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Renewable Energy set to take off in a big way in India

Monday, August 28, 2017
By Dominic Rebello

With natural resources depleting alongside burgeoning growth of the world population, global search and research continues for different ways and means of meeting these needs. Energy sources for industry and others is one of these factors that is witnessing desperate need for the world, which is now eyeing renewable energy sources. Renewable energy is making its impact felt steadily in India through its various components, including Solar which is on the rise, even as fossil fuels have begun to decline and turning expensive over the years.

Industries are turning to use of renewable energy sources, which are being highlighted in a big way. How India is being viewed as a potential market for its burgeoning population can be seen from the fact that countries like Japan, Germany, France, Poland, USA, Korea, China and Taiwan are making a beeline to India for the 11th edition of the Renewable Energy India Expo (REI) 2017 to be held in New Delhi from September 20 to 22. The REI Expo is expected to see India’s green economy community highlighting global industry trends, challenges and market insights including the Indian regulatory framework, besides upscaling and mainstreaming applications of renewable energy resources, showcasing product launches, innovations alongside international exhibitions and conference platforms.

Noting that India has recently moved up to the second spot from third position – nudging past the USA in this year’s Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index,”Yogesh Mudras, Managing Director, UBM India (which has organized the EXPO), said in Mumbai recently that even as the Indian solar sector is growing rapidly with capacity addition of 4,765 MW during H1 of 2017, rooftop solar displayed a robust growth as solar power becomes increasingly more attractive with falling costs. “All this is acting as a huge pull for international investors and equipment suppliers with the EXPO theme being “Accelerating the Momentum….from Ambition to Action” to bridge the gap between Industry, Government and Investors,” he said.

Describing the EXPO as a marquee event, he said roadshows were being held to reach out to smaller towns -- also alongside big cities -- where renewable energy is the need of the hour for lighting up even remote villages. Small-scale rural energy development and even a dedicated Green Energy Fund could go a long way in this regard, he said.

Pujan Doshi of Waree PV Technologies Pvt Ltd., said that with nuclear and coal being not able to support industry in the long run, India is set to witness a phenomenal growth in renewable energy. “Decentralised concept of energy will be the driver within the next five years to deliver energy security to India, and digitisation including remote monitoring – along with tax rebates and subsidies -- will help the Government in this regard. Smart cities are also the driving factor for this industry,” he said, adding “We introduced premium U.S. technology for rooftop use at lower costs, besides also attracting a lot of interest from global players.”

To a question about 40GW target set by the Government for rooftop solar in India, he said “India is a late entrant into this sector. However, technology has improved to such extent that today even robotic cleaning is available for the solar modules – without using water. The Government’s target of producing 100GW for solar energy by 2020 is achievable, though however the timeline could stretch to 2024-25 also.”

Ritesh Pothan, Sr VP, Business Development, Scorpius Trackers Pvt Ltd, observed how countries like the USA that were using atomic energy for power generation were presently finding it difficult to dispose of their nuclear waste. On the contrary, solar power – of which 13.6 GW is presently installed in India brought lots of value to the table and can reach even the “poorest of the poor,” he said.

“We are India’s largest suppliers of single axis solar PV trackers with over 250 MW of trackers supplied in India, Japan, Africa and USA and have already signed exclusive supply MOUs with large Independent Project Developers in India for 875 MW and are confident of delivering between 700 MW to 1,000 MW in FY 2017-18,” he said.

Mukund Shendge, Sales Manager, Fronius India Pvt Ltd., said the future of tradeable energy will highlight the use of technology for rural networks in a greater way. However, as innovation is inevitable, inverters for solar power use should be set for future use by being made adaptable to changes by the concerned companies and agencies.

Describing the growth of renewables in the energy field today as a revolution that is moving at a good pace, Rajneesh Khattar of UBM expressed the need for the required skilled manpower. The Government’s Skills Development Council was however setting a good example in supporting the country’s efforts to produce 60GW solar power, he said.

Replying to questions, he said about U.S. $ 13.5 million has been invested in the renewable energy sector so far, though supplying 24 hours power supply over the next five years upto 85GW would envision investment crossing U.S.$ 85 million. Power supply storage is needed in a big way, and while the subsidy is limited to rooftop solar, commercial and industrial activity too required subsidy as they were displaying the most growth, he said, adding that the Government is mulling over this growth – despite not having deep pockets – and the GST has come at the right time in this regard for the solar industry.

How fast usage of solar power has begun could be witnessed from the fact that even the Railway stations in Mumbai have already started using rooftop solar, he said. “India: A Poster Child of Renewable Energy Sector,” “Surya Namaskar: Earn from the Sun,” “Rooftop PV Market Development in India,: “Winds of Tomorrow: Make in India,” “Smart Power for Smart Cities” are some of the conferences being held at the EXPO– besides sessions by the Skill Council for Green Jobs and CEEW -- that aim at outlining key policy initiatives and renewable energy efforts in the country.

The latest innovations on display at the Expo include “India’s first Mobile PV test lab” manufactured by Mahindra Susten, besides micro-inverter technologies for the Indian rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) market and workshops on driving operational excellence in Solar and wind asset management by Blegium abd UK companies.

The Expo is being supported by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Limited (IREDA), NEDO Japan, Indo-German Energy Forum (IGEF), among others. The over 750 participating exhibitors feature top companies in the industry including Waaree Energies, Scorpius Trackers, , Fronius, Adani Solar, Tata Power Solar, Canadian Solar, Azure Power, Sky Power, Trina Solar, Huawei, Jinko Solar, Siemens Gamesa, Vikram Solar, Mitsubhishi, Delta Electronics, Panasonic, ABB, Kyocera, Mahindra Sustain, Applied Materials, POSCO, among others.

Achieve 100 GW clean energy by 2019-20: Niti Action Agenda
Premier think-tank Niti Aayog has set for the government an ambitious goal of 100 giga watt of clean energy by 2019-20 and wants financial provision for generation and infrastructure rather than just capacity creation.

"A renewable energy capacity of 100 GW should be achieved by 2019-20 so as to contribute to achievement of 175 GW target by 2022. The financial support for renewable sector will be aimed at promoting generation and infrastructure creation rather than mere capacity creation," stated the 3-Year Action Agenda unveiled by the Niti Aayog earlier this week.

According to the Central Electricity Authority monthly report for July, India has 58.3 GW of renewable energy capacity, including 32.5 GW wind power, 13.1 GW solar power, 4.3 GW small hydro and 8.1 GW biomass.

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