Soon, ‘star ratings’ for solar PV panels

Twesh Mishra New Delhi | Updated on December 17, 2019

The government had set a target of 40,000 MW of rooftop capacity to be set up by 2022, but the tally now is only 4,400 MW, according to the consultancy Mercom.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) are close to finalising a star rating mechanism for solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels.

This is significant because till now the efficiency of energy generation equipment was not rated by the BEE and ratings were largely limited to household appliances such as air conditioners, fans and LED bulbs.

According to officials, the efficiency of panels will be assessed while factoring the energy output over the area covered by the panels. These panels will also be assessed on the annual degradation of PV equipment that leads to lowering of energy output.

“Solar PV panels with better star ratings will be more efficient in terms of energy generation and are more resilient to India’s climate. One of the biggest impediments to the proliferation of solar energy in the country is the vast variations in climate and the inability of deployed PV panels to resist degradation,” an official aware of the development told BusinessLine.

The official said, “Currently there is no parameter to pre-assess the quality and energy output sustainability of panels installed in the solar power generation projects.”

The norms for these ratings have been finalised and proposed by the BEE. Now, the MNRE is to take a final call on their deployment.

“While the solar power project developer commits to supply a certain quantity and quality of power, there is no pre-assessment or certification of whether the deployed panels are capable of supplying energy over the duration of the power purchase agreement (usually 25 years),” the official added.

The BEE rating for solar PV panels is an extension of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) specification for the same that were enforced in January this year. While the BIS norms ensured compatibility and safety of equipment, the BEE ratings will cater to quality of power supplied.

“These BEE ratings can become a mandatory requirement for equipment to be deployed in government tenders once instituted,” said an official at a solar power project developer.

Published on December 17, 2019

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