Local and international news related to Renewable Energy. We'll try and keep you up to date!

Friday, October 30, 2009

PV 2008

Here is an excellent report on the global status of PV, as of August 2009, from the EU Joint Research Centre, Renewable Energy Unit (part of the European Commission):


Things are looking bright: in 2008 between 7 GW and 8 GW of solar PV (photovoltaic) cells was produced worldwide, nearly double the amount in 2007!

Since 2003, total PV production increased almost 10 fold with annual growth rates between 40% and 80%, whereas the thin film segment – starting from a very low level – grew in average by over 90%.

 It seems we're finally having 'take off' and starting to move away from the fossils! smile

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Barefoot Women Solar Engineers of Africa Are Finalists in the World Challenge!

The Barefoot energy venture benefiting African communities, theBarefoot Women Solar Engineers of Africa, has been selected as a finalist in World Challenge 09, the worldwide competition seeking to identify and reward projects and businesses which bring economic, social and environmental benefits to local communities through grassroots solutions.

The Barefoot Women Solar Engineers of Africa aims to improve the lives of people living away from any electricity supply in rural parts of Africa - giving them clean, renewable and low cost sources of energy.

Since 2005, 81 women, often illiterate, have trained as solar engineers at the Barefoot College in India learning how to fabricate, install and maintain solar lighting systems in their villages in Africa. Transforming the lives of over 2000 families, they are helping to reduce the impact of forest depletion in local communities and their dependence on kerosene and diesel.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


"Only 2% of total energy consumed by LED-based lamps is used in their production."
When trying to determine the greenest option among products, it is important to take into account the whole life-cycle of the thing; the manufacturing process, how it is used, and the disposal at the end of its life. The U.S. Department of Energy has already released a few life-cycle assessments (LCA) of LED lights (see here and herefor a Carnegie Mellon study), and LED maker Osram has just released a new LCA study conducted by the Siemens Corporate Technology Centre for Eco Innovations. Their conclusions are pretty interesting...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Solar-powered appliances hogs limelight

Lot of takers: Solar water heaters are becoming a more common feature on household terraces in Puducherry.

PUDUCHERRY: Increased awareness of the benefits of using renewable energy has resulted in solar water heaters and lanterns finding a lot of takers in Puducherry. The subsidies available for renewable energy appliances is an added incentive.

According to officials of the Renewable Energy Agency of Puducherry (REAP), solar water heaters of a total daily capacity of 37,125 litres have been installed in Puducherry, from 2005 to 2009.

At least ten applications for solar water heater subsidies are received every month, an official added.

Although these heaters are expensive, with a 100-litre capacity heater costing around Rs. 18,500, REAP provides a subsidy of Rs. 3000 per heater, upon producing proof of purchase along with the application.

Subsidies are granted to dealers of these appliances approved by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).

People, especially fishermen have evinced a lot of interest in solar lanterns, officials say. Between 2001 and 2009, over 507 lanterns, each costing around Rs. 4,000, have been given a subsidy of Rs. 1,550 by REAP.

In recent years, fishermen from Mahe have been availing around 100 subsidies a year, officials revealed.

Apart from heaters and lanterns, REAP has been providing subsidies for a host of other appliances such as solar cookers, water pumps and solar industrial air-heating systems, in order to encourage people to decrease their dependence on polluting fuels.

Subsidies are also provided for complete solar ‘homelighting’ systems, which consist of a 37-watt solar panel, charge controller, battery and two Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs).

Appearance in public sphere

Solar-powered devices have made an appearance in the public sphere as well. The solar powered street lamps have already become a notable feature on Puducherry’s beach. Institutions and non-commercial outfits receive a subsidy of Rs. 9,600 from the MNRE on these streetlights. 417 such streetlights have been installed in the Union Territory.

The government has also set an example for the public, with the installation of a 25-kilowatt solar power plant, at the Secretariat building in 2003-04.

Officials of REAP also say that the scheme of providing two CFLs to ration card holders at the price of one, has also met with very encouraging response. With the price coming down, response is bound to get better, the official added.

The agency, which is the State Nodal Agency for the Bureau of Energy Efficiency and MNRE is currently drawing out its budget allocation and new schemes.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


EASE stands for Enabling Access to Sustainable Energy. The EASE partnership aims to bring modern energy products to the rural poor in developing countries, by facilitating the upscaling processes in the rural energy sector and local energy markets.

EASE partners do not believe that the energy problems of the poor can be resolved with a mere technological breakthrough or through large scale financial support.

Instead, EASE projects start by better understanding the realities of the energy needs of the poor, and their local energy markets of shopkeepers, technicians, promoters and (micro)financiers.

By presenting the bottlenecks in these local markets, EASE partners design and implement projects with a lasting impact.

The vast potential of energy efficiency in India

Five times cheaper than nuclear power

A recent study by the World Resources Institute (WRI) calculated that India could reduce its annual electricity usage by 183.5 billion kWh by investing US$ 10 billion in energy efficiency improvements.

India’s energy demand is expected to more than double by 2030. The country is consequently in need of a huge amount of new power generation capacity. Considering the figures of the WRI, the cheapest generating capacity for India will no doubt be energy savings.

Read more

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Sixth Revolution: The Coming of Cleantech

Technology revolutions occur about every 50 years. The current IT age should give way to the leadership of cleantech as the energy infrastructure moves back to renewables. Investors are likely to be rewarded in the irruption phase, which we see accelerating in 2010-11 after current funding problems end.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Indian PV plan

As part of the National Action Plan on Climate Change, the Indian government has announced this month its plans to install 20GW of solar generation capacity by 2020, 100GW by 2030 and 200GW by 2050.

This plan will be launched in three phases:

During phase 1 from 2009-2012, India will deploy 100MW of solar PV on public sector buildings, promote utility-scale PV projects and set up local solar manufacturing parks. The plan envisions 1GW installed solar generation capacity by 2012, up from almost nothing in 2008. During phase 2 from 2013-2017, the government plans an installed capacity of 6-7GW by commercial operations of various pilot programs and during phase 3, government expects rapid scale-up of solar programs with minimal subsidies and to reach 20GW capacity in 2020 with 3GW rooftop PV installed on 1 million rooftops.

Three types of incentives are expected: Feed-in-tariffs for 20 years set annually and without official cap, 10 year tax holiday and customs and excise duty exemptions on capital equipment and other critical materials. Additionally, the government plans to introduce National Solar RPS - whereby states would be required to generate 1-3% of electricity from solar resources by 2017. In order to facilitate the creation of solar facilities, additional policies are expected to be introduced.

The Indian PV Sector

The electricity consumption per capita in India is expected to increase from 660 kWh currently to over 2,000 kWh by 2032. India's per capita consumption is about 7% of the OECD countries and 20-25% of the world average. Furthermore, India's grid connected capacity is estimated to grow from 146GW in 2008 to over 460GW by 2030. Although wind currently dominates renewable energy generation in India, solar PV has the potential to outpace wind generation given attractive solar conditions. Several studies show that approximately 0.5% of India's land area would be sufficient to meet all electricity needs using solar PV technology by 2030.

Approximately 70% of India's population lives in rural areas and more than 450 million of the Indian population have no access to grid electricity. Approximately 80,000 villages are not even connected to the grid. The Indian government spends approximately $2-4 billion annually to subsidize the price of kerosene, which is the primary fuel used for electrification of rural India. Therefore, PV has also a major card to play in this market. In addition, solar PV is also ideally suited for the 21 million Indian irrigation pump market. Electricity consumption by the irrigation pump sector is estimated to account for between 10-15% of India's total consumption.

Finally, there is significant potential for solar PV to replace estimated 20-25GW of captive power generation, which is currently supported mostly with diesel power generators running at costs comparable to solar PV costs today.

Source: Barclays Capital

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Renewables Global Status Report

Transformation Continues Despite Economic Slowdown

This fourth edition of REN21’s renewable energy report comes in the midst of an historic and global economic crisis,” says Mohamed El-Ashry, chairman of REN21. Although the future is unclear, he says, “there is much in the report for optimism.”

Global power capacity from new renewable energy sources (excluding large hydro) reached 280,000 megawatts (MW) in 2008 – a 16 percent rise from the 240,000 MW in 2007 and nearly three times the capacity of the United States nuclear sector.

Solar heating capacity increased by 15 percent to 145 gigawatts-thermal (GWth), while biodiesel and ethanol production both increased by 34 percent. More renewable energy than conventional power capacity was added in both the European Union and United States for the first time ever.

“The recent growth of the sector has surpassed all predictions, even those made by the industry itself,” says El-Ashry, adding that much of this growth was due to more favourable policies amidst increasing concerns about climate change and energy security.

Read more & Download the full report

Friday, May 1, 2009

Energy Efficiency Could Save India 183.5 Billion kWh

With an investment of US $10 billion dollars in energy efficiency improvements, India's economy would benefit from its potentially vast annual energy savings of 183.5 billion kilowatt hours, according to a new report from the World Resources Institute (WRI).

“India’s energy demand is expected to more than double by 2030. There is a dramatic need for domestic and international energy efficiency technology providers, service providers, and equipment manufacturers to develop innovative ways to conserve energy,” said Robin Murphy, WRI vice president of external relations.

A key element in realizing this potential is the energy service company (or ESCO) sub-sector. ESCOs operate on the basis of energy-performance contracts, wherein revenue is earned based on the amount of energy cost savings produced. In India, the ESCO industry had an annual growth rate of 96 percent from 2002 to 2007 and is estimated to have grown by an additional 62 percent in 2008, according to financial information provided by these companies to WRI.

WRI’s report, Powering Up: The Investment Potential of Energy Service Companies in India is being released as part of the New Ventures India Investor Meet, a gathering of leading investors and other stakeholders interested in the intersection of environment and enterprise.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Solar Water Heating is Best Use of Solar Power, Indian Scientists Assert

A quick search on TreeHugger shows that 'solar power' most often occurs in connection with producing electricity and only secondarily in connection with solar water heaters. That's unfortunate, according to scientists at the Dr Panjabrao Deshmukh Agricultural University in India, because using the sun's power to heat water is a far more efficient process and offers a much quicker return on investment:

According to their analysis, published in the International Journal of Global Energy, as the payback time for a solar water heating system is about two years (with a lifespan of 20), this is a far more cost-effective use of solar energy in the developing world than using it to generate electricity. Compared to electrically heated water, solar water heating is 57% of the internal rate of return, the scientists found:

Solar energy is the only renewable energy source that has wide range of uses with commercial viability. The use of solar energy for thermal purposes is the most cost-effective way of utilizing the resource.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Will the Children of Today Be Living in a World Powered by Renewable Energy by 2050?

The world needs a one-off switch-over to renewable energy -- and this could be largely accomplished in just forty years time, slashing energy costs and greenhouse gases while allowing healthy economic growth, experts say.

The study estimates that 56% of primary energy demand will be covered by renewable energy sources by 2050 while energy efficiency potentials will have been largely exploited. As a result, primary energy demand will stabilize at 2060 levels.

By 2050, 80 percent of the world's electricity could be coming from renewable energy sources provided efforts are made, in parallel, to improve energy efficiency, according to a study by the German Aerospace Center (DLR). That means, the children of today might well grow up to experience a world where the energy they use comes almost entirely from the sun, wind, sea and biomass.

By 2090, the shift to renewable energy around the world could be almost 99 percent completed reducing pressure on the environment and laying the foundations for a new era of prosperity based on green energy.

The Energy [R]evolution Report commissioned by Greenpeace International and the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) also outlines a scenario that would see a fairer redistribution of the burden of cutting greenhouses around the globe. Under the DLR plan, America and Western Europe would decrease their high per capita energy use by switching over to renewable energy and introducing energy saving measures as soon as possible while countries such as China and India would initially slow down their increase in energy demand before starting the switch-over to green energy.

Technologies like dye-sensitive solar cells and thin-film photovoltaics are being developed rapidly and present a huge potential for cost reduction. Also, major innovations in geothermal and ocean wave technology can be expected as research in these areas increases in the future.

"Smart power" will improve the efficiency of buildings and transport, and the DLR predicts that the city centers of the future, for example, could be producing power and heat as well as consuming it. The buildings will have photovoltaic facades not only for energy production but also as an element of architectural design. Solar thermal collectors are set to produce hot water in the networked cities of tomorrow where energy comes from a variety of sources, large and small in scale.

In addition, the DLR predicts that the energy supply system of the future will move from the large and centralized one of today's world towards a much more decentralized one, based on a wide mix of energy sources. These will be tailored to the geography of a particular region to optimize its specific and unique potential.

According to the DLR, solar photovoltaics, followed by wind power, concentrated solar power and geothermal, have the highest potential for development from technologies currently available.

To study notes huge amounts of energy currently wasted from cooling towers could be harnessed for co-generation.

A further piece in the puzzle to create a world powered by renewable energy is to make the transport sector more efficient by switching over to electric vehicles powered by renewable energy sources and also by building up public transport system.

Read the whole article