The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) is planning to meet its entire auxiliary power requirement through domestically manufactured solar equipment. Auxiliary power is used by NTPC to run its thermal plants. This power is consumed during plant start-up and shutdown, operation of plant machinery, and service equipment to support illumination, air-conditioning, and other equipment. According to the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission’s (CERC), recommendations on operation norms for thermal power stations for the tariff period 2014 to 2019, auxiliary energy consumption in the range of 6-9 percent is permitted, per a report from the Hindu Business Line.
Currently, the thermal power plants source electricity from the grid to meet the auxiliary requirement and NTPC plans to replace almost 2,000 MW of actual auxiliary power with solar power projects. An NTPC official told the Hindu Business Line that since the plant load factor of solar projects tend to be around 19 percent they could need up to 12,000 MW of installed solar capacity. If this happens, it could be a big boost for domestic manufacturers of solar components who are struggling for a market.
The United States pressed for rapid enforcement of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) ruling against India’s Domestic Content Requirements (DCR) for solar cells and modules after the WTO found that they discriminated against U.S. manufacturers.