Rock-bottom solar power tariffs might spell good news for consumers and the environment alike, but for developers, it is now a matter of concern. Ironically, the problem is of their own making to a large extent. With aggressive bidding, solar power tariffs have been pulled down to Rs 2.42-2.65 per unit in the latest rounds, and this has made it difficult for companies to stay afloat. As a result, they have been sourcing inferior quality equipment like rooftop solar panels, inverters and mounting structures.
As Niranjan Patil, head of Bengaluru-based renewable energy consulting and audit firm Lavancha, points out, this has resulted in complaints of cracked solar panels and corrosion of components in less than two-three years of installation across the country.
And while suppliers offer guarantees and warranties for replacement, enforcing these becomes a challenge when products are sourced from tier-2 and tier-3 producers in China. Sources indicate that smaller suppliers vanishing in a few years is also not uncommon. Gyanesh Chaudhary, MD and CEO of Vikram Solar, India’s largest supplier of Solar PV panels, says the problem has always existed, but is likely to become a serious issue when many more projects come on-stream over the next couple of years. Read More…
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