This page outlines all the available funding and incentive schemes for solar energy in the state of Gujarat in India, both at the Federal and State level. If you notice anything that is incorrect or out of date, please let us know via our contact page.

Gujarat is the fourth leading Indian state in terms of installed solar power capacity, with 1,160 MW as of January 1, 2017, according to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). Overall the state has seen a huge amount of large-scale solar power plants installed in recent years, and it’s only set to increase its embrace of a cleaner, fairer future.

Federal incentives for solar energy in India

Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission

The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has the ambitious goal of reaching 100 GW of grid-connected solar power by 2022, and making India a global leader in the development of solar energy. Currently India is on track to reach this goal, and a recent poll we conducted via Twitter showed that half of respondents thought that India would surpass this and install “much more than 100 GW” by 2022, proving that optimism abounds on this question.

The JNNSM is geared toward large-scale solar installations and not small-scale residential plants. It is rolled out in phases and batches, each of which consists of a reverse bidding auction. This means that bidders bid the price per kilowatt hour at which they would be willing to sell the electricity. The most recent auction, Phase II Batch I of the JNNSM, saw 505 MW of solar projects receive approval.

State incentives for solar energy in Gujarat

The state of Gujarat has strong policies in favour of stimulating solar energy in the region. What follows are the various policies, incentives, and financial rules Gujarat has enacted to stimulate growth in the solar energy sector in the state. For the 2016-2017 period, Gujarat has set a renewable purchase obligation (RPO) of 1.75%, according to p. 19 of the Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission (GERC) Discussion Paper 2016.

Solar feed-in tariff in Gujarat

The state of Gujarat differentiates between two types of solar systems: “kilowatt-scale” power plants (1 kW – 1 MW); and “megawatt-scale” power plants (1 MW and above). Energy produced by a solar plant will be purchased by the relevant distribution company (discom) at the following levelized tariffs from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, according to p. 31 of the Determination of Tariff for Procurement of Power by Distribution Licensees and Others from Solar Energy Projects for the State of Gujarat:

Megawatt-scale Without accelerated depreciation benefit ₹5.86
With accelerated depreciation benefit ₹5.34
Kilowatt-scale Without accelerated depreciation benefit ₹7.28
With accelerated depreciation benefit ₹6.61

This was based on the following assumed tariff parameters:

Plant cost
Capital cost (megawatt-scale) ₹615 lakhs per MW
Capital cost (kilowatt-scale) ₹0.8 lakhs per kW
O&M cost (megawatt-scale) ₹10.9 lakhs per MW per year
O&M cost (kilowatt-scale) ₹0.01 lakhs per kW per year
Escalation of O&M cost 5.72% per year
Performance parameters
Capacity utilisation factor (CUF) 19%
Performance degradation 1% per year
Auxiliary consumption (megawatt-scale) 0.25% of energy generation
Auxiliary consumption (kilowatt-scale) 0% of energy generation
Useful life 25 years
Financial parameters
Debt-to-equity ratio 70% debt; 30% equity
Loan tenure 10 years
Interest rate on loan 12.7% per year
Insurance cost 0.35% per year
Interest on working capital 11.85% per year
Working capital 1 month’s O&M expense + 1 month’s energy charges at normative CUF
Rate of depreciation 6% per year for the first 10 years and 2% per year for the next 15 years
Minimum alternate tax rate 20.008% per year for the first 10 years
Corporate tax rate 32.445% per year from the 11th year to the 25th year
Return on equity 14% per year
Discount rate 10.647% per year

Gujarat subsidy for rooftop solar

The State of Gujarat also offers a subsidy of ₹10,000 per kW of installed capacity up to a maximum of ₹20,000 per customer. It is paid by the Gujarat Energy Development Agency (GEDA) subsequent to installation and commissioning of a rooftop solar system.

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July 5, 2017

Photo of PV panels under a bright blue sky.

A PV array on the top of the Energy Systems Integration Facility sends the power directly to its Systems Performance Laboratory and can be used in research specific to household performance, integration, and efficiency. Photo by Dennis Schroeder

May 3, 1978, fell on a Wednesday, but it was Sun Day as well. President Jimmy Carter, who had designated the date to highlight the potential of solar energy, spent part of the afternoon visiting an office park in Golden, Colorado. It was there, 10 months earlier, that the Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI) opened.

The oil embargo of 1973 was one impetus for the United States to consider establishing a laboratory to explore non-petroleum energy options. Plans ensued that eventually led to SERI's inauguration on July 5, 1977. Scientists with expertise ranging across the disciplines of materials science, depositional techniques, measurements and characterization, and engineering were brought together, in a large part, to advance fundamental understanding of solar energy and to support an embryonic photovoltaics (PV) industry. Their job was to ultimately develop new solar technology and to chart a path toward its commercialization for homes and businesses. If the work was successful, solar energy would become plentiful and cheap.

"We must begin the long, slow job of winning back our economic independence," Carter said that afternoon. "Nobody can embargo sunlight. No cartel controls the sun. Its energy will not run out."

SERI began with rented office and laboratory space for 40 employees whose role was largely ignored by industry and academia, recalled senior research fellow emeritus Art Nozik, who joined the laboratory in 1978 as a senior scientist. "In the beginning, there were very few universities interested in solar energy because it was considered to be like a hippie thing," he said. "It wasn't taken seriously."

Despite this, SERI grew to become a 300-acre research center now known as the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). One of 17 U.S. Department of Energy's national laboratories, NREL commands a unique role in that it focuses exclusively on bringing new advanced energy technologies to light. Since its inception 40 years ago, the laboratory has expanded its research capabilities with expertise in generating power from resources such as wind, water, and even algae.

40 Years Later, Here's What We've Done

Even before SERI, research to harness power from the sun had been going on for hundreds of years—but it wasn't until the past 40 years, with NREL's help, that solar technology started making significant strides. During this time, six NREL breakthroughs were particularly notable:

High-efficiency cells: Silicon solar cells were fairly new when NASA sent the Vanguard I satellite into orbit in 1958. But the cell used for that first solar-powered satellite could only capture and use about 9% of the sunlight that reached it, so the technology was too expensive and inefficient to spark much interest among homeowners and businesses back on Earth. SERI's mission was to do better—to find a way to bring costs down and efficiencies up.

A man and woman conduct an experiment.

NREL archive photo shows Jerry Olson and Sarah Kurtz. NREL's Jerry Olson found that gallium indium phosphide (GaInP)—promising for use in semiconductors but difficult to alloy with other materials—was compatible with gallium arsenide (GaAs), so he combined a layer of each to create a "tandem-junction" solar cell. Photo by Warren Gretz

In 1984, NREL's Jerry Olson found that gallium indium phosphide (GaInP)—promising for use in semiconductors but difficult to alloy with other materials—was compatible with gallium arsenide (GaAs), so he combined a layer of each to create a "tandem-junction" solar cell. The radical idea didn't immediately translate into higher efficiency, though—the first cells were less than 10% efficient. "The brilliance of his achievement was partly that he was willing to set that aside, even in the face of people telling him that his approach would never work," said Sarah Kurtz, who joined Olson's team in 1986 and is now co-director of the National Center for Photovoltaics at NREL.

Thin films: NREL scientists have been working with thin-film PV—cells that use much less active material than silicon wafer cells—from the very start of SERI. Researchers have studied various materials and devices, and the greatest commercial success to date has been the cadmium telluride (CdTe) module. NREL has contributed to its success along the way through award-winning depositional technology for these materials, and in revealing the fundamental physics underlying the PV process at work at the microscopic and atomic levels.

Tim Gessert, an NREL principal scientist who joined SERI in 1983, helped pioneer CdTe solar panels with industry. From 1999-2011, NREL held the world record for efficiency in CdTe solar cells and licensed the technology to companies. CdTE solar panels now have the second-highest market adoption after silicon, which remains the dominant technology in the solar industry, and the United States maintains undisputed leadership in this PV technology.

Greg Wilson, co-director of the National Center for Photovoltaics, said NREL decided 20 years ago to focus research efforts on thin films and high-concentration solar cells because of a belief that silicon solar cells "would never work on a big scale." The technology required producing a wafer of silicon, converting that wafer into a cell and then wiring that cell into a panel and hoping it would still be working decades later. "What happened is that it did work. It has worked. It was the lowest-risk way to proceed when the world started waking up to the potential of photovoltaics," Wilson said.

Then-President Carter looks around during a visit to SERI in May 1978.

This 1978 photos shows President Jimmy Carter paying a visit to the Solar Energy Research Institute (the organization that would later become NREL).

Reliability science: PV technology may be a scientific marvel. But if solar devices, from cells to modules to systems, couldn't withstand the rigors of normal operations and extreme weather, they would have remained a laboratory novelty rather than blossoming into today's multi-billion-dollar industry. Understanding the need for robust technology, NREL has developed indoor and outdoor testing facilities and procedures that put PV technologies through the paces, ensuring they have the necessary durability to operate reliably for 30 years or more. As new, lower-cost technologies are developed, it is essential to quickly identify whether these products will have adequate lifetimes. An analysis undertaken by Kurtz and others at NREL revealed that overall failure rates have decreased dramatically for solar panels installed within the past 15 years compared to installations prior to 2000, for which failure rates were twice as high.

"PV has become really complicated and so much of what NREL has accomplished goes beyond the PV materials and device work we have done," Wilson said. "It's arguably been in less-visible areas that we've had a really big impact on helping PV get much bigger. One example is in the area of reliability and the role we've played in establishing international standards. PV is now a big business. Key stakeholders are no longer researchers working to show that PV can have an impact, but rather financial institutions that want greater certainty that their PV investments will meet or exceed expectations."

Cell and device measurements: Another early NREL focus was to develop the techniques, equipment, and facilities to measure the properties of the PV devices that they, and others at universities and industry, were creating. They also needed to characterize the devices, determining their efficiency and performance within very strict tolerances. Known for its highly reliable, trusted, unbiased results, NREL measures, characterizes, and certifies many thousand samples—from our own laboratories and many others nationally and globally—each year.

Keith Emery, now retired from NREL, developed the equipment to test and verify solar cell efficiency. "When I first got here in 1980," he said, "the photovoltaics community did not have any domestic or international standards for efficiency measurements. NASA was, by definition, the source for record efficiencies. Whatever they said was the record."

NREL's cell efficiency chart, which is regularly updated, has become a staple of many conference presentations and provides a historical reference for tracking research progress. "You'll see the chart used in hundreds of presentations every year," Kurtz said.

Third-generation solar cells: Basic NREL research programs that started receiving funding in 1979 led to the creation of what's now known as third-generation solar cells—the first two generations being semiconductors and thin films, respectively. The latest generation has the potential to overcome the theoretical power conversion efficiency limit of 33% that applies to a single semiconductor solar cell. Nozik theorized early on that there must be a way to capture energy in sunlight that wasn't being used by conventional solar cells. He demonstrated that by capturing hot electrons, which contain high levels of kinetic energy, the theoretical efficiency limit could be pushed to 66%. "I think we were the only ones in the world working on this back in ‘78, ‘79, '80," Nozik said. "The idea caught on because it's very attractive to be able to double the efficiency."

Additional research sparked Nozik to discover that the extra energy in hot electrons, normally lost as heat, could be used to create extra electrons. This process, known as multiple exciton generation, pushes the limits of solar cell efficiency even further.

Photo of a man in a lab coat looking at vials.

NREL Post-Doctoral Researcher Jeffrey Christians works with perovskite quantum dot solutions at NREL. New materials and devices will eventually be needed, as well as roll-to-roll manufacturing techniques to allow a rapid scale-up of production capacity. NREL will continue to be heavily involved in the search for these solutions, including perovskite stability. Photo by Dennis Schroeder

Perovskites: The laboratory has only been involved in this emerging solar technology for about five years—but NREL scientists have become world-renowned for the quality and quantity of their perovskite research. Efficiencies continue to climb, from a starting point of less than 4% up to 22%—and perhaps more importantly, NREL is making progress in understanding the causes of perovskite stability issues and mitigating their impact. For example, industry will not accept a device with an excellent initial efficiency, only to see it degrade under humid conditions to drastically lower values. NREL is discovering new perovskite materials and device structures to overcome this potential weakness.

Perovskites, which can be applied to a flexible surface using special ink, hold the potential to have a per-watt cost that's competitive with what it takes to produce electricity from a silicon solar panel. "It has other advantages besides cheapness," said Jao van de Lagemaat, director of NREL's Chemistry and Nanoscience Center. "What you get is a solar cell that's very lightweight and potentially flexible, but still very efficient. There are other technologies that are lightweight and can be flexible, but they generally don't give you very high efficiency."

Work Continues on Future Technologies

Based on current industry growth (including the increase of solar-industry jobs to more than 300,000 in 2016), we can expect solar technologies will continue to mature—but NREL's work, while paramount to the success of this technology to date, is not yet completed. As the laboratory celebrates its 40th anniversary, we also look forward to the next four decades in which solar could become a ubiquitous commodity. Here are just a few examples of areas in which NREL is actively contributing to this future:

Confidence in the technology: NREL is a strong player in providing measurements, engineering solutions, and scientific understanding in the area of reliability for PV modules and systems, helping bolster consumer and investor confidence in solar technologies. The laboratory leads a new effort called the Durable Module Materials National Lab Consortium, or DuraMat, and NREL's Teresa Barnes serves as its director. The ultimate goal of DuraMat is the introduction of new, durable, high-performance, low-cost materials for use in solar modules.

Integration with the grid: PV sources are increasing their electricity contributions to the power grid, but some are concerned that the variable nature of solar energy could have negative impacts on grid reliability. To allay such concerns, NREL is leading detailed analytical modeling to determine optimized operational schemes that might be needed as PV penetration increases. Other work focuses on energy storage options and energy integration scenarios using NREL's unique Energy Systems Integration Facility, one of the only megawatt-scale research facilities in the United States that enables integration studies at full power and actual load levels in real-time simulation.

When Paul Denholm, a senior analyst and part of the Grid Systems Analysis group in NREL's Strategic Energy Analysis Center, joined the laboratory in 2004, he was tasked with projecting the potential growth of solar systems by homeowners and how that would affect the electrical grid. His initial studies were among the first to point out concepts that are now widely accepted, such as the need for grid flexibility. "Our approaches have, in many ways, become the gold standard for how to perform grid integration studies," Denholm said. "While terms like grid flexibility, curtailment, and minimum generation levels have always been part of the utility vernacular, NREL's work has helped make these terms mainstream."

Beyond silicon: Silicon solar cells are the dominant PV technology today, and they will continue to be the mainstay for the next decade. But new materials and devices will eventually be needed, as well as roll-to-roll manufacturing techniques to allow a rapid scale-up of production capacity. NREL will continue to be heavily involved in the search for these solutions, including perovskite stability.

Despite the potential of perovskite solar cells, there's no guarantee the technology will ever reach the market. So why spend time and money researching something without a clearly defined future? "That is the role of a national lab in situations where you have technologies with large potential but also technical and scientific barriers," van de Lagemaat said. "We believe we can play a role in solving them."

Learn more about NREL's solar energy research.

— Wayne Hicks and Don Gwinner

EU Sustainable Energy Week gathers leaders from across renewable energy landscape

Key players throughout Europe have emerged as leaders in the ongoing global energy transition. But the work to address the challenge of climate change and accelerate the use of renewable energy is not just being carried out by national governments, it is also by ordinary people, entrepreneurs, local authorities, businesses, NGOs and European institutions. One of those European institutions, the European Commission, recently convened the European Union Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) in Brussels, Belgium, where IRENA participated as a strategic partner throughout the event.

Launched in 2006 by the European Commission, the EUSEW is organised by the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in close cooperation with Directorate-General for Energy. Featuring 64 sessions and more than 50 networking activities, EUSEW is organised to spread awareness of how to use energy more sustainably, build a low-carbon economy based on renewables and develop a strong, united approach to sustainable energy use.

eusew-exhibitionPhotos from IRENA’s photo competition on display outside the European Commission in Brussels, during EU Sustainable Energy Week.

At this year’s EUSEW, IRENA had a significant presence, organising two policy sessions, engaging with conference delegates at the IRENA booth and participating in a high-profile exhibition, Visualizing Energy, where the Agency displayed the winners from its 5th Anniversary photo competition in an inter-active exhibition outside the European Commission.

Innovation in renewable energy policy and regulation

The deployment of renewable energy in the EU has been driven by policies that contribute to an enabling environment for attracting investments. As deployment has grown and technology matured, renewable energy policies have adapted to changing market conditions.

In IRENA’s session on Rethinking Energy: Innovation in Renewable Energy Policy and Regulation, participants shared experiences from the design and implementation of policy instruments to support deployment in EU countries, with a focus on innovative policy designs to address market-specific barriers. In particular, the session looked at the proliferation of renewable energy auctions and electricity market design in the European context.

Renewable energy auctions have been increasingly adopted globally, due to their ability to deploy renewable electricity in a well-planned, cost-efficient and transparent manner. The main strengths of auctions lie in their flexibility of design and potential for real price discovery.

Recent auctions have been resulting in competitive prices globally. The factors behind those prices were analysed in IRENA’s latest report on renewable energy auctions. In the EU, as was explained by IRENA’s Diala Hawila, prices resulting from auctions are consistently falling across various technologies:

  • In Germany, prices fell by almost 30% between 2015 and 2017;
  • In Denmark, solar was awarded at USD 19.19/MWh premium over spot price; and
  • Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands, have achieved record-breaking prices in offshore wind.

As was discussed in the EUSEW session, the decrease in prices reflects the falling cost of technology in the competitive environment spurred by the auction. However, there are country-specific factors that play a major role in the variations in individual auction results, including:

  1. Country-specific costs (such as cost of finance, labor, land) and conditions such as renewable energy resource availability;
  2. Investors’ confidence related to the presence of a conducive environment including the credibility of the off-taker, periodicity of auctions, increased confidence and lessons learnt from past auctions;
  3. Other policies aimed at supporting renewable energy development such as clearly set targets, fiscal incentives (e.g. tax credits, exemptions, accelerated depreciation), grid access and priority dispatch; and
  4. Auction design elements pertaining to trade-offs between the resulting price and other objectives (e.g. socio-economic development objectives, project size, strictness of compliance rules, developer remuneration profile, etc.).

Electricity markets in Europe
In 2015, in an effort to maximum benefits from cross-border competition and allow decentralised electricity generation,  the European Commission began a consultation process on the establishment of a electricity market. However, markets are currently not well positioned to integrate large shares of variable renewable energy in Europe. It was in this context that IRENA shared its latest work on Adapting Market Design to High Shares of Variable Renewable Energy. Presenting IRENA’s work on market design, Salvatore Vinci flagged three key recommendations:

  • Adapting short-term (day-ahead and intra-day) markets requires improving their temporal and spatial granularity, increasing the detail of bidding formats, and strengthening the link between energy and reserve markets;
  • Adapting balancing markets (designed to maintain system stability and reserves) involves redefining traded products, recognising the contribution of variable renewables to grid stability and avoiding dual-imbalance pricing;
  • Long-term mechanisms, which guide the expansion of power generation according to the strategic views of governments, should allow mature renewable technologies to compete with other generation technologies, by ensuring that support and capacity mechanisms take environmental externalities into account and minimise distortions in short-term and balancing markets for electricity

Is the 2030 EU renewable energy target of 27% ambitious enough?

IRENA’s second session in the EUSEW policy conference programme focused on another timely topic in Europe — the setting of EU-wide renewable energy targets.

In its “Winter Package” released in November 2016, the European Commission proposed a 27% renewable energy target for the EU by 2030. Early reports from the committee in charge of reviewing the European Commission proposal at the European Parliament point at the possibility of increasing the level of ambition to as much as 35% by 2030.claudeMEP Claude Turmes of the European Green Party (Luxembourg) discusses potential for ratcheting up EU renewable energy targets. 

At the recent EUSEW, IRENA’s Luis Janeiro shared some of the Agency’s preliminary findings assessing the renewable energy prospects of the European Union by 2030. The aim of the study is to provide an open platform for EU Member States to assess at an aggregated level the impacts of their national renewable energy plans and options. IRENA’s assessment is based on a deepened analysis of existing REmap studies for 10 EU Member States, augmented and aggregated with additional analysis for the other 18 EU Member States.

Draft results show that existing national renewable energy plans up to 2030 would result in an EU-wide renewable energy share of 25% in the gross final energy consumption (the Reference Case). IRENA identified several renewable energy options  in each Member State which would increase the EU-wide share of renewables beyond both the reference case and the proposed 27% EU target. These RE options can be found in the electricity, transport and heating and cooling sector.

The presentation of the preliminary findings provided the basis for a lively panel discussion on the issue of targets — with representatives of the European Commission, 2 Member States (Poland and Germany), and a Member of the EU Parliament. The chief take-away from the ensuing discussion was that while targets are critically important, they are not enough: targets need to be supported by strong policy actions to accelerate deployment.

The fact that most people don’t think twice about their safety when plugging an electrical device into a wall outlet is no accident. Homes and businesses today are powered by standardized, safe alternating current (AC) electricity, but that was not always the case.

Over a hundred years ago, Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla were the generals in what was then called ‘The War of the Currents’. Tesla championed AC electricity, and Edison did the same for direct current (DC) electricity. When the dust settled on a battlefield that saw everything from intellectual property to political maneuvering, Tesla was left standing and safe, low-voltage AC power became the gold standard for homes and businesses. Yet, when homeowners are considering rooftop solar or home energy storage once again face the decision between AC and DC systems.

AC power’s historical advantage

AC power and DC power both move energy through a circuit. Not unlike water in a garden hose, when you disconnect the hose from the spigot, water stops flowing. In AC power systems, current cycles between positive and negative values; they alternate. In DC systems, current is fixed at a constant positive value, hence ‘direct’ current. So why are most modern homes served by AC power?

Thomas Edison, the DC power proponent, believed that neighborhoods would use energy from small generators located close to those neighborhoods. Nikola Tesla, the AC power proponent envisioned a system in which large, centralized generators would send out energy through long transmission lines. George Westinghouse, the father of the modern electric grid, opted for Tesla’s AC system, and the rest was history.

Why AC systems are safer

Homeowners use a different set of criteria than electric companies do when comparing the merits of AC and DC power systems. But if safety is the key consideration, AC power wins again. Here’s why.

DC power systems are higher voltage and have to be closely monitored for arc faults, which pose significant risk of fire and bodily injury. Even the smallest equipment failure, such as a damaged cable or a loose electrical connection, can generate an arc fault. Once an arc fault is triggered, it can be difficult to stop because voltage in DC systems is constant, and you have to be able to interrupt the circuit or the arcing will continue.

In an AC power system, voltage continually passes zero as current cycles between positive and negative values, making it possible to virtually eliminate the risk of an arc fault.
Rooftop solar systems using DC power also tend to rely on hazardous high voltage to move energy from a full array of solar panels to a centralized string inverter, while AC power systems like the Enphase Microinverter System always operate at low voltage. That is a safety feature from which solar installers, homeowners, first responders, and utility workers all benefit.

It’s important to be able to trust that friends and family will be safe around the products you bring into your home, including rooftop solar and energy storage systems. By choosing an AC system, you’re as safe as with any quality home appliance introduced in the last hundred years or so. In the War of the Currents, AC electricity won the day for households because of safety and reliability. There is no reason for homeowners to fight this war again on their rooftops, and introduce unnecessary risk. Our advice: Stay safe and keep it AC.




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