Later this year, the IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C will be released and it is very likely to put great emphasis on the importance of carbon capture and storage (CCS) and the role that it needs to play in containing global emissions such that a net-zero emissions outcome can be achieved and within the time needed to limit average surface temperature warming to 1.5°C. This is not a surprise, given the similar story in the IPCC 5th Assessment Report in 2013 for a 2°C outcome. Yet despite the recognition of the role of CCS, the technology is not being deployed at the rate necessary to make a difference, not just to emissions, but also to the cost of the technology itself which will almost certainly fall as experience is gained, supporting infrastructure is built and innovation kicks in.

The Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute (GCCSI) track CCS development and they note that only 17 CCS Facilities (>400kt CO2 per annum each) with a total capture capacity of approximately 30 MtpaCO2 are operating today. Just five new facilities are under construction.

CCS Operating and Under Construction GCCSI
Source: GCCSI

Recently in The Guardian (Australian edition), an article appeared under the title “It’d be wonderful if the claims made about carbon capture were true”, which turned out to be more a critique of the coal industry than a deep criticism of CCS technology, but titles of that type don’t help the technology gain a true foothold. In a roundabout way, the author also reaches the conclusion that CCS is necessary, but deployment is far too slow.

Technology isn’t the issue holding up the deployment rate; that works just fine. CCS brings together a number of different technologies and processes that have been available in the oil and gas industry for decades and re-purposes them for CO2 capture and storage. Rather, the issue is the economics of doing this; unless there is a clear financial benefit for doing this, it won’t happen. To date that benefit has largely come through enhanced oil recovery (EOR), hence the number of blue coloured projects on the chart. But in a few cases, the benefit has come, at least in part, from a government implemented carbon pricing mechanism.

But a CCS white knight has now appeared on the horizon and it is potentially a game changer. The U.S. Congress has considerably expanded what was a modest and limited tax credit for CCS, into something meaningful that ought to accelerate deployment of the technology. On 9th February, Congress passed and the President signed into law a budget agreement that included language to expand a 2009 tax credit for CO2 capture and storage known as 45Q. The key provisions are that for stored CO2, the tax credit rises to $50 per tonne in 2027, while for use (EOR as well as other uses) the equivalent value is $35. The amounts will be adjusted for inflation after 2026. The credit goes to the facility that captures the CO2 and is available for the first 12 years of operation. There is no cap on the arrangement for the tax credit for CCS facilities put into service after 2018 and for which construction has started before 2024 and eligibility is on a performance basis. In order for the capturing facility to receive the credit, certain monitoring and reporting rules apply to the use and storage of the CO2. Under the previous arrangements for 45Q, the tax credit expired after a total 75 million tonnes of CO2 were stored or used for EOR. The 2009 tax credit was $20 for storage and $10 for use. Besides increasing the amount of the credit and certainty regarding its availability, Congress also made the credit available for air capture and storage of CO2, a nascent technology (just the capture part) that may become a key tool for drawing down CO2 from the atmosphere later in the century.

As a result, the USA now has a $50 per tonne carbon pricing mechanism aimed directly at CCS and even more if removal of CO2 from the atmosphere is involved. While $50 per tonne of CO2 isn’t sufficient for every type of CCS project today, this amount could well be enough to unlock a wave of innovative projects, leading to new infrastructure, storage sites and technology improvements, giving birth to a real industry. Politics aside, this contribution from the United States could be the single most important step that any country takes in helping society reach the goal of the Paris Agreement.

The Indian solar growth is not confined to only utility scale development and installations. The Rooftop Solar Sector is also showing incredible growth in the recent years. The Rooftop sector in India has been adding from 72 MW to 227 MW capacity per year since 2013. In 2016, this sector surpassed the 1 GW mark showing 113% growth over 2015. In 2017, India added nearly 863.92 MW of rooftop solar capacity, standing at ~2.1 GW capacity. The current growth rate is estimated to lead the Indian rooftop solar sector to become a 3 GW per annum market by 2020.

Tamil Nadu (163), Maharashtra (137), Rajasthan (88), Gujarat (87), and Karnataka (83) MW, have the highest installed rooftop solar capacity in the country. In 2017, the Government of India took initiatives to focus on residential rooftop solar growth.

Even today, there are still nearly 200 million people in India who live without access or consistent flow of electricity. In such a scenario, focusing on rooftop solar sector is a decisive move. It will involve the common man in the process thus raising awareness and allowing green energy generation to reach the furthest corners of the country (without the burden of increasing fossil fuel prices). In investing and spreading rooftop solar in India, State Bank of India is showing an incredible upward trajectory.

Progressive Moves of State Bank of India

State Bank of India has taken initiatives to claim a prominent financing position in the growing solar sector. Witnessing Government of India’s intent of solarizing the country (40 GW rooftop solar target) and shifting focus on rooftop solar, this Government owned banking institution has made efforts to support the country’s solar mission and vision.

In June 2017, State Bank of India introduced its plans to fund 100 MW of solar rooftop plants, taking a credit line from World Bank (to use a part of $625 million). Nearly two years ago, State Bank of India committed to provide $11.7 billion for renewable energy growth, which was increased later to $12.7 billion.

In early 2016, State Bank of India played a major role (with other institutions such as- Punjab National Bank, World Bank, and Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency) in making $1.5 billion of funds available for rooftop grid connected solar development.

State Bank of India has also focused towards offering green bonds and supporting energy storage applications to facilitate long-term green energy growth. Solarisation of SBI branches (100 Kw solar plant installed at SBI HO in Patna, Bihar) also showcases this institution’s efforts at supporting green energy growth.

SBI is Becoming Environmentally Responsible

And so should be the focus of private and Government entities in India. The way State Bank of India is working towards reducing its carbon footprint (SBI is set to install 20 megawatts of rooftop solar systems in their own building) should serve as a guideline for other private and Government entities in India, to support the country’s energy shift. SBI’s annual energy consumption bill was 9.24 billion rupees in 2016-17, and it is considered to go down in the coming years. If entities try to solarize their own buildings across the country (through rooftop solar), they can avail the same benefit with ease.

With rising solar demand globally, the cost of solar panels and energy tariff have significantly dropped. Now is the time for the Indian corporations and Government units to join hands and become a driving force behind India’s green energy revolution, which is dependent on solar energy access and acceptability. In this path, SBI’s aggressive solar pursuit can serve as a guideline for other companies.

Please follow and like us on social media:

Just like the Indian government when it comes to solar, Enphase doesn’t commit to anything half-hearted.

Enphase and India – setting the pace

As of January 31, 2018, India’s accumulated solar installations  reached 20 GW of total capacity - from a mere 2.6 GW in 2014 – 4 years ahead of schedule. Absolutely incredible. Even better, the average current price of solar electricity is now 18% below the average price of its coal-fired counterpart[1] and capacity is set to double to 40 GW by 2022.

Similarly, at Enphase in India: Within less than one year, we set up an office, recruited some of the most capable talents and signed contracts with distribution partners such as Sun-AP Ecopower, Redington and Waaree. To mark these milestones, we invited key stakeholders to the official launch of our Engineering and Business Operations Center in Bangalore. Soon to be our second largest office outside headquarters, this Center of Excellence will be the home to software and hardware engineers, supply chain, strategic sourcing, product management, and customer service staff. These groups will meet the needs of Enphase’s customers both locally and worldwide.

The launch – our commitment to and mission for India

On February 14th, about 50 guests and Enphase employees marked this special occasion with a ribbon cutting and traditional candle ceremony. Excitement and enthusiasm were in the air and felt by all. Representatives from Sun-AP Ecopower, EcoSoch, Cares Renewables, GenSol, and PlaySolar – just to name a few – were thoroughly surprised and impressed by the sheer scale of the operations we have planned for India. It is without a doubt  we are committed to this market. True to our mission – To deliver technology solutions that make clean energy affordable, reliable and accessible to all – we are just at the very beginning of our journey to electrify India one Enphase microinverter at a time.

Not just business – but a family affair

As most of you know, one of our co-founders – Raghu Belur – is originally from India. Now, he is one of the Silicon Valley’s success stories. Yet, when he came to California from India over 20 years ago, no one knew that he would one day be the visionary and driving force behind Enphase, the world’s largest microinverter manufacturer. It therefore makes it even more special that Raghu’s parents attended the India office launch, celebrating the ever-expanding footprint Enphase has created around the world.

Limiting global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius is a necessity now, as the alternative seems to introduce world dismantling consequences. The Paris Agreement has opened up a platform that showcases the benefit of collaboration in stopping climate change. If we are to assess, we would see that stopping climate change has inter-linked challenges. To clarify, although there are many countries, states, and cities, we all share a single planet. Therefore, it is impossible for a single country to achieve its climate improving targets without getting support from its neighbouring countries.

Collaboration is the only way to see positive changes in restoring our atmosphere and build a sustainable environment. Let us point out how global partnership is important and how it can help.

Why Partnering Is Important?

By focusing on renewable energy (especially solar), countries is trying to drastically transform their energy scenario which is the primary reason behind increasing CO2 emission. Global energy supply through fossil fuels have reached from 6,100 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) in 1977 to 13,700 Mtoe by 2014. And global energy related CO2 emissions are estimated to increase at an average of 1.0% from 2012 to 2040. From coal combustion alone, Asia’s CO2 emission is estimated to rise more than 2.2 billion metric tons in the future.

When issues are beyond boundaries of state or country, the remedy should also be of equal magnitude, otherwise all initiatives would be lost to the rising CO2 levels. Only green energy revolution offers a reprieve from climate issues. But, energy revolution cannot prevent worldwide climate issues unless countries collaborate and come to mutual understanding through agreements.

What Global Partnership in Climate Improvement Brings?

Financial support- Developed and developing countries joining hands to fight hazardous climate change can create a platform to get financial help from. Developing countries would need financial backing to take on green energy initiatives like energy infrastructure development, skill development, RE plant installation, spreading awareness etc. And partnering the effort with developed countries would serve as a great help for them to quickly re-shape their energy scene for good.

Collective Information Base

Solar dominant countries have already made strides in the sector and amassed great amount of information on how to initiate and manage renewable energy (especially solar based) projects or initiatives. Being in a climate improvement collective, the countries without discernible knowledge base can plan their renewable energy growth, reducing the chances of mistake.

Technology Growth

Partnering the initiative would also afford the countries to facilitate technology growth by sharing knowledge and information with each other. By quickly reaching latest technology to the furthest corners of the world, the initiative will create the urge or innovation, thus increasing the chance of faster renewable energy technology evolution.

Access to New Markets

Countries working together would also get a boost in demand creation by finding not just developed countries, but markets in the developing countries as well. This will create jobs, urge in skill development, start a competition between solar manufacturing giants to increase manufacturing capacity, sell quality products at much lower rate, thus making solar cheaper than fossil fuel.

Banding to fight the climate change is not a choice anymore it is a necessity. And delaying to make a collaborative effort in stopping climate issues by focusing on green energy growth could bring irreversible changes in the world we all share.

So, the path is clear, the results are easy to predict and all that it left is takin the step forward.

Please follow and like us on social media:


SolarQuarter Tweets

Follow Us For Latest Tweets

Saturday, 24 February 2018 06:57
SolarQuarter SolarQuarter_In Conversation with Mr. @Gaurav Sood, CEO, SPRNG Energy Pvt Ltd
Friday, 23 February 2018 10:13
SolarQuarter Rush To Grab Your Seats In SolarRoofs Mumbai, 23 Feb 2018_Limited Seats Now Available -
Wednesday, 21 February 2018 19:13