Steps of Site Identification and Project Pre-Feasibility

 

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Type of solar system: Ground Mounted Mounted   Support Scheme: Rajasthan Solar Policy
Size: Small Region: Rajasthan
Project Stages
Processes & Tasks

The first task towards project development is the identification of a suitable site. The project developer needs to identify a site and check its availability from local Patwari (Clerk level officer at state revenue department).

Description

The first step in project design and development is the site identification. This is undertaken by checking available sites with the local patwari at a place with suitable irradiation, access and evacuation infrastructure. The availability status and category of land are checked with patwari. At this stage a macro assessment of solar irradiation is required. In case the land is private its land categorization and willingness of the owner to sell the land must also be checked.

Authority Level

State

Authority Name

State Revenue Department (Patwari)

Specialist

Legal scrutiny for identified site is a must. This shall require legal due diligence for reviewing land records and deed (key papers) available for the site with the revenue department.

Type of Process step

Administrative/ Non-administrative

Duration
Minimum WeekAverage WeekMaximum Weeks
122

(Data based on market research)

Challenges

Developers spend considerable resources identifying project sites as project site identification requires identifying high irradiation area, land banks, access to road and railway infrastructure, water and the grid. There is a need for state intervention through either the development of integrated solar parks or identification of sites using plug and play model/s.

(Data based on market research)

Site specifications including level of solar irradiation at site, temperature and obstacles which may cast shadows need to be checked initially.

Description

Solar radiation assessment is a critical activity for setting up Solar projects. The quality of the resource also impacts the type of technology which may be used at a specific place for solar power generation.

A micro level of assessment is required at this stage. This activity shall assess solar resource attractiveness of the proposed site. This shall include assessment of parameters like

  • Global Horizontal Solar Radiation
  • Diffused Horizontal Solar Radiation
  • Direct Normal Solar Radiation
  • Wind Speed/Direction
  • Rain Accumulation
  • Air Temperature
  • Atmospheric Pressure (SLP) and
  • Relative Humidity.
Specialist

Technical experts with knowledge and experience of measuring irradiation levels using NASA and other data sets on solar irradiation level , India Meteorological Department (IMD), Solar Energy Centre, Center for Wind Energy Technology etc.

Type of Process step

Non –Administrative

Duration

Minimum Weeks

Average Weeks

Maximum Weeks

1

23

(Data based on market research)

Challenges

- Quality of solar radiation data available needs to be enhanced and need for increasing the number of resource monitoring stations. The success of projects depends majorly on solar radiation data as solar radiation defines the viability of the project and is critical for attaining financial closure.

- Satellite data generally has the following limitations:

  • The measurements are less accurate near mountains, oceans and large bodies of water

All measurements are essentially made at the top of the atmosphere and require atmospheric models to estimate the radiation near the ground.

(Data based on market research)

Reference/ Documents text

To improve availability of accurate solar irradiation data, several initiatives were taken by the MNRE:

  1. Update of data through a joint project between Solar Energy Centre (SEC) of the Ministry and IMD from 23 locations, monitoring solar irradiation parameters. The updated data has been posted on the Ministry’s website and is also available in IMD/MNRE Handbook of Solar Radiation.
  2. Cooperation between NREL (USA) and SEC of the MNRE has provided data which can be accessed in CD ROM form. These data sets contain high resolution solar resource maps in the form of NREL Solar Resource Maps and Toolkit for Northwest India.
  3. MNRE has taken an initiative to augment Solar Radiation Resource Assessment Stations (SRRAs) at sites of high potential for solar power generation, which is being implemented by C-WET, Chennai (Center for Wind Energy Technology). Around 51 stations have been set up that use high quality, high resolution equipment/instruments to assess and quantify solar radiation availability along with weather parameters to develop a Solar Atlas. Implementation of the project started in February 2011 and all stations have already been installed, completed and commissioned. The monthly average (daily) wise data received from each SRRA station is available with C-WET.
  4. Solar Insolation data made available by NASA under its Earth Science Enterprise program is also commonly used by the developers.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) under the Ministry of Science & Technology is the nodal agency for setting up/monitoring weather stations.  There are around 45 radiation observatories. The measurements for global solar-radiation diffuse solar radiation and direct normal incidence is being carried out at 39, 23 and 21 locations respectively spread across India.

Till now availability of site specific data has been a challenge and therefore developers and financial institutions have been using macro level data sources like NASA. Going forward as more micro level data becomes available; it would be better for developers to source and use this data for project planning.

The links below provides available database on solar resource assessment;

http://www.cwet.tn.nic.in/html/departments_srra.html

http://mnre.gov.in/National%20Renewable%20Energy%20Laboratory/start.html

Preferred land orientation is flat; the same must be assessed at this stage.  Other criteria include state of drainage system, dust percentage in air and soil strength to support structures.

Description

As land orientation should preferably be flat, considerations while identifying site must include;

  • degree of levelization,
  • a drainage system,
  • dust percentage in air
  • land/soil capacity to hold structures.
Specialist

Soil Testing Experts/ Geotechnical Engineers having understanding of soil and land mechanics

Type of Process step

Non-Administrative

Duration

Minimum Weeks

Average Weeks

Maximum Weeks

1

22

(Data based on market research)

Reference/ Documents text

Geological Department Data/ Geological Survey of India

Along with availability of labor at site, the security and local social support for power plant are important factors and shall also need to be assessed.

Description

Review the socio-economic conditions around the proposed site for development of the solar project. Review issues related to

  • security of the project and the systems,
  • possible threats in terms of security of employees,
  • Availability of labor & local support for the project.
Specialist

Local people

Type of Process step

Non-Administrative

Duration

Minimum Weeks

Average Weeks

Maximum Weeks

123

(Data based on market research)

Power evacuation feasibility must be checked which would include availability of adequate capacity at the transmission utilities sub- station, distance to sub-station, right of way issues etc. Connectivity to the site (road and rail) and distance from urban areas would also need to be examined for suitability. Accessibility of site by trucks and cranes is critical and must be assessed.

Description

The small scale projects under Rajasthan Solar Policy are to be connected at 33/11 KV substation on 33 KV side. A substation can have maximum of one small scale solar PV project.

The developer needs to undertake evacuation feasibility assessment starting from the nearest 33/11 KV sub-station and map the availability and capacity of the evacuation infrastructure. This feasibility identifies the:

  • Nearest substation for power evacuation
  • Evacuation capacity of the sub-station- to be checked with distribution  utility

The developer must also ascertain if right of way will not be an issue for the project once the development starts.

Authority Level

State

Authority Name

Local Distribution Utility

Regulation/ Policy Reference

Indian Electricity Grid Code (IEGC)—Part 5 Operating Code ,

Rajasthan State Grid Code

Specialist

Electrical engineers having grid interconnection experience

Type of Process step

Non-Administrative

Duration

Minimum Weeks

Average Weeks

Maximum Weeks

1

2

3

(Data based on market research)

Reference/ Documents text

Link for Rajasthan Grid Code and National Grid Code

www.rajenergy.com/gc-02.pdf

http://nldc.in/docs/gridcode.pdf

 

An appropriate Solar PV technology would be identified based on factors like space requirements and availability, available global radiation(GHI), climatic conditions- specially temperature and wind velocity, cost of technology (capital and O&M), projected CUF’s, risks associated with the technologies, need for trained manpower, level of commercial development and performance, availability of technology suppliers/ performance guarantees etc. All of these factors play a critical role in the identification of a suitable technology. For the selected technology, equipment providers are identified and selected.

Description

An appropriate Solar PV technology would need to be identified based on factors including past performance record, available global radiation(GHI), climatic conditions- specially temperature and wind velocity, cost of technology (capital and O&M), projected conversion efficiency/’s and consequent projected CUF’s, risks associated with the technologies, performance records, need for trained manpower, level of commercial development, availability of technology suppliers and adequate manufacturing capacity etc. All of these factors shall play a critical role in the identification of the technology.

Solar PV system can be developed using mono or polycrystalline silicon modules, commonly known as crystalline silicon or thin film modules. Other emerging technology options include concentrated solar photovoltaic which has a higher efficiency. Tracking systems also have the ability to enhance performance but come at a high cost. Selection of a particular technology set would depend on factors like cost and availability of space, radiation profile, performance of solar cells/ modules based on temperature, light absorption ability, cost of performance enhancing applications like trackers and their efficiency under local working conditions.

It is recommended that a technology having an established track record and credible technology providers need to be selected.

It is also required that technology standards and specifications across the globe and in local context be adhered to. Thus international electrical code for PV and grid tie inverters and local specifications of MNRE/Solar Energy Centre (SEC) must be checked and adhered to. The technology provider chosen must provide equipment which conforms to IEC standards for solar PV modules and inverters. The use of specific PV DC cables is also recommended.

Specialist

Technology experts with understanding of technology performance and supply chain characteristics.

Type of Process step

Non-Administrative

Duration

Minimum Weeks

Average Weeks

Maximum Weeks

1

2

3

(Data based on market research)

Reference/ Documents text

Link for information on minimum technical requirement of SPV plants

http://mnre.gov.in/file-manager/UserFiles/minimal_technical_requirements_spvplants_201213.pdf

Preliminary calculations on the overall cost and generation would be assessed to establish project financial viability. This activity is a go/no-go assessment for the project.

Description

Assessment of the project cost, investment requirement, cash-flow projections & expected return and financial viability of the project is critical. The pre-feasibility assessment and report shall cover the risk return assessment for the project and map the key macro risks and barriers likely to impact the viability of the project from design, implementation to operation. At the macro level assessment of following must be made:

  • Development Cost
  • Engineering Cost
  • Land Cost
  • Equipment Cost
  • Construction Cost
  • Operational Cost
  • Revenue
  • Benefits/Incentives
  • Funds Availability
  • Cash Flow
  • Returns
Specialist

Solar PV technology experts, Budgeting and Finance experts/ Owners Engineers to estimate the overall costing and returns

Type of Process step

Non-Administrative 

Duration

Minimum Weeks

Average Weeks

Maximum Weeks

1

2

3

(Data based on market research)