The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.

Welspun Says Nation Set to Double Solar Target: Corporate India

Welspun Says Nation Set to Double Solar Target: Corporate India

Welspun Energy Ltd., India's biggest developer of solar projects, said the nation will surpass its sun-powered generation target by two-fold over the next decade amid shortages of coal and natural gas.

“A lot of investment planned for thermal power projects will go to renewables,” said Vineet Mittal, managing director of the company, a unit of Welspun Group backed by Apollo Global Management LLC co-founder Leon Black. “Most people don’t realize this yet but India’s power mix will change considerably.”

The company joins other developers in diverting new investment to renewable projects. CLP Holdings Ltd., India’s largest wind-farm developer, said last month it’s more likely to fund renewable projects after fuel shortfalls left a new coal- fired plant “dead cold” since April and cut generation at a gas-fired facility in half.

The energy unit of the group that makes pipes, builds roads and runs the U.K. supplier of towels to the Wimbledon tennis championships, has signed agreements over the past year to build more than 1,500 megawatts of solar and wind farms that will require about 98 billion rupees ($1.8 billion) of investment based on current capital expenditure costs. In contrast, it has yet to complete a coal or gas-based plant.

The government has set a goal of installing 20 gigawatts of solar capacity by 2022. Welspun estimates that it’s more likely to reach 40 gigawatts as renewables close in on the cost of fossil fuel-based power and answer a need for a reliable source of electricity in a nation beset by blackouts.

Nuclear Plants

India will need to add 169 gigawatts of total power capacity, equivalent to that of 154 nuclear plants, over the next five years to maintain an economic growth rate of 9 percent, according to the nation’s Planning Commission. Gross domestic product rose 5.3 percent in the three months ended March, the slowest pace in nine years.

“The kind of power requirements that India has cannot be met only with renewables,” said Rohit Singh, a Mumbai-based analyst with IDBI Capital Market Services Ltd. “You need power 24 hours around-the-clock,” something only coal, gas and nuclear plants can provide, while wind and solar are too expensive.

Mittal says current projections overestimate the availability of coal and gas supplies and underestimate the rate at which the cost of fossil fuel-based power will rise.

Energy Security

The power ministry told developers not to plan any new gas-based projects until at least 2015 because there won’t be enough domestic supply, according to a March 14 note sent to companies. The Central Electricity Authority plans to revise guidelines so that new coal plants are designed to import 50 percent of their fuel, up from 30 percent, Mittal said.

“India is different from the U.S. or Europe” because renewables aren’t just competing on cost with fossil fuels, Mittal said. “It’s a question of energy security,” and renewables are attractive because they’re not vulnerable to disruptions.

Renewables are rapidly becoming competitive, with the price of coal-based power set to rise as high as 7 rupees a kilowatt-hour by 2017, Mittal projects.

That concurs with estimates by Bloomberg New Energy Finance showing the most efficient wind projects in India today can produce power in the same cost range as new coal plants. The best wind farms have a levelized cost of energy, a measure that allows comparison between different fuel sources, ranging from 2.7 to 4.4 rupees per kilowatt-hour compared with coal’s 1.9 to 4.8, Ashish Sethia, head of India analysis at the London-based research firm, said in a July 3 note.

Rail Infrastructure

India relies on coal, oil and gas for 70 percent of its energy supply. That supply has been disrupted by poor rail and pipeline infrastructure constraining fuel delivery, and domestic coal and gas production failing to meet demand.

Companies from billionaire Anil Ambani’s Reliance Power Ltd. to Adani Power Ltd. have stalled 1.9 trillion rupees of investment to expand thermal power capacity amid supply constraints, data from the Association of Power Producers show.

Solar and wind power are already cheaper than diesel, which is used by factories, businesses and homes during chronic blackouts and to bridge gaps in the grid.

Over the next 18 months, Welspun plans to start replacing diesel generation at group companies with renewable alternatives, which would help save on fuel costs and lock in power prices, Mittal said.

Copyright 2012 Bloomberg.

Image: Power lines and Pilgrims in India via Flickr.



Three Chinese Solar Panel Groups Lose Exemption From EU Tariffs

Jonathan Stearns, Bloomberg

The European Union applied tariffs on three groups of Chinese solar-panel makers that have been exempted from the levies, potentially reviving tensions in the EU’s biggest trade case of its kind.

Stock graph

Green Bonds Sprout as Wall Street Embraces Renewable Energy Debt

Cordell Eddings, Bloomberg Bonds backing clean energy and other sustainable initiatives are booming. Investors are snapping up green bonds at the fastest pace on record, as big banks like Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Corp. pile in with new iss...
Loss and profit binders

Yingli May Return to Profitability in Second Half, CFO Says

Justin Doom, Bloomberg

Yingli Green Energy Holding Co., a Chinese solar manufacturer that hasn’t reported income in almost four years, may return to profitability in the second half, the chief financial officer said.

Students and solar powered cars with energy storage

Rain or Shine, Students Keep Their Solar Race Cars Going with Energy Storage

Wayne Hicks, NREL Teegan and Kira Cordova love the original Star Trek TV series. That much is obvious. The eighth-grade twins from Ken Caryl Middle School in Littleton are wearing the uniform tunics from the 1960s show — Teegan's in red and...


Volume 18, Issue 3


To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:



PV-301: Advanced PV Design & Installation

This highly desirable and advanced course is intended for the profession...

PV-401: Advanced Field Training

Real world on the job solar installation, training, and experience is th...

PV-201: Introduction to PV Design & Installation

PV 201 Introduction to PV Design & Installation is simply the best i...


Up to Bat – Why More Solar Companies Are Thinking Seriously About A...

Given the growth of the solar industry in the U.S., with 2014 year-...

How to Reduce Soft Costs With a Critical Path Map

For solar installers, soft costs are a fact of life. However, they don&r...

Community Solar Solutions Appeal to Eco-Conscious Millennials

Tech savvy and convenience oriented, the millennial generation is the mo...


Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon


Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now