You are on page 1of 4

180 The Masterbu||der - October 2012 www.masterbu||

Solar Off-Grid AppIication
Theoff-gridchallenge: ndiandomain
lnd|a |s s|tt|ng on huge untapped
so|ar Photo vo|ta|c o-gr|d opportun|-
t|es, g|ven |ts need to prov|de energy to
vast untapped remote rura| areas, the
scope o prov|d|ng backup power to
ce|| towers and |ts |nherent potent|a| to
rep|ace prec|ous oss|| ue|s. A|so g|ven
the act that over 400 m||||on peop|e do
not have access to gr|d connected e|ec-
tr|c|ty, o-gr|d capt|ve commerc|a| so|ar
power |s an approx|mate|y 15 GW
opportun|ty or lnd|a, but |ts deve|op-
ment w||| depend ma|or|y on the so|ar
Penewab|eEnergyCred|t (PEC) market.
Ma|or|ty so|ar generat|on eorts |n
the nat|on have ocused on rep|ac|ng
oss|| ue|-based power generat|on or
ma|nstreame|ectr|ca| app||cat|ons ("on-
gr|d" power). However, |n reg|ons where
the d|str|but|on gr|d |nrastructure |tse|
|s |ack|ng, another market |s rap|d|y
grow|ng or domest|c and commerc|a|
app||cat|ons that are not connected to
the ma|n e|ectr|c|ty gr|d. Such app||ca-
|oba| access to e|ectr|c|ty over
the |ast ewyears has rema|ned
Gremarkab|y stat|c and th|s s|tu-
at|on |s current|y pro|ected to bare|y
change |n the oreseeab|e uture. The
prob|em |s part|cu|ar|y acute |n rap|d|y
deve|op|ng areas o As|a and Ar|ca,
where a comb|nat|ono extens|ve popu-
|at|on growth and |ndustr|a| deve|op-
ment |s p|ac|ng huge demands on the
ex|st|ng e|ectr|ca| |nrastructure.
Few decades ago, when the Photo
vo|ta|c (Pv) so|ar techno|ogy was com-
merc|a||y deve|oped |n the most |ndus-
tr|a||zed and techno|og|ca||y advanced
nat|ons, |t was never thought that most
o the potent|a| customers o o-gr|d
Pv wou|d not be the deve|oped nat|ons
but the deve|op|ng wor|d where near|y
1.4 b||||on peop|e, represent|ng 22% o
the earths popu|at|on, do not have
access to e|ectr|c|ty. Between 500,000
and 1 m||||on persons |n the deve|op|ng
wor|d are current|y us|ng o-gr|d Pv
t|ons are requent|y powered by batter-
|es, kerosene or d|ese| generators a||
o wh|ch have a d|sproport|onate|y h|gh
env|ronmenta| |mpact as we|| as a h|gh
cost compared to standard on-gr|d
The o-gr|d opportun|t|es |n lnd|a
are s|gn||cant, g|ven the cost |nvo|ved
|n o-gr|d app||cat|ons when compared
tohuge |nanc|a| |nvestments tobe made
to set up gr|ds. The potent|a| o rep|ac-
|ng huge usage o kerosene used or
||ght|ng rura| homes a|so makes o-
gr|d app||cat|ons des|rab|e.
Moreover, spec||c government |n-
cent|ves to promote o gr|d app||ca-
t|ons, rap|d expans|on o w|re|ess te|e-
com and te|ecom compan|es des|re to
reduce operat|ng cost or base stat|ons
(due to d|ese| cost and |osses) are a|so
expected to prompt growth |n o-gr|d
Exploringthede-centralizedgrid: Under-
standingndianSolar market
The bene|ts o e|ectr||cat|on to rura|
Cmo|lomyo o, Ooyo|
'3w|lcm|mg - 3o|o|'
Cmo||emges omo ppo|lum|l|es |m
tt-O||o 3o|o| opp||col|om
181 www.masterbu|||n The Masterbu||der - October 2012
Solar Off-Grid AppIication
commun|t|es and thus the potent|a|
uses o o-gr|d photo vo|ta|c (Pv) are
many. Few examp|es o o-gr|d Pv
app||cat|ons |nc|ude remote v|||age
e|ectr||cat|on, power |rr|gat|on pump-
sets, te|ecom towers, back-up power
generat|on, capt|ve power generat|on
and c|ty, street, b|||board and h|ghway
lnd|as o-gr|d so|ar photovo|ta|c
(Pv) market has three ma|or segments:
capt|ve power p|ants (where the ma|or-
|ty o generat|on |s consumed at the
source), te|ecom towers, and rura| e|ec-
tr||cat|on. The market potent|a| or these
Pv segments has created an o-gr|d
so|ar market |n lnd|a orecasted to
|nsta|| morethan1GWper year by2016.
Capt|ve Power P|ants - lnlnd|a, cap-
t|ve power p|ants (where the ma|or|ty o
generat|on |s consumed at the source)
w|th a tota| capac|ty o approx|mate|y
30 GWare |nsta||ed, wh|ch |s equ|va|ent
to around 20 percent o the countrys
tota| |nsta||ed capac|ty. Th|s capac|ty
|ncreased annua||y by 1.6 GW over the
|ast |ve years, due to the ascent o the
lnd|an economy and the |ack o power
qua||ty and re||ab|||ty rom the gr|d.
Thus ar, capt|ve power has con-
s|sted ma|n|y o therma| power p|ants
ue|ed by coa|, gas or d|ese|. However,
there |s potent|a| or approx|mate|y 15
GW o so|ar capt|ve power to supp|y
e|ectr|c|ty to commerc|a| and pub||c
ent|t|es, educat|ona| and med|ca| |nst|-
tut|ons, hote|s, upper-c|ass househo|ds,
lT-serv|ce prov|ders as we|| as shop-
p|ng ma||s. Thus ar, 2.5 megawatts o
so|ar capt|ve power p|ants have been
|nsta||ed |n lnd|a. Manuacturers est|-
mate the payback per|od o so|ar cap-
t|ve power p|ants to be two to seven
years, depend|ng on d|ese| pr|ces,
|ocat|onand system des|gn.
Te|ecom Towers - Accord|ng to the
Te|ecom Pegu|atory Author|ty o lnd|a
(TPAl), lnd|a current|y has 3,100,000
tower s|tes out o wh|ch over 30,000 are
|n o-gr|d areas. However, the ma|or|ty
are run by d|ese| generators, whether
on-gr|d or o, due to the |nterm|ttent
power supp|y. The tota| annua| con-
sumpt|on o d|ese| ue| by these towers
p|y or te|ecom towers |s two to our
years, w|th th|s per|od orecasted to
reach|ess thanone year by 2014.
Energy costs or te|ecom opera-
t|ons have been r|s|ng and are current|y
about 30% o the tota| cost. Due to re-
quent power cuts, te|ecom operators
depend heav||y on d|ese| wh|ch costs
around Ps 20 per un|t o e|ectr|c|ty as
compared to commerc|a| gr|d e|ectr|c-
|ty pr|ce o around 5 per un|t. pon
sw|tch|ng to so|ar there wou|d be sav-
|ngs o $1.4 b||||on |n operat|ng expen-
ses or te|ecom tower compan|es
spent ond|ese| annua||y as per TPAl.
Pura| E|ectr||cat|on - ln lnd|a, at |east
70 m||||on to 75 m||||on househo|ds |n
rura| areas (approx|mate|y 400 m||||on
peop|e or 80,000 to 90,000 v|||ages)
|ack access to gr|d-based e|ectr|c|ty.
E|ectr||ed househo|ds |n the rura|
areas on average pay lNP 106 ($2.65)
per month or e|ectr|c|ty. Th|s |s |ess
than the lNP 150 ($3.75) that un-
e|ectr||ed househo|ds spend or ||ght
rom kerosene |anterns. Assum|ng
such rura| un-e|ectr||ed househo|ds
are ab|e and w||||ng to pay the same as
rura| e|ectr||ed househo|ds, the market
potent|a| or rura| so|ar |s |n the order o
lNP 90 b||||on to lNP 95 b||||on ($2.25
b||||on to $2.38 b||||on) per year. Approx-
|s 2 b||||on ||ters, as a resu|t o wh|ch 5
megatons o CO2 |s produced annu-
a||y. A tota| o 8 megatons CO2 |s em|t-
ted by towers due to annua| gr|d e|ec-
tr|c|ty consumpt|on.
Accord|ng to the M|n|stry o New
and Penewab|e Energy (MNPE), there
are 250,000 te|ecom towers wh|ch can
emp|oy Pv systems. As such, the
potent|a| or tota| |nsta||ed Pv capac|ty
|s approx|mate|y 6.2 GW. The payback
per|od or Pv systems as a power sup-
So|ar powered park|ng meter
A typ|ca| stand-a|one photovo|ta|c power system at a sewage treatment p|ant
Market Entry Barriers

15 GW
2 GW
0.9 GW
M|n|-gr|ds or
90,000 v|||ages
S|ze o the
market segment
So|ar Capt|ve Power
P|ants as rep|acement o
d|ese|/gr|d power
Pv-Systems or 250.000
te|ecom towers
6 GW
So|ar Home Systems etc.
182 The Masterbu||der - 2012 October www.masterbu|||n
|mate|y 250,000 gr|d-connected v||-
|ages w|th requent power outages
|ncrease th|s potent|a| evenurther.
There are three key opt|ons or pro-
v|d|ng rura|, o-gr|d, so|ar Pv-based
e|ectr|c|ty so|ut|ons: sma|| app||cat|ons
w|th |ntegrated power generat|on capac-
|ty (|.e., so|ar |anterns and so|ar street
||ghts), so|ar home systems (SHS) and
D|str|but|on, transportat|on and
|nsta||at|on |n rura| areas are expens|ve.
Th|s ||qu|d|ty barr|er |n rura| markets
can be overcome w|th var|ous |nstru-
ments ||ke cap|ta| subs|d|es and m|cro-
|oans. Cap|ta| subs|dy and a sot |oan
rom the lnd|an Penewab|e Energy
Deve|opment Agencys (lPEDA) O-
Gr|d Scheme are a|so ava||ab|e or rura|
National Lifeline: Off-gridsolar policy
nder the F|rst Phase o Jawahar|a|
Nehru Nat|ona| So|ar M|ss|on (JNNSM)
to be |mp|emented between 1st Apr||
2010 and 31st March 2013, a target o
200MW capac|ty equ|va|ent o-gr|d
so|ar Pv systems and 7 m||||on square
meter so|ar therma| (heat|ng) co||ec-
tors |s to be |nsta||ed. ln |ts |rst year o
the |rst phase o 2010-11, an |nsta||a-
t|on o 32 MW so|ar Pv o-gr|d systems
and 5 |akh square meter so|ar therma|
co||ector area were targeted, to be
ach|eved by us|ng a comb|nat|on o
Penewab|e Energy Serv|ce Prov|d|ng
Compan|es (PESCOs), F|nanc|a| lnst|-
tut|ons |nc|ud|ng MFls act|ng as
Aggregators, F|nanc|a| lntegrators, Sys-
tem lntegrators and Programme Ad-
m|n|strators. As o February 2011, the
|nsta||ed base was 38.5 MW or o gr|d
Pv systems and 1.2 Lakh square meter
so|ar therma| co||ector area.
nder JNNSM, M|n|stry o Newand
Penewab|e Energy (MNPE) prov|des
cap|ta| subs|dy to the extent o 30% o
the benchmark cost and/or 5% |nterest
subs|dy on bank |oans ava||ed rom d|-
erent commerc|a| and reg|ona| rura|
banks or o gr|d so|ar systems through
Nat|ona| Bank or Agr|cu|ture and Pura|
Deve|opment (NABAPD).
A|so, under |ts Pemote v|||age E|ec-
tr||cat|on scheme, MNPE prov|des
Centra| F|nanc|a| Ass|stance (CFA) o
up to 90% o the tota| cost or so|ar Pv
home ||ght|ng (sub|ect to a max|mum
o lNP 11,250 per househo|d) and
street ||ght|ng system.
Barriers inAdoptionof Off-gridPV
Most o the Pv systems des|gned
or o-gr|d app||cat|ons |n deve|op|ng
nat|ons do not |nc|ude |nverters, wh|ch
dr|ve up system costs. Wh||e many
so|ar home systems come w|th DC
app||ances, such app||ances are not
a|ways read||y ava||ab|e on the market.
For o-gr|d Pv to be successu|, there
|s a|so a need or customer support,
part|cu|ar|y |n system ma|ntenance and
repa|r. The |ow |eve|s o educat|on |n
many areas o the deve|op|ng wor|d
must be cons|dered, |n some cases Pv
systems may be abandoned ater ma|-
unct|on|ng because the owner cannot
read the manua|.
Even |n p|aces where Pv systems
ln remote |ocat|ons, so|ar energy |s the power source o cho|ce. Due to d||cu|t
roads, ue| |og|st|cs or d|ese| generators can be a rea| cha||enge
So|ar Pv powered Pemote Te|ecom Tower
O gr|d Pv market - Potent|a| and market entry barr|ers (Source: GTM Pesearch)
Solar Off-Grid AppIication
|nd|cat|ng soc|a| acceptance o th|s
Conclusion: Theroadahead
Access to e|ectr|c|ty ass|sts w|th
|ncome generat|ng act|v|t|es, |nc|ud|ng
agr|cu|ture. Pura| e|ectr||cat|on |n lnd|a
|n the prev|ous decade has |arge|y
ocused on |rr|gat|on, wh|ch has moved
the nat|on rom a net ood |mporter to a
net ood exporter. Other |ncome-gene-
rat|on uses |nc|ude |n |sher|es, proces-
s|ng o agr|cu|tura| goods, and sma||-
sca|e |ndustry suchas we|d|ng shops.
W|th the r|ght comb|nat|on o po||-
c|es, bus|ness mode|s and techno|o-
g|es these areas can deve|op |nto thr|v-
|ng markets or Pv and re|ated techno|-
og|es. Consumer educat|on w||| be as
or more |mportant |n the deve|op|ng
wor|d as |t |s |n the deve|oped wor|d,
w|th add|t|ona| barr|ers o |anguage
and ||teracy. L|kew|se there |s a need to
educate government o|c|a|s |n these
nat|ons as to the advantages o Pv, and
to |ntroduce po||c|es that br|ng Pv not
as an a|d product, but as a thr|v|ng
|ndustry, w|th strong |oca| |nvo|vement
ad sense o ownersh|p.
lnd|as recent power gr|d a||ure that
|et more than 600 m||||on peop|e
near|y 10 percent o the wor|ds popu|a-
t|on w|thout e|ectr|c|ty and |mportant
serv|ces ||ke runn|ng water, a|r-cond|-
t|on|ng, tra|c ||ghts and the |nternet,
prov|ded severa| |mportant rem|nders -
most notab|y that lnd|as e|ectr|ca| gr|d
and |nrastructure |s |n need o vast
|mprovements | the countrys ever-
grow|ng m|dd|ec|ass popu|at|on can
expect regu|ar and re||ab|e power.
Energy poverty |s a|ready dr|v|ng
soc|a| entrepreneurs to deve|opun|que
|nnovat|ons or the poor that create
|oca| energy econom|es capab|e o
de||ver|ng what b||||ons o do||ars, and
years o centra||zed power p|ants, have
a||edtode||ver, |.e., c|eanenergyaccess.
Just ||ke the dec|s|on to abandon
the cont|nued dependency on |nterna|
combust|on eng|ne rather than the
|nvent|on o e|ectr|c eng|ne, shaped the
course o h|story, our approach to so|ar
w||| determ|ne the ate o hundreds o
m||||ons around the wor|d. Now |s the
t|me to se|ze th|s opportun|ty, now |s
the t|me to get |t r|ght!
are v|s|b|e, consumers |n the deve|op-
|ng wor|d must be educated about the
bene|ts o these systems. ln some
areas, there |s a tendency to th|nk o
e|ectr|c|ty rom Pv as "second-c|ass"
or not "rea|" e|ectr|c|ty compared to
that wh|ch |s de||vered rom the centra|
gr|d, and such att|tudes must be over-
come. ln other areas where the govern-
ment has supp||ed |arge numbers o Pv
systems to rura| areas, there |s a ten-
dency to v|ewthe systems as a g|t rom
the government. However, even |n areas
where the percept|on o Pv as a state
g|t |s w|despread, there |s st||| a ten-
dency to use these systems or
|ncome-generat|ngact|v|t|es, tokeepPv
as backup power ater gr|d-connec-
t|on, and to |nvest |n |arger systems,
184 The Masterbu||der - 2012 October www.masterbu|||n
So|ar Pv home ||ght|ng |n Ja|sa|mer, Pa|asthan So|ar Pane|s be|ng used |n |e|ds to pump water or |rr|gat|on
So|ar Street ||ght|ng system
Solar Off-Grid AppIication