Thursday, May 23, 2013

The promise of India’s solar future

Bettina Weiss, SEMI

INDIA: India continues to hold great promise for the solar industry. On my most recent trip to Bangalore and New Delhi, both government officials and companies remain optimistic about a strong role for renewables in the country’s energy mix in the years to come, with solar leading the charge.

The draft Phase 2 policy document of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) was released in December 2012, and industry stakeholders expressed hope that implementation barriers experienced in Phase 1 would not be repeated. However, with the requirement to shift responsibility for most of the targeted 9 GW total to state governments, project financing will likely continue to be a challenge, as lenders are more comfortable with central government schemes.

SEMI India’s activities are aligned with Phase 2 and related developments and come at an opportune time as we gear up for the 5th edition of SOLARCON India 2013, our exposition and conference to be held August 1-3, 2013 in Bangalore.

Conference delegates will have the opportunity to hear a detailed account of JNNSM Phase 2 implementation by Tarun Kapoor, IAS, Jt. Secretary, MNRE in an interactive session with the audience. And, at the CEO panel, industry leaders will assess the Indian solar market and the critical role states will play in advancing growth and supporting industry infrastructure needs for solar. Take a look at the speaker line-up here.

SEMI India supports initiatives and activities on the big government stage as well as disseminating knowhow, best practices in workforce development, as witnessed in Pune, Maharashtra, where a short course on “Rooftop PV System Design and Implementation” concluded just this past week.

The course, organized in technical collaboration with the National Center for PV Research and Education at IIT Bombay, ran to venue capacity. 74 participants ranging from power engineering & electronics professionals to entrepreneurs and graduate students travelled from across the country to benefit from expert presenters representing industry and academia.

Fourteen sessions over three days covered PV technology, technology selection for rooftops, power electronics basics, inverter selection, PV system design, electrical design, power evacuation and metering, quality standards and best practices, rooftop policies/financial models and culminated with a site visit to a 100KW combined rooftop and ground mounted PV plant at the PCNTDA buildings north of Pune.

Given the overwhelming response, and the many applicants who had to be turned away, because of capacity constraints, SEMI India will consider offering a similar program in another geographical region. Several parts of India, notably Kerala and Tamil Nadu have announced attractive rooftop PV policies in recent months driving up interest.  At the higher end of the urban consumption scale, rooftop PV already makes good economic sense and system integrators are keen to offer solutions.

With large numbers of new entrants into the solar PV business, particularly at the system integration and retail levels, course attendance tends to be diverse and the short course experience in Pune suggests the need for a couple of differentiated formats – one covering basic PV system design tutorials and another covering deeper technology areas.

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