JNNSM Phase – II , Policy Document – Working Draft : Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission Towards Building Solar India

Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission is a major initiative of the Government of India with active participation from States to promote ecologically sustainable growth while addressing India’s energy security challenge. It plays a major role in India’s contribution to fight against the issues of climate change which is a big concern across the globe.

Important features of the Draft:

1) India is endowed with abundant solar energy, which is capable of producing 5,000 trillion kilowatts of clean energy. Country is blessed with around 300 sunny days in a year and solar insolation of 4-7 kWh per Sq. m per day. If this energy is harnessed efficiently, it can easily reduce our energy deficit scenario and that to with no carbon emission.

2) Costs: Solar power is still high on absolute costs compared to other conventional sources of power such as coal. The objective of the Solar Mission is to create conditions, through rapid scale – up of capacity and technological innovation to drive down costs towards grid parity.

3) Scalability: Off-grid decentralized and low-temperature applications will be advantageous from a rural electrification perspective and meeting other energy needs for power and heating and cooling in both rural and urban areas. The constraint on scalability will be the availability of space, since in all current applications, solar power is space intensive. In addition, without effective storage, solar power is characterized by a high degree of variability. In India, this would be particularly true in the monsoon season.

4) Environmental Impact: Solar energy is environmentally friendly as it has zero emissions while generating electricity or heat.

5) Security of Source: From energy security perspective, solar is the most secure of all sources, since it is abundantly available. Theoretically, a small fraction of the total incident solar energy (if captured effectively) can meet the entire country’s power requirements. It is also clear that given the large proportion of poor and energy un-served population in the country, every effort needs to be made to exploit the relatively abundant sources of energy available to the country.

6) Mission Objectives: The objective of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission is to establish India as a global leader in solar energy, by creating the policy conditions for its large scale diffusion across the country as quickly as possible. The Mission adopted a 3-phase approach, spanning the period of the 11th Plan and first year of the 12th Plan (up to 2012-13) as Phase 1, the remaining 4 years of the 12th Plan (2013-17) as Phase 2 and the 13th Plan (2017-22) as Phase 3. At the end of each plan, and mid-term during the 12th and 13th Plans, there will be an evaluation of progress, review of capacity and targets for subsequent phases, based on emerging cost and technology trends, both domestic and global. The aim would be to protect Government from subsidy exposure in case expected cost reduction does not materialize or is more rapid than expected.

7) Mission Targets on Capacity Addition: The mission National Solar mission under the brand name “Solar India” set an ambitious target of adding 20 GW of Grid connected and 2 GW of Off-grid capacity by 2022 in three phases.

8) Status & Achievements of Phase-I: Serious development in Indian solar industry came with the announcement of JNNSM in 2010. Before announcement of JNNSM, India’s solar power capacity was mare 17.8MW in early 2010. Phase 1 of the Mission was largely focused on grid-connected projects. To achieve 500 MW of PV and 500 MW of solar thermal, the central government conducted two batches of reverse auctions. These bidding processes offer feed-in tariffs and long-term PPAs to the selected least-cost developers. The feed-in tariffs to developers are complemented by support to power utilities through the bundling of solar power with conventionally produced electricity, reducing the average per-unit cost of solar power.

9) RPSSGP Scheme: MNRE announced the Guidelines for Rooftop and other Small Solar Power Plants connected to distribution network (Below 33 kV) in June 2010. This component of the Mission was designed essentially as a State driven scheme to encourage the States for grid connected projects focusing on distribution network and to strengthen the tail end of the grid. Under this scheme, the state utilities purchase power from any of the generation companies based on the tariff fixed/approved by the respective State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (SERCs). Another purpose of the scheme was to encourage as many States as possible to set up small solar grid connected projects.

10) Key Learning from Phase-I:
There is general consensus that Success story of Phase-I should be continued and strengthened. The lessons learnt from Phase-I of the Mission should be imbibed for further fine tuning the mission implementation. Key learning from Phase-I are as under:

a) Grid connected solar PV power is now fairly established in terms of availability of required expertise for designing, construction and site preparation etc.
b) Grid connected solar thermal power is still to prove its operational prowess as the Phase I projects would be commissioned by March 2013.
c) In general, experienced companies are more interested in large size projects. Price reduction is possible if the tender size is big.
d) Most of the projects so far have been coming up in few States, like, Rajasthan where high solar energy potential combined with cheap land and favorable State Government policies are in place. Other States need to follow and reap the benefits of solar power.
e) Transmission remains a major issue.
f) Some assurance regarding regular payments is very important particularly for banks / financial institutions, which have to finance these projects.
g) Generation from PV projects so far has been in accordance with the estimates, and higher in many cases.
h) Better system designing and construction is required to meet challenges of the local conditions.
i) Solar radiation data is an important issue, especially with regard to Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI) data. C-WET has brought out the data policy and data on various sites for the limited period can be obtained from C-WET.
j) Provision of requirement of domestic content for setting up solar power projects was kept in the guidelines for Phase-I with a view to develop indigenous capacities and generate employment. It was noted that the production capacities for solar PV cells and modules have expanded in the country.

10) Targets for Phase II of JNNSM: National Solar Mission envisages installation of around 10 GW utility scale and 1 GW off-grid solar power projects by the end Phase-II. Twelfth five year plan (2012-17) also targets capacity addition of 10 GW of grid connected solar power in India. It is envisaged that out of this 10 GW target, 4 GW would be developed under central scheme and 6 GW under various State specific schemes.

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