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How solar PV projects can earn carbon credits?

Renewable energy is helping many countries to complete its economic transformation and achieve energy security.  Solar energy is one of the most abundantly available forms of energy that is be a solution to our everi ncreasing energy demand. The Earth receives 174 petawatts (PW) of incoming solar radiation in the upper atmosphere. Out of that, approximately 30% is reflected back to space while the rest is absorbed by clouds, oceans and land masses. There are very few technologies available to harness solar energy and convert it into usable form. One of the well known technologies is the solar photovoltaic cell.  It is a device that converts solar radiations into electric current using the photoelectric effect. A number of solar photovoltaic cells when electrically connected to each other and mounted in a support structure or frame is called a photovoltaic module.

Solar PVSolar PV projects are growing worldwide due to its nature of converting solar energy directly into electricity. It is also a good option where grid electricity is economically univiable. Although the cost associated with solar PV projects are high but project developers are still interested in solar PV technologies by considering the future expansion in the industry. Many governments are providing subsidies e.g. feed in tariff, generation based incentives and other benefits for solar projects. Recently India proposed National Solar Mission under its National Action Plan on Climate Change to promote solar energy in the country.

Solar PV projects are environment friendly and help in reducing GHG emissions that would have otherwise occurred due to the fossil fuel based power generation. If the Solar PV plant starts injecting electricity in the grid, it can help to displace equal amount of electricity that would have otherwise been generated from the GHG intensive grid (Most of the power grid have electricity from coal based power plants).  Hence such projects are also eligible to earn carbon credits under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

CDM – It is an arrangement under the Kyoto Protocol allowing industrialized countries (called Annex 1 countries) with a GHG emission reduction targets to invest in projects that reduce emissions in developing countries as an alternative to more expensive emission reductions in their own countries.  Such projects can earn Carbon Credits in the form of GHG emission reductions (One carbon credit is equivalent to one ton of carbon dioxide). (Know more about CDM)

Presently, In India, only one Solar PV project is registered under the CDM and one project is awaiting registration. There are also other solar energy based CDM projects registered in India other than solar PV technologies. Following tables shows registered CDM projects from India under the solar PV and other solar energy category (Note: Data as on Nov 2011);

Registered CDM  projects –   Solar PV  

Ref No Project title Project Developer Registration Date Annual   emission reduction (Carbon Credits) Emission reductions till 2020 (Carbon Credits)

5129

Solar Power Generation Project  Reliance Industries Ltd. Requesting registration

7,184

9,585

4615

5 MW Solar PV Power Project in Sivagangai Village, Sivaganga District, Tamil Nadu M/s Sapphire Industrial Infrastructures Private Ltd. 16-May-11

7,862

12,816

 

Registered CDM  projects – Other solar energy

Ref No Project title Project Developer Registration Date Annual   emission reduction (Carbon Credits) Emission reductions till 2020 (Carbon Credits)
4024 iHOT – I water heating service Anu Solar Thermal Private Ltd. 10-Jan-11 28,350 2,84,757
3757 Bundled Solar Water Heater Project G K Energy Marketers Pvt Ltd 12-Nov-10 22,746 2,27,460
2699 D.light Rural Lighting Project D.light Energy Pvt Ltd 30-Oct-09 30,052 3,00,523
2279 Rural Education for Development Society (REDS) CDM Photovoltaic Lighting Project Rural Education for Development Society (REDS) 10-Aug-09 21,060 2,10,600
414 Solar steam for cooking and other applications Gadhia Solar Energy Systems Pvt Ltd. 22-Aug-06 562 9,056

Reference : UNFCCC

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