Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Key Comparative findings from Customer Satisfaction Survey of Shajapur, Ujjain & Dewas districts of MP

A comparative view of top level findings is shown here, developed using the location specific reports of Shajapur, Ujjain & Dewas available here along with 6 other districts in Madhya Pradesh (MP).

See our earlier blog:

The analysis shows that in the above 3 districts, a substantial percentage of dissatisfaction in
Customers is coming due to 2 factors, namely 'Communication' & 'Price'.

The overall Satisfaction score on being computed
(on scale of 0-100 with 100 being all respondents 'very satisfied'):

Communication Price
Shajapur 33.68 30.76
Ujjain 27.09 32.77
Dewas 24.50 20.90

The main reasons for higher dissatisfaction across the 3 districts as indicated by the customers are due to following:
  • Less 'Awareness' from Utility regarding the attributes 'Energy Efficiency' & 'Consumer Rights'
  • Less communication for 'Advance notice about disruption'
  • 'Power Tariff & its variations' is High

Monday, September 12, 2011

Existing grid connected Solar PV Plants in India

MNRE has recently released the list of all grid operating solar PV projects in India (latest updated as on July 2011. See the detailed list here and also below).

Friday, September 9, 2011

Comparative findings from Customer Satisfaction Survey of Sagar, Satna & Narsinghpur districts of MP

This is a comparative view of top level findings developed using the location specific reports of Sagar, Satna & Narsinghpur available here along with 6 other districts in Madhya Pradesh (MP).

See our earlier blog:

Power Quality & Reliability (PQ&R) and Customer Service (CS) are the 2 factors which needs immediate improvements in all the three districts.

The overall Satisfaction Score is as follows (on scale of 0-100 with 100 being all respondents 'very satisfied'):
Sagar 27.02 21.39
Satna 30.56 27.56
Narsinghpur 29.30 29.31

The primary reasons for high dissatisfaction across the 3 districts as indicated by the customers are due to following:
  • Frequent interruptions in 'Voltage Stability',
  • 'Breakdown Restoration Time' is long,
  • Recurrent 'Unplanned Outages'

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Proposed Rural Energy Services Company (RESCO) Model to scale-up Rural Energy

Earlier blog 'Poor Rural Energy access & delivery inspite 'High Need' and 'High Willingness to Pay' discussed the key issues in raising a scalable delivery model for Rural Energy/Electricity. This blog propose a potential model to attend to this cause. All discussions on the model are invited with broad objective to engage with right stakeholders to pilot a workable solution. The growing interest in Rural Franchisees could provide such an opportunity. 

A Rural Energy Services Company (RESCO) model is an exploratory institutional framework which will manage risks via a systematic analysis of information from various stakeholders in order to fulfill the energy needs of the rural consumers and the requirements of financial viability for all the participants in the energy supply chain.  This model complements the basic functionalities of energy services companies (that currently operate in either government or private sectors) with elements which are essential to the success of integrated last mile energy delivery to rural localities. Some of the features of the RESCO model, its functions and benefits to the rural energy economy are as follows:
Proposed Rural Energy Services Co. (RESCO) model (Source: pManifold & IFMR Trust)

Poor Rural Energy access & delivery inspite 'High Need' and 'High Willingness to Pay'

The term rural electrification conjures up a variety of images - from Shah Rukh Khan dramatically generating hydro-electricity in the Bollywood film ‘Swades’ to the more mundane government schemes extending distribution infrastructure to far flung villages in India. But for all the efforts invested in this idea and the buzz which it generates, it is sobering that there has been no substantial change in the status-quo of a typical Indian village chosen at random.

The remoteness and scattered topology of many villages makes electification via grid accessibility a non-viable option for them. Even in cases where the government has been able to extend  the national grid, difficulties with O&M, billing, collection, high Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT&C) losses and poorly targeted subsidies causes a net loss to utilities which is a barrier to their ability to sustainably and continuously serve the rural areas. The poor quality of supply and services in addition to misleading political promises tends to further reduce people’s participation in the process resulting in abuse of the infrastructure. This failed last mile distribution has limited the benefits of private distributed generation (biomass, solar, hydro, wind etc.) to villagers, since utilities do not have financial incentives to serve the rural feeders with high costing power.  Ironically lower affordability by rural users is the most cited concern, despite the fact that they pay much more for energy usage than their urban counterparts.

A low-income rural household without electricity connection consumes on average 2-3 litres of kerosene per month for lighting, the cost of which escalates further if kerosene cannot be procured via the public distribution system. This scenario has given rise to a large market for local Diesel Genset (DG) operators, with usually 2 of them serving around 300 households. They supply 5 hours of power per day for a single 8W CFL bulb per household at a bartered rate of 2 litres of kerosene or Rs. 50 per month. Each household therefore pays Rs. 26 per month (when paid in terms of 2 litres public distribution system sold kerosene), equivalent to Rs. 22 per unit of electricity (kWh), which is at-least five times the rate paid by a grid connected user. The DG operator’s running expense comes out to be Rs. 20 per consumer per month for which he gets Rs. 50. DG distribution, other than its cost economics and environmental effects, is a good delivery model on account of its portability, easy access to fuel, reliable supply, flexible payment options and local ownership.

Key Solar Players in India in Solar Cell & Module manufacturing

The guidelines for second batch under Phase I of Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) were announced recently by Ministry of New and Renewable Eneergy (MNRE) . The excerpts of the guidelines are captured in our previous blog.

To give strong impetus in promoting domestic manufacturing, the developers are expected to procure their project components from domestic manufacturers. For Solar Photo-voltaic (PV) projects using Crystalline technology, to be selected in second batch during FY 2011-12, it is mandatory for all the projects to use cells and modules manufactured in India. However, Thin film and Concentrated PV (CPV) has no such domestic limitations.

In view of the above, the list of major Indian players in Solar Cell and Module manufacturing along with Technologies are mentioned below:-

Sr. No. Company Name Solar Cells Solar Modules Crystalline Silicon Thin Film
1 Moser Baer PV Pvt. Ltd. Yes Yes Polysilicon Amorphous-Silicon
2 Titan Energy Systems Ltd. - Yes Monosilicon & Polysilicon Amorphous-Silicon & Copper Indium Gallium Selenide
3 Maharishi Solar Technology Pvt. Ltd. Yes Yes Polysilicon -
4 Tata BP Solar Yes Yes Monosilicon & Polysilicon -
5 Solar Semiconductors Yes Yes Monosilicon & Polysilicon -
6 Central Electronics Ltd. Yes Yes Monosilicon -
7 BHEL Yes Yes Monosilicon -
8 Lanco Solar Pvt. Ltd. Yes Yes Monosilicon & Polysilicon -
9 Signet Solar - Yes - Amorphous-Silicon
10 Webel Solar Yes Yes Monosilicon -
11 Indosolar Yes - Monosilicon & Polysilicon -
12 PLG Power Ltd. Yes Yes Polysilicon -

The above list may not be a complete and comprehensive list, but it gives an overall and fair representation of players involved in manufacturing of solar cells and modules.
  • What is to be seen if the domestic content constraint on Crystalline technology and its relative higher costs compared to Thin film will force new projects to go with Thin film technology
  • Also there will be competition amongst Crystalline panel manufacturing players to get share of batch-2 projects and this could drive new market dynamics
pManifold as part of its Solar practice offer services to properly reveal and pen down the technology, cost and performance trade-offs. (See pManifold services in Solar for more details)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Solar PV System Workshop -Technology, Risks, Manufacturing, EPC, O&M and Investment

pManifold as Knowledge Partner to IIES 2011 organized a workshop on 'Solar PV System – Technology, Risks, Manufacturing, EPC, O&M, Investment'. The workshop brought best Industry experts and participants through out the country.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Leveraging Customer Perspective for a stronger Onsite, Local Due-Diligence in Pre-Bid phase

Consumer centricity has returned or finding its way into most of the businesses in emerging economy like India. Consumer 'needs' and 'willingness to pay' for good quality products and services is driving a whole new era of competition. It first started in luxury industry with high economy class consumers, where there was established 'willingness to pay' for better services and then slowly start penetrating into other sectors and also lower economic classes and raising their 'aspirations'. These phenomenon is creating a whole new market and driving innovations from bottom-to-top. The aviation, telecom (mobile and internet) and various other industries has seen this Consumer cycle. India's Power Distribution sector has begin its journey of enabling 'diversity' and adding more 'choices' to its electricity customers. Like other sectors, the cycle first began with high volume or developed consumers through 'top-down' innovation like 'Open Access' and now we have started hearing of 'bottom-up' innovation like 'Pre-paid metering', 'Net-metering' and 'Distributed Generation based Distributed Franchisee (DGBDF)'.

The to-be leaders in the Power Distribution space will soon have to learn this change that is sweeping the country and include the end-consumers into the designing and co-creation of solutions and soon also accept equally the urban and rural consumer mix to drive bottom-top innovation. The new saga is to forgo or overcome references like BPL, APL, agri (or rural), tariff subsidies and free power, but start innovating scalable ventures to meet the needs and challenge. Grameen Micro Financing model first innovated at Bangladesh is now widely accepted and MFI is a very big and fast growing industry with strong developing linkages to the main streamline capital industry through various derivatives.

Remember this all begins with a 3 letter word - KYC i.e. 'Know Your Customer'. Its an important phase after you are done with Market Analysis through KYM i.e. 'Know Your Markets'. KYC should be a pre-cursor for high confidence KYI i.e. 'Know Your Investments'.

Our recent discussions with prospective bidders for Distribution Franchisee tenders in 9 districts of Madhya Pradesh (MP) was full of encouragement for our recently conducted 'Customer Satisfaction study for Electric Utilities' in those regions.
  • Most companies easily perceived our work's importance to operating  Distribution Franchisee post the bid win for regular (internal & external) benchmarking of Customer Satisfaction to evaluate and better prioritize their system investments and efforts.
  • Almost all experienced companies in running Distribution extended the applicability of our Customer Satisfaction research also to the pre-bidding phase. They found it will add an important perspective to their already on-ground technical due-diligence and help them validate their assumptions on Capex and Opex plans for bidding. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Bid Analytics for JNNSM Batch-1 Solar PV projects

1000 MW Phase-1 under JNNSM by 2012

Under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM), the total aggregated capacity of grid connected Solar Projects in Phase-1 shall be 1000 MW. The deployment of Solar PV and Solar Thermal projects shall be in the ratio of 50:50. The allocation of capacities in Phase-1 is done in two batches and over two financial years  i.e., 2010-2011 and 2011-2012. The total capacity of Solar PV projects to be selected in First Batch i.e., in FY 2010-11 was limited to 150 MW. The Projects for remaining capacity of 350 MW for Solar PV Projects will be selected in current Second Batch i.e., in FY 2011-12 (See detailed guidelines from earlier post 'Solar JNNSM Batch-2 pickup - RfS deadline 23 Sep').  Grid connected Solar Thermal power projects of an aggregate capacity of 500 MW have already been selected in FY 2010-11.

Bid Analytics of Batch-1 JNNSM Solar PV Projects

The mission has designated NTPC’s Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Limited (NVVN) as the nodal agency for procurement of solar power. On 18th August 2010, NVVN invited Request for Selection (RfS) from interested developers to develop 150 MW solar PV projects with a capacity of 5 MW each, and 500 MW solar thermal projects with a minimum capacity of 5 MW and maximum of 100 MW each. The last date for receiving the RFS was September 24, 2010. NVVN received 418 RfS from both PV and Solar Thermal project developers. Out of the total of 418 requests, 343 were applications for solar PV and 55 for Solar Thermal.

The interest in investor community was high with Solar PV receiving 343 applications (x 5MW = Total 1715 MW) against requirements for 30 projects (total 150 MW) i.e. 11.43 times higher application. The process then went into 'reverse bidding' to select only 30 bidders, with winner being the company that can offer highest discount to base set tariff rate of Rs. 17.91 per kWh. 

The 'winner' 30 bids for solar PV under Batch-1 varied from Rs. 10.95/kWh to Rs. 12.76/kWh, at an average bid price of Rs. 12.15/kWh.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Rural Franchisees - Could they become pilot ground to raise next level of Distribution services?

A recent publication from Prayas on 'Rajiv Gandhi Rural Electrification Program - Urgent need for mid-course correction' gave a very good overview of RGGVY program, its features and progress. Some key observations made:
  1. Total 1.1 lakhs Rural Franchisees in India (detailed distribution given below)
    • This covers only 19% of total villages in the country including both the RGGVY and non-RGGVY villages 
    • Only 38% RGGVY villages are covered under Franchisees, when all are supposed to have mandatory Rural Franchisees
    • 95% of total Rural Franchisees are Revenue Collection based Franchisees
    • Bihar, Gujarat (91%), Haryana (91%), Karnataka (73%), Nagaland, UP and West Bengal have above national average (i.e. 19%) Rural Franchisees in RGGVY villages
  2. Rs. 26000 cr. already spent in last 6 years since 2005 and estimated another same amount to be spent (totaling to Rs. 52000 cr.) for coverage of RGGVY original targets of 100% village electrification and 2.34 cr. rural BPL household connections.
    • Since 2005, 96562 villages have been electrified raising the level of ‘village electrification ’ from 74% to 91%. (Total villages in India is ~6 lacs, out of which 1.25 lacs did not have access to electricity in 2005)
    • Since 2005, 1.75 crores rural households are given new connections raising the level of ‘rural household electrification’ from 43% to 56%. (Total # of rural households in India is ~14.5 crores, out of which 7.8 crores did not have access to electricity in 2005)
  3. By estimate of investment, of order Rs. 52000 cr., RGGVY scheme is comparable to R-APDRP scheme of GoI. 
State-wise Rural Franchisee distribution in India (Source: MoP website)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Solar JNNSM Batch-2 pickup - RfS deadline 23 Sep

The guidelines for batch-2 of JNNSM are announced by MNRE and available here. NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam (NVVN) has issued the Request for Selection (RfS) document due date for submission as 23 September 2011.

Some important considerations in the guidelines
  1. Plant Size:
    • Total capacity under bidding – 350 MW
    • Minimum capacity of a single PV plant – 5 MW
    • Maximum capacity of a single PV plant raised to 20 MW.
    • Plant capacity will be in multiples of 5MW. In other words, a developer can bid for projects of size 5 MW, 10 MW, 15 MW or 20 MW.
  2. Company structuring:
    • A company in any form (including parent, affiliate, ultimate or any group company) can bid for a maximum of 3 projects totaling 50MW.
    • Foreign companies can participate in the bidding process. But before signing of the PPA, they have to form an Indian company registered under the Companies Act, 1956
    • Controlling shareholder of the project must maintain 50% share for 1 year (up from 26% in earlier Batch-1 RfS)
  3. Financial selection criterion:
    • Minimum Net worth of Rs. 3 Crore/MW upto 20 MW size of project and there after Rs. 2 Crore/MW. Share premium not to form part of the Net worth calculation. Also Net worth to be established atleast 7 days prior to RfS submission.
  4. Technology selection criterion:
    • Domestic requirement – Both cells and modules have to be manufactured in India. This domestic content requirement does not apply for Thin film and Concentrating Photovoltaic(CPV) technologies.
    • The bidder will have to deploy only commercially proven technology – those that have at least one project successfully operational for at least  one year, anywhere in the world.
    • Inter-connection authorization letter from State Transmission company to allow evacuation of power at voltage level 33KV and above.