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PROINSO to supply its first 2 MW project in India

PROINSO will conduct the supply throughout this year and, according to company sources, is currently negotiating the provision for other solar energy projects in India in excess of 20 MW power for 2011, for both Indian and European developers with projects in India.

MECASOLAR and PROINSO- companies that form part of Grupo OPDE- plan to open an office in India before the end of the year, and will be travelling there in April on a trade mission with the Spanish Association for the Internationalisation and Innovation of Solar Companies (SECARTYS-SOLARTYS).

This mission will enable both companies, – who participated in the Renewable Energy Technology Congress held in New Delhi -to see first hand the commitment that the Indian Government is making to solar energy, its current plans for the development of solar energy the forthcoming years –National Solar Mission-, and the various plans that some regions are carrying out. During this mission contact was also made with a large number of promoters, EPC companies and customers.

At the end of this year both PROINSO and MECASOLAR will attend INTERSOLAR INDIA to be held from 14 to 16 December. Prior to this, they will be present at INTERSOLAR EUROPE to be held from 8 to 10 June in Munich, where they hope to make contacts with customers in India, taking advantage of the huge attendance at the event.

PROINSO have highlighted the enormous growth potential for the solar energy market in India in the coming years, as forecasts suggest that by 2020, the country will have installed 10,000 MW.

World leader in distribution

PROINSO, which has offices in Spain, Germany, Greece, Italy, United States, Britain, Canada, China and Czech Republic– expects to exceed the figure of 1,000 MW supplied throughout 2011. The company can provide these forecasts as they have closed orders which predict that this figure will be added together to the 812 MW which has already been supplied since 2005.

PROINSO has a strong international focus, as is indicated by its more than 1,555 qualified installers who are part of its Network, in addition to more than 90,000 m2 of logistics warehouses spread out among its delegations.

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CLEAN ENERGY FUNDING ANNOUNCEMENT – Joint India-U.S. Research

The Indian and U.S. governments have announced a funding opportunity of $50 million for joint research and development (R&D) in three critical fields:

The Indian and U.S. governments are contributing $50 million across the three fields, over five years, to fund transformative, cutting-edge clean energy solutions. Another $50 million is expected in matching funds from
participating entities, raising the total level of expected funding to $100 million. Leading researchers and scientists in both the United States and India are encouraged you to apply.

The Application deadline is August 16, 2011.

* Grant Information*

Details of the funding opportunity, including application guidelines, materials, instructions, cost-sharing, teaming arrangements etc. are available on the websites of the coordinating U.S. and Indian agencies – the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF) (http://www.pi.energy.gov/159.htm and
http://www.indousstf.org/JCERDC.html). DOE and IUSSTF are the official contact for the Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Center (JCERDC) – the bilateral mechanism established to facilitate this research and any activities needed to ensure implementation.

The funding opportunity is open to joint teams (consortia) of participants from India and the U.S. An extremely wide variety of applicants are encouraged to partner: individual scientists/engineers, technical specialists, academic experts/academic institutions and universities, national laboratories, private corporations including clean-tech startups,
energy entrepreneurs, banks/financial institutions and others.

* * *
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) with our partners the Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI) and the Council on Energy,Environment and Water (CEEW) share the objective of making this funding opportunity a success, and are working to ensure that the highest caliber of talent in both countries is drawn into the process. We will be disseminating information we find relevant and would be happy to connect you with others in our networks (in both India and the U.S.) who are interested in exploring this funding opportunity. If for any reason you are unable to directly contact the U.S. and India secretariats regarding your queries and interest,

please feel free to reach out to us at (sreddy@nrdc.org or rkhosla@nrdc.org) since we will have a series of discussions to encourage this exciting collaborative opportunity.

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World Environment Day Festivities Kick Off In Delhi: Reforestation Projects & A Great Green Haat

world environment day 2011 forests at your service photo
All photos: Mat McDermott/Creative Commons

TreeHugger is on the ground in India, traveling with UNEP and the winner of our joint blogging contest Ximena Prugue for the next couple of days, attending World Environment Day 2011 activities in Delhi and Bangalore. Here’s a taste of the whirlwind schedule of day 1:

WED 2011 has the theme of Forests: Nature at Your Service so what better way to kick off everything than commemorating a reforestation project. Worth noting, in the photo at the top those aren’t the trees actually planted, rather they’re bonsai presented to various dignitaries in attendance.

world environment day 2011 jairam ramesh photo

Off among farmland in Mehrauli, just outside the city of Delhi proper but still within the city limits, on now-degraded land thousands of trees have been planted in an effort to reestablish forests, providing expanded wildlife habitat and ecosystem restoration–which as Indian environment minister Jairam Ramesh (above, talking with students attending the event) is keen to point out at every opportunity means improved livelihoods for people as well.

mehrauli reforestation project photo

mehrauli reforestation project photo

The photos above don’t really give a sense of scale to the project. Similar saplings have been planted, minus the commemorative plaques of course, over most of the area extending to the horizon in these photos.

world environment day 2011 ximena prugue photo

Above is Ximena, turning from writing to presenting in front of the camera. The days are packed here so no one has really had a chance to breathe, reflect and write much yet, but we’ll be featuring her writing on the site soon. In the meantime, follow her on Twitter: @ximenaphophena.

delhi haat green haat photo

Later in the day (after this much-jet lagged writer, exhausted from 36+ hours of travel attempted some sleep; Ximena should have some coverage of events in between…), the traveling roadshow of UNEP Executive Direction Achim Steiner + Jairam Ramesh moved on to Delhi Haat. At the outdoor market a special ‘Green Haat’ has been organized showcasing lots of great non-timber forest products such as herbal medicines, crafts, cosmetics, and organic foods.

delhi haat green haat achim steiner photo

delhi haat green haat photo

Top: Achim Steiner being shown some of the products being displayed and sold. Bottom: Every fair like this seems to have some sort of message board for people to sign, however this one had some cleverer-than-most responses viz “Wood is good, but woods are better” at the center.

All in all it was much more compelling than many similar green fairs I’ve attended in the United States. And I don’t say that just because of my natural attraction to the foods and crafts of India. At many fairs in the US there’s an air of the alternative, that the items on display are in sharp contrast to the norm. At the Green Haat the feeling was more of just showcasing the non-alternative, the traditional.

Indeed that showcasing on India’s natural and long-standing advantages in the area of handicraft, agriculture, in small-scale manufacturing was highlighted later in statements by various presenters. Minister Ramesh rightly pointed out that India has a thousands year old tradition in sustainable craft and manufacturing that is alive and well. It’s exactly the sort of thing that is a key (if certainly not only) part of developing a green economy.

Some other interesting and poignant points made during at the press portion of the Green Haat on Friday evening:

Achim Steiner highlighted something which needs to be said more, on renewable energy versus fossil fuels. Renewable energy may require more of an up front investment, but it only gets cheaper over time–both in terms of the energy becoming free once the materials and installation have been paid off, and in that those costs will only come down in the future once the technology becomes more widely used. In sharp contrast, fossil fuels (be they coal, natural gas, oil, or nuclear) are only going to rise in price. All are capable of and currently being depleted, and at increasing rates. That just means that they will go up in price as scarcity builds for them.

On World Environment Day itself, June 5th, there will be a special presentation about the role of women in environmentalism, but Jairam brought it up right away. It cannot be said enough, women have been at the forefront of environmental protection historically and continue to be, both in India and elsewhere. With the inherent connection between environment and health, environment and family, environment and livelihood, it is only natural. It’s not a political statement Ramesh said, when asked by a reporter, only a matter of fact that women are the leaders in this area.

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India improves, but still ranks 123 on green chart

India’s performance on global environment index has improved earning it the 123th rank, primarily because of progress made in renewables. And, this has earned kudos for India’s green industry from United Nations Environment Programme executive Director Achim Steiner. “India has invested a lot in gre

en economy,” Steiner said, while addressing Indian industry in the Capital on Friday but wanted the industry to raise the bar.

This comes after a global environment performance index released recently ranked India at 123 among 165 nations, a jump of three positions as compared to previous years. Iceland tops the ranking while Sierra Leone is at the bottom of the table.

But, that does not mean that Indians do not want more. Majority of Indians in a global survey by US based public opinion agency Gallup said they want the country to adopt green economy norms for development.

Indians are more likely to say they are satisfied with efforts to preserve the environment (45%) than the ones who say they are dissatisfied (38%), the survey said, adding that majority of is more concerned about environment than economic growth.

The Indian industry can boost of being green primarily because of gains made in solar generation. A study released by Ernst and Young this week ranked India among top three nations, after China and US, on renewable growth.

The high ranking was primarily on progress made in installing solar photo-voltaic to generate power and off shore wind energy turbines.

But environment minister Jairam Ramesh still feels that India is not doing enough in research and development of renewable to become world leader as it was in 1980s.

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Solar grows 40% over 2010: E&Y renewable country rankings

Ernst & Young released its latest Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Indices, which rank global renewable energy markets by investment strategies/infrastructures. The indices are quarterly.

The US’s strong solar adoption has it in second place, behind only China, according to the report, China remains on top due to offshore wind, and an aggressive five year RFP that specs 11.3% of energy from renewable sources by 2015. In solar indices, the US takes top honors, followed by India then China.

Many top-20 countries suffered from declining incentives and capital. Japan’s nuclear crisis threw the country’s energy environment into turmoil, and it dropped three places in the rankings.

Climbing on strong solar and wind power adoption, Morocoo and Taiwan moved up in the ranks, as did India.

Solar grew 40% since May 2010, thanks to cost and production drops. It proved more stable than wind this quarter. Gil Forer, global cleantech leader at Ernst & Young, points out:”It is important to overcome the misconception that renewable energy is too expensive, as we continue to see reduction in cost due to improvements in production and supply chain efficiencies as well as in technology.”

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China keeps top spot in Ernst & Young Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Indices

On May 26th, 2011, Ernst & Young released the latest edition of its global “Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Indices”, which states that China remains by far the most promising location to pursue future renewable energy business opportunities.

The report places the United States in second place and India in third, as well as stating that nations around the world are increasingly broadening the scope of their renewable energy portfolios amid “challenging market conditions”.

“It is clear that the solar sector faces both challenges and growth opportunities,” observes Ernst & Young Global Cleantech Leader Gil Forer. “This is a good time for solar companies to continue to focus on cost reduction efforts, supply chain efficiencies, risk management and capital management.”

China scores high on wind, PV

China has held top position since August 2010, and earned its highest score ever during the quarter. China scored particularly high on its wind index, but also on solar PV.

Ernst & Young states that the China’s latest five-year plan is its “greenest” to date, including a target of 11.3% of primary energy generated by non-fossil fuels by 2015.

Lower incentive levels, restricted access to capital limit wind, solar development

The report also notes a chilling effect that the global financial climate has had on renewable energy markets, noting that some sectors, such as solar, have fared better than wind or biomass.

Ernst & Young states that apart from Brazil, which increased four places, most nations have dropped slightly in scores, as the result of diminishing incentives and restricted access to capital.

CSP, offshore wind providing new opportunities

The United States remained in second place in the report, on the strength of solar CSP, solar PV and onshore wind potential. Ernst & Young states that the nation’s utility scale solar sector remains “healthy”.

The report also notes that the increasing commercial viability of different technologies including offshore wind and concentrated solar power (CSP) provide new opportunities.

Report an assessment of future potential

It is important to note that this report was not an assessment of progress in renewable energy, but rather of future business potential.

For example, the relatively low score of Denmark (#22) represents a restricted grid capacity and reduced tariff levels following installation of the greatest per-capita wind capacities in the world.

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Solar’s Outlook Dazzles

At the end of last year, the global photovoltaic market hit a cumulative installed capacity of 40 GW, of which 16.6 GW was added during 2010. A year of unprecedented growth saw new capacity more than double from 7.2 GW in 2009. Worldwide, solar PV already produces some 50 TWh each year. By 2015, though, capacity could climb to range from 131 GW to 196 GW.

These figures come from the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA), which recently presented its Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics until 2015. The trade group linked last year’s surge to soaring German and Italian markets. Germany continued to lead the PV market worldwide, with 7.4 GW installed over the year, while Italy added a substantial 2.3 GW.

Other countries with significant growth included the Czech Republic, which saw a 1.5 GW expansion in 2010, a rise unlikely to be sustained in 2011. Japan gained 990 MW, the United States 900 MW, and France 700 MW. Spain regained some ground by installing 370 MW after two years of strongly adverse conditions. Belgium connected more than 420 MW of PV.

Europe Leads the Way

In terms of global installed capacity, the EU leads with almost 30 GW installed as of 2010 — about 75% of global PV capacity, up from 70% in 2009. Japan (3.6 GW) and the USA (2.5 GW) are some way behind, while China has already entered the Top 10 of the world’s PV markets and should reach its first GW this year.

Across Europe, installations last year totalled 13.3 GW, outstripping 9.3 GW for wind to lead all renewable generation technologies in added capacity. In its expansion PV was second only to gas power plants, for which new capacity reached between 15.7 GW and 28 GW, depending on the source. EPIA, in fact, links global investment in gas — rather than nuclear and coal — with the growth in variable renewable generation sources such as PV and wind.

At its current pace of expansion, Europe could increase the percentage of its electricity generated from PV by one percentage point every two years, says EPIA. The continent’s annual increase in capacity has grown from less than 1 GW in 2003 to over 13 GW last year. Despite difficult financial and economic circumstances, 2010 was expected to show a major acceleration. But a 130% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) exceeded all expectations and almost matched the 145% from 2007 to 2008.

Global Growth Opportunities

While the EU has dominated the world market for years, and may continue to do so, the rest of the world clearly offers greater growth potential. PV can provide a sustainable solution to the energy needs of the ‘sunbelt’ countries around the equator. In this region PV can already compete with diesel generators for peak power generation without policy support

Driven by local and global energy demand, the fastest PV growth is expected to continue in China and India, followed by Southeast Asia, Latin America and the MENA countries. The PV potential of the sunbelt countries could range from 60 GW to 250 GW by 2020, and from 260 GW to 1100 GW in 2030, representing 27% to 58% of the forecast global installed PV capacity by then.

Currently, though, among countries outside Europe only Japan and the USA have more than 1 GW of installed PV capacity. China could reach that threshold quickly but medium-sized markets will need several years to reach the same level of development.

A global analysis reveals three leading zones that are developing PV in contrasting ways. The Asia-Pacific (APEC) region, reflecting its wealth and economic growth, is the second-placed region behind Europe. In addition to Japan and China, the APEC region covers: South Korea, where the market has slipped since 2008; Australia, with more than 300 MW installed in one year; Taiwan; and Thailand, where more than 2.5 GW may be installed in coming years. North America is the third region, with Canada developing steadily alongside the US to form a huge market with tremendous potential for growth.

Outside these three regions, the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region represents an untapped opportunity for the medium term. PV also shows great potential in South America and Africa, where electricity demand is expected to rise fast.

Forecasts to 2015

While growth in the EU in coming years could be low, or even negative, non-EU countries should more than pick up the slack from 2011 and 2012 onwards, ensuring continuous global PV market growth until 2015 and beyond.

In 2011, though, a market stagnation or even a small dip is not impossible. The speed of political decisions over 2010 and the start of 2011 acts as a reminder that PV will be incentive driven until competitiveness is reached in all of a country’s market segments. Yet EPIA believes market developments could raise global installed capacity in 2015 to between 131 GW and 196 GW, with 100 GW hit as soon as 2013.

A rapid global rebalancing could also be imminent, with the EU accounting for less than 40% of the world market by 2015 in the EPIA’s ‘Moderate’ scenario and about 45% in its ‘Policy-Driven’ scenario. While 2010 showed no sign of such a change, the rest of the world, and especially Asia, could prove a fertile market, even if the EU is likely to stay ahead in installed capacity over the next decade.

Production, which was once balanced between the EU and the rest of the world, is already growing faster in Asia, and particularly China. Modules are still mainly shipped to the EU, reflecting the smaller size of Asia’s market, although about half of the value of a PV system is currently created further downstream and closer to the consumers.

Anticipated growth in markets outside the EU would tend to reduce the mismatch between supply and demand. A current overcapacity should also further reduce module prices over coming years and thereby trigger more demand.

The disparity in installations between the EU and the rest of the world should decrease over the next five years. On the supply side, a rise in the relative share of transport in the cost of PV modules as module prices decrease should address the imbalance and encourage production closer to the end market. A continuing slide in PV module prices will also further erode the share of modules in the overall value of a PV system.

Production Overview

Unquestionably, global PV production capacity in 2010 considerably outstripped demand. Even so, several manufacturers announced plans to accelerate their capacity expansion.

This apparent contradiction extends from module manufacturers further upstream in the PV value chain. EPIA estimates that global production capacity for silicon could reach 370,000 tonnes next year, up from about 350,000 tonnes in 2010. Huge expansions have taken place since the 2005 and 2008 shortages, and many only came on-line last year. Various small Chinese players are being forced to shut down production while the largest established companies are announcing capacity increases of as much as 40,000 to 60,000 tonnes by 2012.

For wafers, global production capacity totalled 30-35 GW in 2010, of which more than 55% was in China. Germany accounts for more than 10% of global capacity, followed by Japan, Taiwan, Norway and the US.

Crystalline-silicon (c-Si) cell and module capacity is now mainly based in Asia. EPIA estimated global c-Si cell production at 27-28 GW in 2010. Almost half this capacity was in China, while Taiwan produced more than 15%, the EU more than 10%, Japan slightly less than 10%, and the US less than 5%. Module production capacities for c-Si were estimated slightly higher at 30-32 GW.

Global production of thin-film modules reached 3.5 GW in 2010. This is likely to increase to more than 5 GW in 2011 and might reach 6-8.5 GW in 2012.

Scaled Down Incentives

Three main factors have driven PV’s spectacular recent growth. Firstly, renewable energy is no longer a curiosity; PV has proven itself to be a viable energy source in all regions of the world. Secondly, price falls have brought PV close to grid parity in several countries, encouraging new investors. Finally, policymakers in key countries have introduced FiTs and other incentives that have helped develop markets, cut prices and raise investors’ awareness.

Over the last decade, global installed capacity has multiplied by 27, from 1.5 GW in 2000 to 39.5 GW in 2010 – an annual growth rate of 40%. Furthermore, that growth has proved to be sustainable, allowing the industry to develop at a stable rate.

The EU, having overtaken Japan, is now the clear leader in both market and installed capacity, thanks largely to German initiatives, which have also fed global expansion. In the rest of the world, the leading countries continue to be those that started installing PV even before the EU.

The market is expanding every year. In sunbelt countries, falling prices are bringing PV closer to grid parity and helping spread awareness of its potential. But the financial crisis and competition from other energy sources put pressure on policymakers to streamline incentives.

‘The currently installed global PV capacity produces power equivalent to the entire electricity consumption of countries like Greece, Romania or Switzerland,’ said Ingmar Wilhelm, EPIA’s president.

‘The evolution of the PV market in recent years has been heavily linked to the confidence and vision of… policymakers in supporting the development of the technology. Adequate support policies that have been driving the markets so far, such as the feed-in tariffs, must continue and be ever brought in tune with the declining cost curve of PV.’

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US keen to explore solar energy options in Punjab

The United States has expressed interest in exploring promotion of solar energy options in Punjab.

Greg O’Connor, Commercial Counselor at the US Embassy in New Delhi said Washington is keen to promote bilateral cooperation in the alternate and renewable energy sector, and added that American firms are ready to set up units in partnership with industries in Punjab and in other parts of India.

He and other US officials visiting Amritsar over the last three days said such cooperation could bring in a change in energy-starved India.

Representatives of American firms were in Punjab this week to learn about the commercial aspects and the opportunities available to them.

Preeta Nair of the US Consulate provided information on the broad functional areas for the promotion and development of solar photovoltaic-based technology and implementation of energy conservation.

Suneet Kochar, district president of the Confederation of Indian Industry , said that the visit by the American delegation should be seen as an an opportunity for Punjab.

He said that till a few years ago, the business environment in Punjab was dismal, and such business opportunities as being provided by the United States, would certainly boost industrial and business confidence in the state.

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U.S., India announce funding for clean energy research and development

Fulfilling an important step of the Partnership to Advance Clean Energy announced by President Obama and Prime Minister Singh

last November, India and the U.S. have announced funding commitments of 25 million dollars each to support the U.S.-India Joint Clean Energyesearch and Development Center (JCERDC).

According to U.S. Ambassador to India Timothy J. Roemer, “This is the first collaborative research effort of its kind, where Indian and U.S. researchers will be jointly selected. It elevates the U.S.-India clean energy cooperation to a new level and is a testament to the strength of our continued strategic partnership. We look forward to closer cooperation on clean energy between the technical experts of our two knowledge societies, and sharing the benefits of the collaborative research.”

The United States and India will provide awards in three priority areas: biofuels, building energy efficiency, and solar energy. These awards will support joint consortia of U.S. and India private sector companies, non-governmental organizations, research labs, or other organizations. Selected consortia will leverage government resources by contributing matching funding, totaling an additional 50 million dollars.

The JCERDC will be located in existing facilities in both countries.

Applications are due by August 16, 2011, with selections expected later this fall.

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