Necessary documents and approvals required to construct and operate solar power plant in India

Question: What are the necessary documents and approvals required to construct and operate a large scale solar power plant in India?

Answer by Aditya Pulavarti:

In India, the energy production, generation and distribution lies in the hands of the government and it allows private parties to bid and win tenders to produce energy whenever the need arises.

Government bodies like the Solar Energy Corporation of India issue projects, for which they hold a bidding process called the Request for Selection (RFS).

The bids which are tendered need to have a detailed technical report on how the energy will be generated and connected to the grid, what the cost of operation would be and related information along with other requirements and eligibility criteria such as the company having a minimum specified net worth and to be incorporated in India under specified acts.

The bids are then evaluated on a Techno-Commercial and Financial basis and the selected bidders are given the permission to start the process of setting up the power plant.

This is usually the method of operation for setting up power plants in India but the terms and conditions might change from project to project depending on the need and scale of the particular projects.

As an example, you can look at this link for more information – Solar Power Plant Request for Selection Document


Myths & Misconceptions about Renewable Energy

Renewable energy sector is booming, and it is producing both, believers and doubters on its way to fame. While the ideas behind the new technology seem genuinely encouraging, people still want to make sure that they are not being just sold to another vision.

Due to the rising uncertainty, here are a few myths explained and busted, trying to take a stand on why Renewable energy is going to be the next big thing.

Please share, like, tweet, pin and press it as much as possible. This sector needs all the awareness and attention right now!


Myth 1: Renewable Energy cannot replace Fossil Fuels

Indeed, it’s one thing to supplement energy production with renewable sources, quite another to replace fossil fuels entirely.  In India, the present centralized model of power generation, transmission and distribution is growing more and more costly to maintain and, at the same time, restricts the flexibility required to meet growing energy demands.  India needs to encourage a decentralized business model in order to more readily take advantage of abundantly available renewable energy sources like solar, wind, hydropower, biomass, biogas, geothermal and hydrogen energy, and fuel cells.  India is blessed with an abundance of these resources, yet it spends millions of rupees to import oil, coal, and natural gas.

The Indian subcontinent is blessed with abundant renewable energy resources. Even if a tenth of its potential was utilized, it could mark the end of India’s power problems.  Using the country’s deserts and farm land, India could easily install around 1,000 GW of solar capacity — equivalent to around four times the current peak power demand. To move forward into this direction, India is already planning major solar power plant installations like the one at Neemuch and Rewa districts of Madhya Pradesh.

As for wind, according to the environmental group World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), while India has no estimates of its offshore wind potential, up to 170 GW could be installed by 2050 along the 7,500 km of coastline.  Hydropower could generate an estimated 148 GW, geothermal around 10.7 GW and tidal power about 15 GW.

Excess energy could be stored in various forms such as molten or liquid salt (a mixture of sodium nitrate and potassium nitrate); compressed air; pumped hydro; hydrogen, battery storage, etc.  This stored energy could then be used during times of peak demand.

But just as it would be unreasonable to think renewable sources could take the reins now, it’s equally unreasonable to think they can’t eventually facilitate an end to fossil fuel dependency. There’s only so much oil and coal in the Earth, after all, and global warming concerns only punctuate the need for a new direction.


Myth 2: Renewable Energy is too Expensive

Massive costs like costs of human health impacts, water pollution, climate change and carbon footprints are not taken into consideration in the prices which we pay for coal and other fossil fuels. At this moment, renewable energy is already cheaper than coal and nuclear power at every step. Also, add to this the fact that renewable energy sources like wind and solar do not really have any input cost either.

One of the major plus points about this revolution would be the generation of thousands of jobs across the world in this industry!


Myth 3: Renewable Energy is not going to be self-sufficient

PV power may not be in a position to solve all our energy problems right now, but its potential for the future is great. Remember, we’re talking about leaching energy from a titanic star — one that steers an entire system of planets, our atmosphere and life as we know it.

The key to getting a constant supply of electricity from renewable energy is to have a mix of sources: solar and wind power, natural gas, and anaerobic digestion plants. By having a mix of sources which are spread over a wide area, we ensure there will always be a supply of energy.

As the sun goes down, so wind production generally increases, and as the winds drop in one region they pick up in another. During peak times, biogas and natural gas can bolster our energy supply, and can also be used to meet sudden peaks in electricity demand.

India finds 5th place amongst the top ten wind producers

According to the Renewables 2014 Global Status Report, India has been placed fifth among the top ten wind power producers across the world. India was responsible for the addition of a capacity of 1,700 MW.

There was an addition in wind power of a capacity of around 35,000 MW in the entire world, including the 1,700 MW contributed by India. The total capacity has now risen to 3,18,000 MW.

China currently leads the pack with an addition of 16,100 MW capacity in 2013 followed by USA, Germany and Spain. In the section of annual investment in this sector, China again ranked first followed by India on the fourth place.

With an addition of almost 4,000 MW of renewable capacity in the year gone by, India projects to have an additional 25,000 MW capacity by the end of 2017 along with the current 30,000 MW.

The report also stated that given the sharp fall in the levelised costs of solar photo-voltaic and electricity generation from onshore wind, there has been a steady increase in multiple privately funded wind and solar power projects being set up. The wind energy sector is yet pressurized by decline in key markets, high prices and increased competition, the report added.