Solar Power Cheaper than Diesel Generators – in India

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 3 Comments, a catch-all web site that distributes free e-greeting cards and a blend of new age health care, pet care, and environmental news, caught this editor’s attention with the news that solar power is now cheaper than Diesel-generated electricity in India – without subsidies – and by the manner in which private industry and government agencies are adapting to this.

Two giants on the industrial side have thrown their substantial resources behind solar.  BHARTI, the largest mobile phone company, is using the sun to power rural cell towers.  Jaine Irrigation, the world’s biggest mango puree producer, is building an 8.5 megawatt solar power plant, according to Care2.

On the governmental side, Sustainable explains the reverse auction approach that helps India get cheaper power than other countries manage.

“In India, those that bid the lowest in a reverse auction win the right to build solar plants up to 20 megawatts (MW) and sell the electricity under a 25 year contract.

“Winners are required to buy solar cells domestically. After the auction, they have seven months to arrange financing and 13 months to complete the plants, according to government guidelines.”  (One contradictory element in the report was solar’s low cost caused by dropping Chinese solar prices, although guidelines required domestic panels.)

The second such  auction was held December 2 and awarded 28 plants with 350 megawatts capacity to the lowest bidders.  France’s Solairedirect SA bid $147 per megawatt hour to win the right to build a 5 mW plant, 30-percent cheaper than solar’s worldwide average. reports, “Globally, power project developers are paid about $208 per megawatt-hour to build a solar plant, $78 for a wind farm and $76 for a coal plant, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance levelized cost of energy analysis.

“By forcing companies to compete on price, India is turning solar subsidies on its head – it wants to avoid the high payments that Germany and other EU countries face from paying above-market prices to incentivize growth in the market.”

The video gives some idea of the enthusiasm brought about by aggressive development of solar in at least one province.

India will become the world’s most populous country by 2025 at current birth rates, making their goal of achieving 20,000 megawatts of solar power essential for reducing climate change and air pollution, the latter leading to “high incidence of respiratory diseases, cancer, and heart diseases.”

The reverse auction technique has merit, but still faces the real-world lower costs of coal-fired electricity at this time, although solar and wind could eventually find lower cost points with increased production and new technology.

This author found some difficulty in analyzing cost per megawatt hour for competing technologies because of varying ways of calculating capital and operating costs and the differing types of government subsidies in different countries.   Suggestions and apple-to-apple comparisons are welcome.


Comments 3

  1. Renewable Energy Solar, Wind, Hydro, Geothermal and others should be on the front cover of every Science Book – kindergarten through high school.

    Leaders and Schools in all Nations need to Teach more on Solar Energy.

    Sad that for the last 25 years or so of every teacher asked no matter what
    Grade k through 16. At least 80% of them did not know Archimedes. Even sadder 90%
    of them could not tell you what one of the most Brilliant Scientist to ever
    live on Earth won the Nobel Prize for.

    It was for the work Albert Einstein did to show the World it could get
    Free Energy, Electricity from the SUN. (THE PHOTOVOLTAIC EFFECT).

    You ask this question to any Military general 95% of them will get it right.
    Even more surprising 99% of them will know more about Archimedes then most
    Teachers on Earth. Generals know Energy is the key to Winning.

    At almost one thousand to one Archimedes always won against what all knew were impossible odds. Archimedes’ home town city of Syracuse was victorious against the greatest Kingdoms’ armies many times. [Reputedly by solar energy using focused mirrors to set fire to enemy ships. ed.] Syracuse once was one of the most powerful cities in the World.

    I can only ask you to please look into Solar Energy, Solar Power, Solar Panels
    and Solar array on the internet under Images. To see and explore for yourself –
    then you be the JURY.

    The Solar Energy Industry in 2010 and 2011 has leaped ahead farther and
    faster then any other industry on Earth. The Solar Industry in the
    United States alone, has grown by more then 50% in 2010 and
    that number has gone up even higher for the 2011 year.

    The strong benefit of Solar Energy is Clear, Clean Air, viewed in major cities
    as improving air quality.

    The Public ability and awareness for all on Earth to use the Natural Solar Energy
    is contributing to Production of Solar Energy Products [and] making the Solar
    Energy Industry the fastest growing on Earth. [There is] A Wealth of Free Energy From The SUN.

    SolarWorld has been presenting an Einstein Award to personalities who have advanced
    the use of solar energy – and helped our Planet Earth.

    We all need to tell all our Teachers and Leaders to use our Nation’s Energy more wisely
    and efficiently. Start to Teach all our Young about Renewable Energy Solar, Wind, and so on.

    Very soon most of the world will not need Oil. Renewable Energy like Solar, Wind, Hydro and
    Geothermal are now replacing dirty Energy like Oil. Solar Energy is growing World Wide at a
    record pace.

    Hybrid Cars are being sold all over the Earth. Soon Hybrid Vehicles that run on Electric /
    Hydrogen, The Freedom Element will free the world from Oil thanks to a Great Scientist,
    Dr. Addison Bain’s Years of work for our Nation and with the Space Program on Hydrogen.

    The day will come when many will see Solar Panels on most everything. What Free Electricity
    the sun makes will be used to split water into Hydrogen. The Hydrogen will be used to heat
    our homes and to cook with and to put into our Hybrid Vehicles that will run on
    The Freedom Element. Very soon most all will be filling up their Vehicles at Home,
    free from the Sun’s Solar Energy just as Dr. Bain has done for years [with] The First Hydrogen
    Home Refueling Station in the World that he built.

    The Lord’s little Helper
    Paul Felix Schott

    (Editor’s Note: I had the pleasure of reading Mr. Schott’s lengthy and challenging email, but wanted to share a few points that might provoke further research.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *