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Thursday 29 May 2014

Airports Authority of India to build solar power plants at 30 airports

According to reports, in a bid to tap alternative sources of energy, Airports Authority of India (AAI) has decided to build solar power plants at about 30 of its airports across the country.
AAI plans to install 50 MW capacity plants in the first phase, which would be enhanced to 150 MW over a period of time, an AAI spokesperson said today. The plants would be established on surplus land available with it at these identified airports or on the large roof tops of the airport structures.
In all about 30 airports have been identified by AAI for establishment of these solar power plants, which would not only meet its own requirements but also feed the surplus power to the local grid. An MoU for construction of these plants was signed between the state-run airports body and Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) here earlier in the day.
Speaking on the occasion, Civil Aviation Secretary Ashok Lavasa said the projects would have to be accomplished in a time-bound manner and airport-wise specific timelines should be worked out for effective implementation.
The AAI spokesperson said the solar plants would not only achieve significant savings in power bills over a period of time but also lead to significant saving in carbon emissions. The plants would also make airports self-sustainable so far as energy requirement is concerned, he said.

Monday 12 May 2014

Chennai start-up Ather tools up premium e-bike

According to reports, Ather Energy is a start-up based in Chennai with a vision to design premium electric two-wheelers for the Indian market. Housed at IIT Madras Research Park, Ather’s young owners, alumni of the prestigious institute, want to change the lack-lustre image associated with the current crop of battery-operated scooters (e-bikes). They want to offer a bike that brings out all the positives of an electric vehicle and matches the performance of gasoline scooters, needs zero maintenance and is topped with premium features not yet available in any Indian scooter.
Emphasis is on in-house development as this allows Ather to implement quality and cost controls effectively. “We have outsourced fabrication of the design to a private garage in Ambattur. Everything else associated with the scooter is our responsibility,” says Mehta. The duo plans to launch the e-bike around 2015.
“Our scooter will have the capacity to out-accelerate normal petrol scooters while not compromising on comfort due to better suspension. We are using better technology with the battery, which will ensure its longer life,” he says.
These e-bikes will be much lighter than other e-bikes due to minimal ‘unsprung mass’. The weight of the wheels, tyres and brakes are considered to be the unsprung mass of a vehicle and Mehta says they have succeeded reducing its weight by as much as 70 per cent. This makes manoeuvring easier and suits city riding better.
Expected to cost around ₹85,000, Ather Energy has cast its eyes on the premium segment. “People who buy electric scooters aren’t necessarily looking at a low-cost alternative to the petrol scooter. They are looking for a green alternative, something that would make them stand out in a crowd,” he says. Besides, ownership costs on these bikes will be low due to the better battery life, lower charging time and the performance, he added.

Tuesday 6 May 2014

Photovoltaic products’ dumping causing loss of Rs 3000 crore to India: Solar association

According to reports, dumping of photovoltaic products by China, Taiwan, Malyasia and the United States is causing losses to the tune of Rs 3000 crore to India and Rs 1000 crore to the domestic solar industry, according to their association which wants 30 per cent anti-dumping duty to be imposed.
“Thin-film, and silicon PV cells and modules imported into India from USA and other Asian countries are being sold at ridiculously low prices bleeding the local industry and violating international fair trade regulations.
“This has also led to losses of Rs 1000 crore to the Indian solar manufacturers and over Rs 3000 crore to Indian exchequer,” said H R Gupta, member of the Indian Solar Manufacturers Association (ISMA) and Managing Director of Indosolar Limited.
The association, which includes major domestic players, has said that in January 2013, Ministry of Commerce started investigating into anti-dumping cases and PV cells from China, Taiwan, Malaysia and the US. The order on this should be out by late next month.
“The government is encouraging imports from China. This is being done despite the companies facing loses. On the other hand, the domestic players are also facing loses locally,” said another member of ISMA.
“We hope that the government imposes anti-dumping duty of around 30 per cent in this cases as these companies are selling the products at low price, he said.
The European Union has imposed anti-dumping duty of around 48 per cent on Chinese solar imports whereas the US too has imposed a similar duty ranging from 29.18 per cent to 254 per cent on solar energy cells imported from China.
Interestingly, in 2013-14, the Indian industry has exported PV products worth Rs 200 crore.