MNRE to set up a renewable energy standardisation cell

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) plans to set up a renewable energy standardisation cell. The objective of the cell is to identify the areas in renewable energy where standards need to be developed and identify international standards such as International Organization for Standardization and International Electrotechnical Commission for applications in Indian climatic conditions. In case of any modifications, they should be first done and tried in test laboratories for revision suitable for the country’s climatic conditions. According to the ministry, the standardisation cell will interact with the relevant subject experts from research and development institutions, test labs, industries, and Bureau of Indian Standards to seek inputs for developing and updating Indian standards in the relevant subjects.

Since the expected life cycle of a solar power plant spans about a quarter of a century, the durability of solar panels is extremely important. The quality of panels and all other components in a solar power plant directly impacts the cost of energy, revenues and return on investment for project developers and operators. Quality control, therefore, is crucial to generate the best output from a solar power plant. While manufacturers are moving towards the adoption of new technologies, the lack of technology standards makes critical decision-making difficult.

Quality control is required at two stages in the solar power value chain. First, it is required in the manufacturing process to ensure the production of quality components. Second, stringent quality control is also required during the daily operations of power plants to ensure optimal performance. The use of low quality products at such critical stages impacts the performance of solar plants.

Amid declining tariffs, shrinking profit margins and intense competition, there is a need to ensure that the product quality is not compromised. Cutting corners to save costs severely hampers power generation. For developers, while such products may be cheaper in the short run, they are detrimental to the overall project health.

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