Media Item

Extra Space Storage goes Solar

by John | Category solarpanels | Aug 16th, 2017

Extra Space Storage is the second largest operator of self-storage facilities in the US. They are a national owner, developer, acquirer and operator of professionally managed self-storage properties. When Extra Space Storage Management saw how much they could save through our retrofit program, as well as the short ROI period, we started working immediately.


The scope of the project was enormous. 240 individual storage facilities would need to receive custom audits, reports, proposals and retrofit installations. Installation teams would ultimately need to perform retrofits in 13 states, from Hawaii to Massachusetts.


Project management set up a logistics plan that included team depth, facility management availability and even local weather conditions. Working Eastward, the teams arrived on site with the pre-ordered fixtures and an approved project master plan. Then, up to six teams worked concurrently to complete an average of 24 facilities per month.

New guidelines for solar power procurement to bring confidence to the sector

by SANGEETHA SURESH | Category solarpanels | Aug 19th, 2017

The Ministry of Power has issued new “Guidelines for tariff based competitive bidding process” for solar power plants. The guidelines shall be applicable to all projects equal to or greater than 5 MW for supplying power directly/ indirectly to DISCOMs subject to approval from the respective central or state regulator. For the first time in the sector, the government also proposes to issue standard bid documents including request for selection, PPA and other ancillary documents. The proposed changes, while still not going far enough, are a major improvement on the current framework. Introduction of standard documentation, in particular, will be of major help to developers and investors. Significant changes are discussed below:

Readiness of project site:

The guidelines specify strict timelines for completion of land acquisition, transmission connectivity and other approvals in a timebound manner to avoid project delays. If the power purchaser retains responsibility for these in the form of a solar park, then it must ensure that: i) at the time of bidding, 100% of land is identified and proof of in-principle availability of 25% of land is in place; and ii) within one month of PPA signing, 90% of land is acquired and balance 10% is acquired in the next two months. All statutory clearances and transmission connectivity feasibility should be available prior to PPA signing. If there is no solar park available, the developer must: i) have identified 100% of land requirement at the time of bid submission and complete full land acquisition within 7 months from the date of PPA signing. It must also ensure that environment/forest clearances, approval for water and transmission technical feasibility are available.

Payment security mechanism:

In addition to a letter of credit for one-month billing, the power purchaser (DISCOM or an intermediary buyer such as NTPC/SECI) needs to establish a payment security fund equivalent to three-month billing amount. This is a major improvement over current practice and will help in reducing DISCOM payment risk perception. Where DISCOMs are buying power through an intermediary entity such as NTPC/ SECI, they are required to procure a state government guarantee in favour of NTPC/ SECI if a tripartite agreement between the respective state government, Reserve Bank of India and the central government is not in place.

What is expected of India’s new power minister?

by SANGEETHA SURESH | Category solarpanels | Aug 19th, 2017

In a major cabinet reshuffle yesterday, India’s erstwhile Minister of Power and Renewable Energy, Piyush Goyal, demitted office to become the new Minister of Railways. R.K. Singh, an erstwhile bureaucrat and now a Member of Parliament, has been appointed as the new minister. During the 40 months of his tenure, Piyush Goyal initiated important supply side reforms including allocation of coal linkages, increase in domestic coal production, solar parks policy and green corridors program. In this time, thermal power capacity has grown by 60 GW, renewable power capacity by 23 GW and transmission capacity by an aggregate of 25%. Not accounting for latent power demand, these steps have turned India from chronically power deficit to a power surplus country.

Surplus power situation, if not addressed through adequate demand side reforms, will affect renewable sector prospects; Rural electrification is unlikely to result in any tangible growth in power demand but may actually increase financial burden on DISCOMs; The incoming minister’s priorities should be to rationalize pricing of power, enforce operational improvements in DISCOMs, deal with the ‘Make in India’ conundrum and improve investor confidence in the sector; However, power pricing and demand side reforms have not kept pace. Despite UDAY scheme’s success in eliminating USD 36 billion of debt from DISCOMs and rapid electrification agenda, power demand has grown by a CAGR of only 4.5% in the last three years. Thermal power plants are now operating at average PLF of less than 60% as against an expected 75-80%. Resulting stress is percolating to other parts of the sector including renewables where many tenders have been scrapped and PPAs face the risk of renegotiation. The Finance Ministry has called for rationalization of renewable capacity addition and we believe that utility scale solar capacity addition will slow down over the next two years. Now, the government is moving to restrict open access market (elaborated below). These quick fixes may help thermal IPPs and DISCOMs in the short-term, but are bound to hurt renewable energy prospects.

As the government pushes ‘Make in India,’ focus for the new minister should be power pricing reforms to make manufacturing more competitive and boost power demand. It is worth noting here that power tariffs for industrial consumers are higher in India than in many western economies. Other pressing issues of the hour are anti-dumping duty petition for solar module imports and flagging investor confidence in the sector. Many leading international and Indian investors have entered this market attracted by large scale and strong government commitment. They need validation of their business strategy and reassurance that contracts will be duly enforced to protect their interest.

India to add 9.4 GW of solar capacity in 2017

by BRIDGE TO INDIA | Category solarpanels | Aug 19th, 2017

We have released our latest report – India Solar Compass – a quarterly update on the Indian solar market. The report contains key information and analysis including tender and project updates, leading players, financing deal flow, policy and market trends etc for Q2 2017 as well as our market forecasts for the upcoming quarters. Q2 2017 was a landmark period in the Indian solar sector with tariffs falling below the critical threshold of INR 3.00/ kWh making solar power the cheapest new source of power in India. But this has led to all sorts of problems. As we commented in a recent blog, “Falling tariffs are a double-edged sword for the sector. They make solar power more attractive for consumers but are also making investors and lenders jittery. In the near term, they are also creating uncertainty in the minds of policy makers and creating new risks for older projects auctioned at 2-3x higher tariffs.”

  • India is expected to become the third biggest solar market worldwide in 2017 with estimated utility scale and rooftop solar capacity addition of 8.4 GW and 1.1 GW respectively;
  • Rising competition is squeezing investor returns in both primary and secondary markets;
  • Even as long-term market prospects remain bright, the sector faces considerable headwinds from module price rises, tender cancellations, GST and anti-dumping duty related uncertainties in the short run;


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