Govt to set up 60 more solar monitoring units

Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy will install 60 more solar radiation monitoring stations across the country.

Ahmedabad: Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy will install 60 more solar radiation monitoring stations across the country and also introduce a scheme to encourage people to generate power from rooftop installations, a top official said today.
The move is aimed at enabling states and developers of solar power projects take investment decisions based on scientific rationale.

"We have already set up 51 solar monitoring stations for assessment of solar power in the country, which we are going to expand...60 more such stations shall come, and very soon entire country would be covered," the ministry Joint Secretary Tarun Kapoor said while addressing the 11th Green Power conclave-2012 organised here by CII.

The stations have equipment to record all types of data on radiation, from sun, especially at sites that fall in zones receiving higher direct solar radiation in a view to generate investment-grade solar radiation data.

The ministry has assigned the task of solar radiation monitoring to C-WET, Chennai, as centralised data collection now being done there.

MNRE is also looking to give a subsidy push to the rooftop projects in renewables and is mulling a special scheme for the purpose.

"We are coming out with a separate scheme to give a push to rooftop. We want to open out this sector in such a manner that people can generate power from their roofs for themselves and put surplus power directly into the grid, without it being stored in batteries first," he said.

People should be able to generate power at the cost of Rs 8 to 9 per unit and with some subsidy it should come down to Rs 5 to 6 per unit and get stabilised over next 25 years, Kapoor said.

Rooftop has the potential to change the face of power generation in India, it is for the power distribution companies to understand its importance, he added.

A study undertaken by the ministry with industry experts shows that for next five years there will be no trouble in putting power directly into grid, Kapoor said.

In current Five-Year plan, the target for renewable energy in the country has been set at 30,000 MW, which require an estimated investment of Rs 2.5 lakh crore.

"Of this 30,000 MW, 15,000 MW is for wind, 10,000 MW for solar, 3,000 MW for hydro and balance for other resources like bio-mass etc," the official said.

About India`s power scenario, Kapoor said the country has over 2 lakh MW of installed capacity, besides 30,000 to 40,000 MW capacity of captive generation.

The renewable installed capacity is now 25,000 MW, which is 12 per cent of installed capacity and 5 per cent of the energy used, he said.

On National Solar Mission, Kapoor said that the target of 20,000 MW for the first phase ending March 2013 will be met and shall exceed both in terms of grid and off-grid.

In the second phase, the target is to achieve 10,000 MW by 2017. The Government of India (GoI) will come out with some schemes to procure around 3,000 MW, while approximately 6,000 MW is expected to come from various state government schemes, Kapoor said.