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Why decentralized SPV Power Plants??

Rajeev Gyani, Executive Engineer, Chhattisgarh State Renewable Energy Development Agency (CREDA), Raipur (CG) The Sun God (Shri Surya) starts His journey @ 6000 degrees centigrade. By the time it reaches Earth Goddess (Mother Earth) area, around 5930 degrees centigrade is absorbed by another Goddess. Then the Mother Earth absorbs the additional heat to the extent that can protect Her children and the Flora and Fauna. But due to requirement of seasons, the heat is adjusted higher and lower by the Mother Earth. The whole process is just taken place in fractions which neither human eye nor his brain could imagine. There is beautiful quote so far as the present scenario of Solar Technology is considered: Whatever we know is just handful but what we do not know is ocean full. Energy is an unseen power. Energy is that vital force with which our earth is rotating & revolving around the sun. The source of power on the earth is SUN. Whatever is in nature is from SUN. Water, plants, air, coal, petroleum, fire & all living organism is due to the vital energy of SUN. But this vital power is utilized in various indirect forms. SUN has many subtle chemical, physical & spiritual ways of routing power. As the time advanced & technological up-gradations manifested on earth, direct conversion & routing of energy from SUN started. Degree of density of the energy enhanced from scarce to thick & is advancing to thicker and thicker. Now the time has come to utilize the SUN power in such a manner that it becomes part & parcel of the life style of present society of human beings. Utilizing SUN power for power generation is possible through Solar Photovoltaic (SPV) technology; the quickest technology of energy conversion from SUN to electricity. This SPV technology can further be used for centralized power generation or decentralized power generations. The Government has promoted the use of decentralized applications through financial incentives and promotional schemes. The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) has set a target of 4000 MW by 2017 through Grid Solar Power including roof top solar systems, which may appear small, but its reach will add up in bringing changes in millions of households. This target includes installation of Centralized & Decentralized Solar Power Plants. The feed in tariff rates to be announced by the appropriate regulatory commission is also expected to be enthusiastic. At present Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has announced generation based incentive of Rs.18.44 per KWh (applicable for FY 2009-10) for grid connected SPV Power Plant & Rs.13.45 per KWh for Solar Thermal Power Plant under JNNSM, to be valid for the period of 25 years. The strategy will be to learn from existing schemes and innovate to improve effectiveness. Decentralized power generation is more powerful way of optimum utilization of SUN power. Till date the mandate of government was utilization of SPV technology for remote areas like space or deep forest, where conventional power availability was not possible or not worthy. But due to climate change impact the mindset of the society changed very fast & the SPV technology enter the areas where conventional power is available. The idea was to restrict carbon emission & provide solution to energy security. Under the flagship of JNNSM, the investors are at present more interested in centralized power generation as it is more a discipline way of controlled investment. But if the following factors are considered & understood, the overall scene of investments & fast cash movement may change the situation: Requirement of roof tops instead of costlier land in a single stretch: Land availability is not impossible for SPV Power Plant installation of Megawatt size but no doubt
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the process is cost consuming, lengthy & tedious. Land availability with respect to ease of power evacuation is also one major task of the centralized power plant. The decentralized SPV Power Plants can be installed on the suitable rooftops thus saving the precious land. Normally roof tops of most of the buildings are left out without any productive outputs. The JNNSM document states that The Mission will encourage rooftop solar PV and other small solar power plants (Decentralized Solar Power Plants), connected to LT/11 KV grid, to replace conventional power and diesel-based generators. A mechanism for forwarding the generation based incentive for such projects is yet to take shape (probably through MNRE) but CERC has already notified the generic levelised generation tariff through suo motu petition dated 3 rd Dec2009. Without owning the land the decentralized SPV Power plants can be installed. Many a times procurement of land takes much more time then estimated time schedule due to many unforeseen reasons. While in case of decentralized Solar Power Plants the time required to complete the process of rooftops availability shall be much less. Environmentally the land can be used for other useful productive uses.

Rooftop SPV System Sun the source of Energy

Low investment projects with return on investment faster than centralized power generation: If we consider the National Solar Mission document the project of decentralized solar power plants shall be the combination of bundling of various SPV Power Plants installed at various locations, hence the project cost may be comparatively low & probably in different phases if compared with what shall be required in case of centralized power plant. Mostly the decentralized Solar Power Plants shall be installed in the areas where the power distribution lines are already installed which can become the part of the project there by saving the evacuation line cost. Since the project shall be installed mostly in urban area thus the logistics, labour & handling charges shall also be comparatively less. More over the project operator will get the rooftops of the beneficiaries, which shall be ready to use for installation. Operator can adopt various techniques to install the system in a fast & economically manner. Though, the guidelines to be issued under JNNSM may clear the situation more specifically. Minimum T&D losses hence more viable project: The T&D losses in the case of decentralized SPV Power Plants shall reduce to a great extend, as the power shall be pumped to the feeder at the stage where it can be used then & there itself. Solar System shall be retrofitted with established T&D system. Normally T&D losses account to the
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extent of 40-50%, from generation to usage point. If we consider the T&D loss saving then the capacity of the installed Decentralized SPV Power Plant should be assumed as 1.5 times the installed capacity of conventional Power Plant at generation site. In case of Decentralized Solar Power Plants the O&M can be outsourced at the cost of beneficiaries (owner of roof tops). Grid non-availability would not make difference in the profitability of investors: Grid availability is major factor which effects the total generation of power in any SPV Power Plant which is grid connected or grid interactive. When there is no grid no pumping of power from Solar Power Plant can be done to the grid of Utility. While in case of decentralized SPV Power Plants if the grid failure occurs then the solar power generated can have options for self utilization by the beneficiaries directly or storage of power in battery banks, there by safe guarding the utilization of the power generation by SPV Power Plants. Decentralized power generation t h r o u g h solar power packs can have many permutation & combinations with regard to customers demand: There are many Solar Photo Voltaic (SPV) companies in India but most of them do not have customized solution for the customers to cater them their power requirement. Most of them are SPV module manufacturers. But customers in the market do not want simply SPV modules. Rather they are searching for the best possible solar options available in market to cater the need of their load. The definition of load (Power requirement) cannot be framed in particular, in case of decentralized SPV Power Plants. So the question arises that how the project should be implemented. If the load demand of the customer is kept in mind then solution may be little difficult. The reason being that if the demand is considered then the cost of the Solar Systems goes high & if the amount that the customer can bear is kept in mind then the solution seem difficult. But if we look the project with following two issues, we may move towards solution: (i) What should be the optimum cost of SPV power Plants which a customer can bear? (ii) How can be the SPV power Plant installed in the retrofitting manner, whatever may be the load demand of the customer? In Chhattisgarh State few such experiments were done in the year 2007-08. Under the guidance of Chhattisgarh State Renewable Energy Development Agency (CREDA) few designs of Solar Generators were prepared. For example a 500 Wp Solar Generator can be considered. As per the designed system, the estimated cost of the Solar Generator of 500 watt (Capacity of SPV Modules) was in the range of Rs.1.50 lacs to Rs.1.80 lacs (in 2007-08). The designed Solar Generator had special feature as following: (i) Solar Generator shall comprise of following parts: (a) Solar Modules with minimum capacity of 500 Watt peak with system installation at 24V. (b) Power Conditioning Unit (PCU) (which is basically a Charge Controller cum Inverter) of minimum 1KVA at 24V capacity should be used. (c) Battery Bank of around 180Ah at 24V capacity should be used. The purpose of using battery is to maintain the constant voltage supply. Capacity of battery bank should be such that it can cater the power to the dedicatedly connected load for at least 3-4 hours during non sunny hours, in case of grid failure. (d) During day time Charging of battery bank shall be mandatory through Solar Modules. But in case the available solar insolation is very less & simultaneously the battery bank is discharged to great extent than the charging of battery through grid shall be
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permitted by PCU. As soon as the available insolation from SUN reduces in the evening, the output power through PCU will shift to grid. Next day morning again the charging from Sun will start in the similar manner & the process shall repeat every day. It means that during day time, the dedicated load (calculated with reference to the capacity of Solar Generator) will be catered by Solar Generator & the input power to the same dedicated load shall switch over to grid during non sunny hours. It means that the Solar Generator shall cater the power requirement of dedicated load during day time to minimize the capacity of battery bank, thereby reducing the cost of the Solar Generator. (e) Normally in an average Indian urban household the power requirement during day time is about 3-4 unit (excluding the load of Air Conditioner). The dedicated load to be connected to the Solar Generator should be preferably energy efficient. Additional advantages of Solar Generators can be categorized as:
(i) Power availability of 24 Hrs (Energy Security). (ii) Customer can be owner of power generation plant. (iii) 100% clean power (iv) Zero carbon emission power generation. (v) Recurring cost almost nil. (vi) Warranty period of at least 2 years can make the Solar Generator more faithful. (vii) Service net work can be available in nearby vicinity. (viii) E-monitoring of the installed system is possible (Optional).

Solar Generator shall be grid connected (not grid interactive). It means that, whenever required, power from grid can be used by the Power Conditioning Unit (which is basically a Charge Controller cum Inverter) for direct supply or for charging of battery bank, in acute conditions. While whenever the excess power is available it can be fed to the grid. The basic theme of the project was Energy Security, where the customers need of power was assured for 24 hours. The experience of CREDA was very encouraging, which proves that the decentralized Solar Power Plant project is very much viable, technically as well as commercially. Cost reduction of the solar power plants shall always be on going feature: The experience of the programme will surely bring innovational changes in the design & features of the Solar System with respect to better available technology & also with view to reduce the cost of the Solar System. It will happen basically because if we see the components of the system then 50% part is related to renewable energy technology & balance 50% is the conventional section, which requires serious thought by the operators, for innovation, as many options are already available in market for optimization. The only action required is integrating it with solar system. Thus the cost reduction will happen. Awareness about how to use solar technology will be very fast due to which the solar business will get achievable feedback from the customers, to enhance subtleness of technology & its linkages with other form of already available technologies: As mentioned in the above point that technology of solar generator is still in its childhood stage hence the probability of improvement, innovation, optimization & expansion is open to sky. Over & above when the government intentions are strong for up liftment of such technology then investors & technocrats will also participate in the event with full enthusiasm & dedication. If we observe the overall scene of the decentralized SPV Power Plants project, we can feel the hidden
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(ii)

feature of very strong media for penetrating in the society for creating awareness & implementing the solar project. One more major aspect that will play its role in parallel is the inclination of people towards adaptation of energy efficient electrical luminaries & equipment. The more energy efficient electrical equipments the customers will use the more loads they can connect to the decentralized solar power plants. The community shall directly be benefitted by Solar Energy & surely learn all the details about the usage of the Solar Technology base Systems.

SOME EXAMPLES OF ROOF TOP SOLAR POWER PLANTS If Indian Solar Companies bring into their vision that they should provide solar solutions to the customers rather than branded solar products, there is no doubt that the scene of solar market will wonderfully create huge smart solar society through out the country. The present Indian urban society is ready to welcome the market of customization of solar power plants & ready to serve solar solutions as per the customers demand through decentralized solar power plants. The solar market of decentralized power plants is awaiting the following key issues: Regulatory Framework, to be announced by JNNSM / MNRE, GOI. Free available, shadow free roof-top area in line with the desired installed capacity. Solar Solutions availability in the market. Availability of Trained PV Installers.
Options are in hundreds but we need to renew our selves first, with reference to the present situation arise after the constitution of JNNSM & then try to renew the solar world of the mankind. The change in the national interest is not the responsibility of any one section, but it is only possible with collective dedicated efforts of Technocrats, Solar Companies, PV Installers, Financial Institutions / Investors, Government support & State Nodal Agencies of MNRE under the flagship of JNNSM. Capacity building of all possible stakeholders of this technology, particularly weaker one, is required. If the electricity is consumed in decentralized manner & if it is possible also to

generate electricity in decentralized manner through SPV Power Plants then why we should even think of generating it in centralized way. Decentralized SPV Power Plants can be the most appropriate example of
bringing the green revolution in the country. The Solar decade has started with at its positive forces. It is now our duty to match our frequency with its frequency to create miracles on Mother Earth. (MNRE Ministry of New & Renewable Energy, Government of India)

Why Decentralized SPV Power Plants?

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