India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) had recently announced a unified solar photovoltaic (SPV) program to promote the use of decentralised SPV systems for various applications in rural/ urban areas and SPV roof top systems for diesel saving in urban areas.
To promote this program, the MNRE organized a one-day seminar today, in New Delhi, along with the India Semiconductor Association (ISA), and the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd (IREDA), to share the modalities for the implementation of the program with the concerned stakeholders such as manufacturers of solar PV modules and equipment, system integrators, service providers, consultants, banks and financial institutions, and reputed NGOs. A government-industry interaction on the MNRE’s program was also intiated during the event.
Welcoming the delegates, Poornima Shenoy, president, ISA, stressed on the very strong partnership between the MNRE and the ISA. She added that this workshop was a first in a series of such workshops that will be held across the country. She requested the delegates to add as much value as possible to this edition, adding, “We look forward to your feedback, so that we can improve on our future programs.”Source: ISA
Industry-government interaction step in right direction
B.V. Naidu, chairman, ISA said that it was good to be part of a new revolution taking place in India. He added: “We have seen the success of the Indian IT industry and the Indian semiconductor design sector. That the MNRE is organizing an industry interaction on solar photovoltaics is a step in the right direction.” Naidu noted that India has all the features required for becoming a successful solar country.
Incidentally, the current installed capacity of solar PV is said to be over 400-500MW, but about 90 percent of that capacity is exported. As a case, in Germany, 4 percent of the overall power generation capacity has been generated out of solar. A lot of emphasis on solar PV also been happening in the USA and Chima.
Naidu added: “The Government of India has set an ambitious target of reaching 20GW by 2020. A lot of things need to be done in the country, and by the Indian solar PV industry. We are also looking at an equal amount of participation from the academia, so that we can look at ways of reducing costs and improving the efficiency of solar PV.
The ISA has already created the roadmap for the FabCity in Hyderabad. It is also organizing a solar conference in Hyderabad this November.
Solar to assure green technology in India
Dr B.M.S. Bist, Advisor, MNRE, said that solar PV is going to play a big role in assuring green technology in the country. A date of Nov. 14 has been set for Solar Mission Program, as already mentioned.
The MNRE’s focus has been at decentralized programs. Today, there are said to be 75MW of systems across the country. Dr. Bist added that significant targets have been set for the SPV systems. The ministry has now tried to make new schemes. These will be presented to the delegates and their views welcomed. Those views will be compiled and the ministry will revert to the industry, so both of them can march together.
Massive potential for solar PV in India
Addressing the delegates, Debashish Majumdar, chairman and managing director, IREDA, said the reason for the gathering today was very clear – what exists on the MNRE website is potential for renewable energy. However, it does not really highlight the potential for solar PV, which is massive!
He added: “When solar PV started about 15 years ago in India, we had small manufacturers starting in garages, etc., and who have now grown to become very large companies. It gives us a lot of hope that things can be done very well here as well. Any new technology, to begin with, is expensive. Therefore, it is the prerogative of the rich to adopt it. We all hope that we will have the volumes and the technologies that can be replicated in India.
“We look at solar from two aspects — off-grid and on-grid. We would like to see what kind of demand can we convert in the off-grid applications. In the subsequent session, we will see the steps that the ministry has taken. The policy has been made keeping the best interests of the industry. We would like to get your feedback and see how best to get the market going.”
Huge opportunity in off-grid applications
Ms Gauri Singh, IAS, joint secretary, MNRE said that the purpose of this interaction between the government and the industry is to give a loud and clear message to ind that “we would like to work with you as partners.”
She added: “A large portion of the solar mission target will come from grid connected solar power. However, the off-grid opportunity is also huge. We have tried to open up our policy slightly — and take the whole process forward by taking inputs from you — and open up the policy for suggestions. One part of the scenario is — we already have large manufacturers who can provide us solar modules. The other part — is our policy encouraging innovation.
“Now, the time is ripe where we can do only the broad technical specifications, etc., but leave the innovation and configuration of the off-grid solutions to the industry, and make it an enabling flavor.” She also called for a need to put out a third party monitoring system.
She further added that the MNRE was also working to see whether it could get the IREDA into a refinance operation with banks.
There are schemes in place, where if anyone wants to work with a bank, a lot of incentives are available to the banks. Now, the ministry would like to see incentives being given to the manufacturers.
This is an honest attempt on part of the MNRE to work closely with the industry. Hopefully, everything will go well, following this interaction as it will sow the right seeds toward reaping a full harvest — in shape of achieving the very ambitious target of the national solar mission plan!
There were presentations on the following topics as well:
* Details of the solar PV off-grid program (rooftop systems) — Dr. AK Varshney, MNRE
* Details of the solar PV off-grid program (other applications) — Dr. A. Raza, MNRE
* Financing of IREDA schemes for solar — BV Rao, IREDA
These presentations were followed by a marathon discussion between the MNRE and IREDA officials on behalf of the government of India and the members of the Indian solar photovoltaics industry.