!
On analyzing, contrary to the perception, most of the companies which are allocated projects in Gujarat solar energy space are Indian companies while only one-fourth of them are multinational companies.

Most of the companies are establishing solar energy projects in the range of 10-20 MW. However, there are nine projects which will have capability in the range of 30 MW and above. This reflects the trend towards smaller projects in split geography. There are plans for larger projects such as the one planned by Clinton Foundation but that will take time.

Name of the PV Company
MW
Name of the CSP Company
MW
PLG Power Ltd., Nasik
40
Sun Borne Energy Technologies Gujarat L.
50
Lanco Solar P. Ltd. Hyderabad
35
NTPC, New Delhi
50
25
ACME Telepower Ltd.Gurgaon
46
Dreisatz GmbH, Germany
25
Adani Power Ltd., Ahmedabad
40
Mi GmbH, Germany
25
Electrotherm Ltd., Ahmedabad
40
Torrent Power Ltd., Ahmedabad
25
Abengoa Ltd., Spain
40
Solar Semiconductor P. Ltd. Hyderabad
20
Welspun Urja Ltd. Ahmedabad
40
Waree Energies Ltd. Surat
20
Cargo Motors, Delhi
25
AES Solar Energy P. Ltd,USA
15
IDFC, Delhi
10
Azure Power Ltd. USA
15
KG Design Services P. Ltd., Coimbtore
10
Moser Baer Ltd. NOIDA
15
Total of CSP Projects
351
Precious Energy Ltd. (Moser Bear) New Delhi
15


Solitaire Energies Ltd, (Moser Bear) New Delhi
15


Common Wealth Business Technologies, UK
10


Millenium Synergy Ltd., Bangalore
10


Sunkon Energy P. Ltd. Surat
10


10


Environmental Systems Pvt. Ltd. Mumbai
5


Euro Solar Ltd., Bhachau
5


JSW Energy, Mumbai
5


KRIBHCO, Surat
5


Tathith Energies USA
5


Top Sun Energy Ltd., Gandhinagar
5


Unity Power Ltd. (Videocon Group), Aurangabad
5


Total of PV Projects
365




Source: GEDA

Some of the key benefits through development of solar projects will be:
·         Investment of over INR 12000 Crores into Gujarat
·         1250 Million units of Green energy annually
·         Employment to over 5000 people
·         Avoiding use of 8.75 lac tones of coal and 12.50 lac tonnes of carbon dioxide emission annually
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The Story of Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission in a "Snap Shot"

Friday, March 12, 2010 4 comments

For a change, I wanted the picture to say the story.
 
My analysis of Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission for growth of solar energy in India in a snapshot! Literally!! 
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The story of Ambaji Temple (Gujarat), Solar Energy and exploring the market "within"

Monday, March 8, 2010 2 comments

All Indians are religious at some or the other level. Have you ever imagined how much energy is consumed at these pilgrimage sites? I am in the process of calculating the same through some model. But that will follow in subsequent entries.

We have already seen a world's largest solar cooking system being installed at Shirdi, Maharashtra. Solar lights are already put up in Somnath, Gujarat. The point was reiterated at a recent announcement by Ambaji Temple Trust in Gujarat. Ambaji Temple Trust is planning to go fully solar with all the electricity being produced from the solar sources. I was fortunate to visit there few months back. The lights at night use the power generated through solar generators. The striking thing over here is that few private solar energy players are helping the temple trust.

Now to bring the case in point, imagine the number of people coming to these sites everyday. Maybe 1000s. And on special occasions such as "full moon day"(Poonam) this rises to 10,000s. If we consider the people segmentation, then it consists from average income to Ultra High Net worth Individuals UHNIs. I don't want to play the name game, but religion is closely linked to money in India. (All in the good sense). We have some of the richest and biggest temples in India just by the sheer number of visitors per day. People in India are firm believers in atleast one "Deity" and do their pilgrimage visits atleast once in a year. Now, solar energy companies can target such temple trust for promoting their companies. There are multiple benefits attached:

·         Larger range of audience to showcase your products and services

·         Brand recognition

·         New project opportunity

·         Broadening your network

This strategy can be very important for international companies which are planning to enter or have already entered in India and especially Gujarat market. Some other temples are:

Temple

Avergage Number of Devotees per day

Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh

60,000

Golden Temple, Punjab

45,000

Shirdi, Maharashtra

20,000

You can include some more benefit points and names of temples through comments.

God Bless All!!!

(Image Courtesy: www.mustmast.com)

 

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The story of Indian Budget, Solar Energy and Google

Monday, March 1, 2010 3 comments

After mulling over past few days on what the budget may bring in for renewable energy, the government has announced an allocation of INR 10 billion towards the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission and the establishment of a Clean Energy Fund. It's an increase of INR 3.8 billion from the previous budget. I am sure this would encourage more companies setting up their offices in India. Government is also giving a boost to more public-private partnerships in the sector.

Also as very few might know that budget has also encouraged private solar companies by reducing customs duty on solar panels by 5 percent and exempting excise duty on solar photovoltaic panels. This is expected to reduce the roof-top solar panel installation by 15- 20 percent. Currently it cost around INR 1.2- 1.5 million for installation solar energy panel on a roof-top.

The budget also proposed a coal tax of USD 1 per metric ton on domestic and imported coal used for power generation. According to the sources, the tax could raise about USD 543 million which can again be used for investments in solar and other renewable energies.

In an international update of the industry, Google has claimed that it is working on a prototype of mirrors used in concentrated solar energy which can reduce the cost by 2-X. If that comes to commercial applicability then it would obviously make a huge impact on the solar energy market. The search-engine giant has lately been investing in solar energy and green business. It has already invested in two solar companies: eSolar and BrightSource.

What is to be noted over here is that this highly innovative company is focusing more on solar thermal energy. Can this be the answer to the long fought battle between PV and CSP? It's for you to answer.

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