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  • Sensational. but that is all


    but that is all that it is.

    1> good that someone is able to bring down the cost of expensive solar power. I hope that is not what people are complaining about.

    2> economies of scale bringing the levelised cost over 25 years Down. Economies of scale in a depressed panel market and a depressed steel markets sounds interesting. One shoul point out here that the biggest sensitivity to levelised cost is ROI and ROE, depending on debt equity ratio. So what economies of scale might have done is reduced the bank risk an thereby brought down the ROI enough to win bids. Subtle but major difference.

    anyway why the fuss? we are paying less for expensive power no? and that is the larger point. Systems must assure lowest average price and installation. Lanco going for 40% will also mean they cant afford not to put up the systems because now the total money they will lose if they fail to set up the system is substantial.

    these are the positive points of what is happening

    Posted by: Anonymous | 7 years ago | Reply
  • I agree on above. I wonder

    I agree on above.

    I wonder why the magazine is writing "Cornering the Public Money" when the projects were allocated to people after bidding, which means lowest bid- so public money actually saved.

    It gets really sad when magazines try to sensationalize something pretty irrelevant just get eye balls.

    By the way, I'll be very interested to know how do you keep your magazine afloat - definitely the circulation cannot bring in the money to employ 105 people full time. Do you accept donations or did u accept donations from "unnamed corporate entity" to publish this?

    PS: I am sure there are bigger and genuine scoops where you could concentrate your resources. Try Gujarat, you can make a case for genuine cornering of public money by a "unnamed corporate entity" :-)

    Posted by: Anonymous | 7 years ago | Reply
  • What will the MNRE and the

    What will the MNRE and the NTPC gain out of going ahead with this scandal? Considering there indeed were obvious signs of illegality that could have been checked by them but weren't.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 7 years ago | Reply
  • It's a scam. Laws were

    It's a scam. Laws were broken. This couldn't have happened without MNRE and NVVN connivance. These projects should be cancelled

    Posted by: Anonymous | 7 years ago | Reply
  • It is important to put the

    It is important to put the solar scam issue into perspective. We need solar energy, we need affordable solar energy, but we also need clean and regulated solar energy companies so that we can build a sector which is capable of innovation and healthy competition. In this case, we have found that LANCO has violated all guidelines and worse, has used the most offensive of corporate practices -- everything from forming shell companies to deceit -- to get the projects sanctioned. 

    The question is how did this happen? Why were government agencies not vigilant enough to check this malpractice? Does this mean that these agencies will turn a blind eye or actively connive even on other matters that concern solar energy? How will this then build an energy system for the future? Will it? Our investigation also shows that these companies rigged the tendering process by bidding rates with a difference of just 5 paise between all projects. This is not about bringing prices down. This is about corporate malpractice. It is also important to note that even tilltoday, the government agencies concerned have not put addresses of the companies who have been awarded these projects in the public domain. Is this because these addresses do not exist? Or is it because these companies do not exist? This is too serious a matter to be dismissed saying that we need solar power and companies who can provide it. We are strong proponents of solar energy. But we do not want an energy system for the future, built on the dirty practices of the past.



    Posted by: Chandra Bhushan | 2 years ago | Reply
  • The Jawaharlal National solar

    The Jawaharlal National solar Mission is outdated and it should be revised with current facts. The Solar photovoltaic panels price has fallen from $4 per watt to $1 per watt due to Photovoltaic grade silicon price falling from $470 per KG to less than $34 per KG. The old price of Rs 20 crore per MW has to be revised to Rs 5 per MW. This pricing means that the subsidy alone will be able to meet the cost of the panels to be set up by vendors. Hence the whole exercise should be done again and a new national solar mission documents made.
    The Government if it imports the solar photovoltaic panels now and distributes even without subsidy many small users like households will be able to install solar power and get benefit. For the amount of deposit with Electricity Board a flat buyer can easily install complete solar energy panels and generate his own energy. In view of the quantum change I request you to completely rework the solar strategy.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 7 years ago | Reply
  • Though this would have been a

    Though this would have been a shocking news elsewhere, in India obviously such investigation findings are not at all astonishing as much larger scams have regularly been unearthed day in and out. However, the team who unravelled this scam deserve kudos as they have done a service to the Nation. Perhaps, it would not be too late when someone would dare to challenge the matter before the High Court/Supreme Court and we will be able to hear a replay of the 2-G Spectrum verdict soon. It is high time for the Government of India and all Political Parties in the country to read the writings on the wall and take effective corrective steps to see that Government business is conducted in highly transparent and honest manner without giving any ground for corruption, favouratism and nepotism. I join the fellow countrymen in thanking the CSE team who took great pains in digging out to make the entire scam public. Keep up. With best wishes.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 7 years ago | Reply
  •   Dear F W Jesudas.  You add

      Dear F W Jesudas. 

    You add some important depth. Earlier reports have shown that solar is now cheaper than diesel in India. Although it takes some time to make back the money (7 years according to one report) as buying the solar panel means all cost up front as compared to buying diesel over a longer time period. (

    India should not however have to import solar panels. The domestic production in India needs support as it is, to be able to compete against US panels getting cheap government loans from their Ex-Im bank and against Chinese getting export financing and cheap loans as well.

    Although module prices have fallen dramatically (to a quarter of the price in 2008, as you rightly state) the module only make up for roughly half of the installation cost. Therefore the construction cost would be more in the range of 10-15 crore per MW for utility scale plants. We have been following the global prices the last month ( and the trend is now of a flattening price and even rising prices of back-end materials such as poly-silicon, ingots and wafers.

    The first phase of the National Solar Mission is already awarded but we can now move to making sure that the second phase is more transparent and fairer to all involved. It is important to look over the whole structure as to avoid any missteps of the kind that has happened in Spain and UK the last years where prices were too generous. The bidding model as such has been effective in that manner - in bringing prices down but it needs to be proven that the projects are coming up on time and that state utilities can pay.

    With hopes for an India running on Solar Power,

    Jonas Hamberg


    Posted by: Jonas Hamberg | 2 years ago | Reply
  • I agree with Bhushan. As it

    I agree with Bhushan. As it is, I do not believe that the Solar Energy is really clean.Even if it is presumed be so,I wouldn't accept it if it is promoted using 'Dirty' tricks.
    There is need for investigating how the Solar Energy Generation has become so cheap all of a sudden? Are there hidden benefits to the promoters? Will there be another scam taking place to pay the promoters for non-existent generation of solar energy?
    Matter is really very very serious.

    Sunil Sood

    Posted by: Anonymous | 7 years ago | Reply
  • Great job done by the

    Great job done by the investigating team...Just goes to show what a crooked company LANCO is!

    These guys should be hauled over the coals and made to pay exemplary damages. A penalty like the SC has awarded to the Telcos in the 2G scam is needed.

    Surely the bureaucrats and politicians in the Rajasthan government have also acted in connivance with the Lanco officials.

    To the CSE team...superb work and keep it up!!

    Posted by: Anonymous | 7 years ago | Reply
  • Great work by CSE team again.

    Great work by CSE team again. But who are the big bosses behind the Lanco !! What happened to the solar panels distributed in northeastern states!! I have seen panels converted into a good sleeping cot also. Lanco story was unknown to many of us and it helped a lot for awareness of the activist groups.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 7 years ago | Reply
  • It should be noted here that

    It should be noted here that the MNRE had decided the price per unit at around Rs 17 where as the actual price at which the 1000MW were awarded was around Rs 12, hence govt saved Rs 5 per unit. Lanco got 40% of the total 1000Mw by elligal means but if this 40 % would have been given to 4-5 different companies than also the price would not have gone bilow Rs 12 , maybe it would have increased as it is mentioned that Lanco used economy of scale to quote lower prices. So I dont think it caused any additional financial burden ,it only give more share of profit to one Company.
    Government is aproaching this Solar mission at very precautionary manner, auctioning step by step. The second round of Auction saw prices going further doun to around 7.75 per unit. this will help in learning from past mistakes and improving Auction system and also getting benifit from decreasing prices of solar modules.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 7 years ago | Reply
  • Dear GG, As a technical note

    Dear GG,

    As a technical note the benchmark price was set by CERC - The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission. Not the MNRE. MNRE has set the rules for the bidding. I believe the rest of your argument is met in the article. 


    Posted by: Jonas Hamberg | 2 years ago | Reply
  • Another scam from the

    Another scam from the promoters of Lanco, who seem to have a history of fraud going back several years and several business ventures:

    Posted by: Anonymous | 7 years ago | Reply
  • sorry to state your ignorance

    sorry to state your ignorance Mr Sood. Solar is the only clean and viable renewable technology with minimal maintenance, and optimal generation. Prices went down purely due excess supply across markets in lieu of expanding demand (just that capacity got ahead of actual demand). And prices being quoted lower in each successive bid round is due to expectations of falling prices on modules (imported), and not so much due to expected economies of scale of Lanco (due inappropriate policies) which others could have followed - to the unfortunate distress of the industry as a whole. We can now all witness the calamity in matured telecom industry - and we still receive poor services/standards despite increased prices and enrichment of a few supposedly privileged members of community without the right to do so!

    Posted by: Anonymous | 7 years ago | Reply
  • A very well researched and

    A very well researched and analysed editorial. Wow what a start ..!! Strangely, this is what happens when we talk about healthy or sustainable development. As far as developmental issues, policies and schemes are considered, they have always been well conceptualised and highly doctored in INDIA, when it came to implementation. The whole issue could not have been come up,had there been a consistent monitoring. At every level LANCO tried to forge the rules. When authoritis like MNRE sets rules, how can it exempt itself from monitoring it. JNNSM is a crucial step towards building a clean energy system for our future and indeed a great deal for a developing country like india, but the entire governance web goes for a toss and puts the functioning of the system in ambiguity when Giant players like LANCO , here, takes the system for a ride.Creating fromt companies with preferential shares to further ake over the front comanies in due course of time, seems to be a well planned strategy with a full understanding of the existing weak system that can be doctored easily.
    Here is a clear example of a weak institution with extravagant targets, where power wins over development.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 7 years ago | Reply
  • Thanks CSE for sharing a well

    Thanks CSE for sharing a well researched report.

    This collusion of capacity happened due to relaxation of the bidding guidelines at the last moment by MNRE/NVVN.

    JNNSM Phase 1 objective was successful deployment of commercial grid scale solar technology in India to establish performance standards and kick start of a vibrant ecosystem

    In the first set of guidelines (RFS) released by NVVN and MNRE, there were three qualification requirements for submission of applications

    1. Ownership/lease of land: Land acquisition is one of the key challenge
    2. Technical tie up: This was to ensure deployment of successful commercial technologies in first phase.
    3. Financial criteria: Net worth and Bank Guarantees

    However the top two requirements were taken out resulting in last minute applications by big companies with opportunistic play.

    I think argument that aggressive bidding resulted in lower tariffs is not valid given the objectives laid out for first phase. It is important to note that success of first phase would play a key factor in the outcome of 19000 MW of solar capacity by 2020. Here is the scenario

    1. What if the quality of plants are not world standard due to cost cutting resulting in higher degradation or lower output? Do people blame solar radiation?

    2. What if 100 MW solar thermal plants dont get built (Lanco, KVK, Reliance) as they will be first in the world for such size. Does this kill the solar thermal technology

    Posted by: Anonymous | 7 years ago | Reply
  •  Thanks for your comments

     Thanks for your comments Aditi and A,

    The future does look very unclear for Solar Thermal. I am myself a big fan of the technology as it can provide storage of energy. 

    For those reading the comments and wondering Solar Thermal, or Concentrated Solar Power as it is also called, works by using mirrors to focus the sun's rays to heat a liquid the same way you can burn a leaf using a magnifiying glass. The heated liquid then heats steam that drives a turbine and generator, the same way as in a coal power plant.

    The issue for Solar Thermal is that when people bid there was almost no capacity on the ground in India so few knew the real price. There is one 2.5 MW plant in Bikaner and there are test plants in Gurgaon south of Delhi.

    The doubt now is if the measurements for solar radiation are correct - even a small error can cause there to be not enough sunshine to make it economical. Solar Thermal needs direct sunlight (which hasn't bounced of anything on the way down through the atmosphere) measured as DNI (Direct Normal Irradiance) and the problem is that in India even though there is much sunshine a lot of it gets reflected away by the dust, sand and smog in the air. 

    If it means that plants cannot produce enough then companies cannot make back the money they spent on building the plants, and in that case they wont build them at all. There is still more than a year left to find out if it will work or not and I am hoping they will succeed. 

    Two plants under the migration phase of 10MW each have so far stalled although it is not clear exactly why. One was probably financial and the other because the technology provider went out of business. Globally the US interest have cooled for Solar Thermal but instead more plants are being built in the Mediterranean region.

    Solar Thermal is however one of the areas of Renewable Energy where much of technology choices are still up in the air and where there is an open market that can be grabbed by Indian manufacturing if the will was there. Mirrors, tubes, special turbines, molten salts for storage of heat could all be made in India.

    Posted by: Jonas Hamberg | 2 years ago | Reply
  • Dear Mr Anonymous, I have

    Dear Mr Anonymous,
    I have over 20 years of exposure in Solar Field! ( My ID itself has the word 'solar'
    I busy exposing misdeeds in Bureau of Energy Efficiency and do not have much time to expose the Solar PV technology scams (MNRE and Solar PV promoters are lucky!) .If you are willing to disclose your ID, I would be happy to have a separate debate on the issue.

    Sunil Sood

    Posted by: Anonymous | 7 years ago | Reply
  • ultimately, anyway the public

    ultimately, anyway the public can be self-sufficient and not pay big utility companies is dangerous.
    Research and development will go on as with small government schemes, but we wait and see how this will ultimately pan out.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 7 years ago | Reply
  • Hi , What i Understand from

    Hi , What i Understand from the above mentioned information, It should Be a fair play ,unethical and wrong practice should never be entertained in any which way.In other countries they are using it for so many years ..what were we doing till recent , Importing from other countries trade balance ,foreign exchange concerns and Till now we are a dump yard for their out dated technologies and product,we are a Market for them !!!??? . its better we promote and encourage Domestic Produce Create employment etc for our selves, at marginal/nominal profit and try to latch on and adopt the latest , economical and best suited Way for us to live in the same level as the other Developed Nations , move on with time ,Control and Dominate our Economy Rather than THE FII etc kick our economics like a foot ball Dollar goes up stock Market Falls Gold Price Go up, Government has to give subsidy etc .. we have to cut on crude import , petrol will cost Rs 100 per liter in next 3/4 years ..for how long are we going to live this way ... Let us DO IT .. Promote solar ,Nuclear & bio energy is Essential you have come empty handed and shall not take anything with you when u perish all in dust ... its only your deeds / Brand / Name thats alive
    Whilst alive make this world a better place for every one to live your future generation will be Proud of You... .. No Offence advice as a Friend
    Thank you

    Posted by: Anonymous | 7 years ago | Reply
  • Solar energy is the future in

    Solar energy is the future in India. The country which is already reeling under power outrage, must consider some alternative energy sources.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 6 years ago | Reply
  • The Ministry of New and

    The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) set the rules for the distribution of projects and used reverse bidding to reduce tariff. The first batch projects were planned to be equitably distributed among companies so that it not only fosters competition and brings down prices but also manures a sprouting sector.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 5 years ago | Reply
  • Solar Panels & Equipments

    Solar Panels & Equipments required to produce SOlar energy prices in India need to be put under investigation microscope. MNRE approved rates are very high compared to international and domestic market open rates. It seems that there is some nexus between Manufacturer/supplier and officials approving the price. Materials that are available in open market have been benchmarked with MNRE @3 times the actual price. Some vested interests are working behind scene and there is scope to unearth the scam. This has resulted in huge price difference in energy production costs estimated (Rs. 15-17 per unit) by MNRE 3 time the realistic market costs (Rs.5-6 per unit). If this scam is exposed and real market rates are applied, corrected Solar energy costs in real terms will be (Rs. 4-6 per unit)comparable to Other renewable energy sources like wind power (Rs. 3-5 per unit)and hydro power ( Rs. 3-4 per Unit).

    Posted by: Anonymous | 5 years ago | Reply
  • How cab solar energy be

    How cab solar energy be produced at competitive cost for the welfare of people at large? Presently, what is the status of its use in India?
    |Why can solar energy be not used everywhere? Is it very expensive to tap it?
    |How solar energy can be produced at competitive cost for the welfare of people at large?Presently what is the status of its use in india?
    |Is there any way we can store solar energy into compression of spring and later release springs when we want to run vehicle. Is there any way we can use compressed springs to run motor.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 5 years ago | Reply
  • Today, there is a raging

    Today, there is a raging debate in the Indian solar industry. While the domestic cell and module manufacturers want some protection, the solar project developers are totally opposed to it. I am totally confused about this structure at first but this article ÔÇÿthe truth about solar missionÔÇÖ helped me a lot to understand what all are happening in Indian Solar Industry.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 5 years ago | Reply
  • The national solar mission

    The national solar mission could have done much better with the full backing of the state, but in a country as diverse and populated as India, there should have been a solid homework before launching a program like this. I am proud to be part of the organization. Thumbs up. Keep up the good work Lanco.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 5 years ago | Reply
  • Dear Joanas, Now the solar

    Dear Joanas,
    Now the solar installations cost has come down to Rs 5 to 6 crores per MW. companies in tamilnadu have actually installed them.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 5 years ago | Reply
  • Good work by Down to earth

    Good work by Down to earth team & this is really an issue of malpractice and poor policies to help few corporate,s more richer. This is serious corporate governing issue & must be taken like that. More transparent Policies must be lay down & LANCO like companies must be banned from the country. People who are silent or appreciating these practices are actually not seeing the larger picture of this scam & indirectly becoming a supporter of all wrong doings

    Posted by: Anonymous | 5 years ago | Reply
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