Last month, India saw the worst ever power blackout that hit the news worldwide, getting the country lot of criticism for its limited power generation capacity and creaky transmission. Many wrote that India’s mushrooming demand for power was the main reason for the blackout, which affected more than 600 million people in the country with an economic loss of millions across the globe. However, some people do believe India to be full of opportunities. In a recent article written by Katie Fehrenbacher on the website GigaOm.com, she points out various solar power projects that are already undergoing in India. These projects cover both rural villages as well as larger utility-scale programs. Here are the listed 10 Indian solar projects:
1). Solar-power microgrid service, Mera Gao Project:
Mera Gao Power project supplies power with its solar panels, cell phone charging service, and distribution lines. The project aims to bring light in life of people living in around 70 villages by the end of 2012. Founded by Jaisinghani and Brian Shaad, the project includes one microgrid system for $1,200 that can electrify about 50 households. This microgrid system includes two solar panels, two batteries, and four distribution lines. So far, the villagers have the system installed, and every household pays about 25 rupees per week for the service, which is cheaper for them as compared to the cost of kerosene for lanterns, which can be around 30 rupees per week.
2). One of India’s first megawatt-scale rooftop solar projects, Azure Power:
A startup run by entrepreneur Inderpreet Wadhwa, Azure Power is a developing project that works to install solar panels on dozens of rooftops. The project gets revenues from power sales with the building owners. Azure plans to install solar panels on over 60 rooftops by March 2013. Founded five years back, Azure is venture capital backed firm. It has engineers, who build and operate its own power projects and sell the electricity to utilities. Most of the 56 MW of solar projects built by Azure are ground-mounted. However, the firm also won a deal to build part of a huge rooftop system in the Gujarat state government.
3). 600 MW of solar in Gujarat:
Gujarat government in April approved the commissioning of 600 MW of solar energy projects over a year, with a 214 MW project from a solar park in the Patan district. There have been over 50 companies that have built solar power projects in Gujarat including SunEdison, Tata Power, Lanco Solar, Moser Baer, Adani Enterprises, and GMR Gujarat Solar Power.
4). 20 GW by 2022, the aspirational country goal:
The National Solar Mission in January 2010 set a goal of installing 20 GW of grid-connected solar and 2 GW of off-grid solar by 2022, which is enough to offer 3 percent of the country’s power using solar by 2022.
5). SunEdison experimenting with rural projects, too:
Project developer- SunEdison has brought 45 MW of solar projects in Gujarat online. This project will aim to build a business model for designing, installing, and managing solar systems for 29 villages in India’s Guna District. All 29 projects will be funded via a combination of government grants and private funds from other investors and corporations. SunEdison is also looking for ways to make solar panel projects work in rural villages.
6). Selling solar like cell phone service, ‘pay-as-you-go’:
Simpa Networks has made a home solar panel product for off-grid customers, which is controlled by a mobile, pay-as-you-go system. With this system, users will just have to pay for the electricity produced by the solar panel at their home, in addition to a small upfront payment for the system. The basic solar system is 25 watts to 50 watts, which can power a couple of CFL lights, a mobile phone charger, and maybe a fan or a TV cable box.
7). Solar teaming up with water use:
One of SunEdison’s solar projects is a 1 MW installation, situated over nearly half a mile of the Narmada Canal in the state of Gujarat. This project will produce electricity and conserve land and water. This facility will be used by the agricultural and water industries. Other companies such as Claro Energy plans to sell solar-powered irrigation pumps to Indian farmers.
8). Solar lanterns:
Established for just five years now, d.light provides light to around 7 million people using its solar-powered products in 40 countries. The company revealed sales growth between May 2011 and 2012 was to be 400 percent. Backed by Indian VC firm Nexus Venture Partners, Indian conglomerate the Mahindra Group, venture firm DFJ, and others, d.light focuses on India and countries in Africa.
9). Giant solar thermal projects:
Situated in Rajasthan, Areva Solar is working on to build a 250 MW solar thermal project. The project hopes to be complete by spring 2013. It will use mirrors to concentrate sunshine onto water filled tubes to produce steam, which will drive a turbine and make electricity.
10). Solar for cooking or heating:
Flareum sells solar concentrating systems that consumers can use for cooking, and for producing steam and heat for industrial applications. Siemens is using some of the solar systems at factories situated in Bangalore.