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Govt to raise benchmark costs for concentrating solar thermal projects in India

CST-SOLAR

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), proposes an upward revision of the benchmark cost of Concentrating Solar Thermal (CST) Technologies Programme.

The proposed revision in the benchmark will also accommodate increase in the cost of various components of CST systems, the government said.

UPDATE: There is some confusion about whether benchmark costs have been increased or decreased. The original statement from the govt is given below:

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), proposes an upward revision of the benchmark cost of Concentrating Solar Thermal (CST) Technologies Programme. The initiative is taken with the aim to promote energy efficiency.

The benchmark cost will be related to the performance efficiency in design and manufacturing of systems so that smaller systems could deliver more energy in a cost effective manner. The existing benchmark costs of the CST systems were developed under “off-grid & decentralised solar application” scheme of the National Solar Mission in 2010. The Ministry has also invited public suggestions on the same by the 15 Feb, 2016.

The CST systems include Non-Imaging compound (NIC) parabolic reflectors, Single Axis Automatic Tracked (Scheffler, PTC, LFR etc.), and Dual Axis Automatic Tracked (Paraboloid Dishes, Central Tower etc.). The proposed revision in the Benchmark cost on the basis of instantaneous heat output/ heat delivery from CST systems will also accommodate increase in the cost of various components of CST systems.

Benchmark costs are used as a starting point when bids are invited for award of solar power projects by government agencies. Usually, companies have to quote a percentage discount on top of the benchmark rates (in terms of price per kilowatthour of power supplied.)

Concentrating Solar Thermal power projects have not taken off in India in the same way that Photovoltaic or PV projects have, largely because of higher costs. Average bids have been around Rs 10 per unit, while PV project bids are around Rs 4.4 per kWh.

The government said The initiative is taken with the aim to promote energy efficiency.

“The benchmark cost will be related to the performance efficiency in design and manufacturing of systems so that smaller systems could deliver more energy in a cost effective manner.”

The existing benchmark costs of the CST systems were developed under “off-grid & decentralised solar application” scheme of the National Solar Mission in 2010. The Ministry has also invited public suggestions on the same by the 15 Feb, 2016.

The CST systems include Non-Imaging compound (NIC) parabolic reflectors, Single Axis Automatic Tracked (Scheffler, PTC, LFR etc.), and Dual Axis Automatic Tracked (Paraboloid Dishes, Central Tower etc.)

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