Distribution is the major constraint for solar power sector

The major challenge as on today is distribution companies’ unwillingness to buy power and inability to pay for the power which they buy, states Tarun Kapoor, Joint Secretary, MNRE 
  India’s mission to develop solar energy is on a high note and the vigorous efforts from the government will help achieve 175 GW target soon, believes Tarun Kapoor, Joint Secretary, MNRE. He also talks about how solar zones will promote the renewable energy sector in India.
India targets 175 GW of RE by 2022. Could you update us on the current status?India has set the target to have 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022. 100 GW of this would come from solar power, 60 GW from wind energy, 10 GW from small hydro power, and 5 GW from biomass-based power projects. So far in solar we have reached 6,200 MW and by 31st March we hope to reach around 6,500 MW. We target to add 10,000 to 12,000 MW more in the next fiscal.
Recently tariff policy has been amended and solar RPO has been increased to 8 per cent which will promote the solar energy sector. We hope that there will be a bigger demand for solar in future. The tariff for solar power has also come down to around Rs 4.50 per unit. So with reduction in price now solar has become as competitive as any other form of power.
How International Solar Alliance (ISA) will solve the country’s purpose of achieving 175 GW mission?International Solar Alliance is not for achieving country’s 175 GW. ISA is for propagating solar amongst all the countries falling between Tropic of Cancer and Capricorn which get very good sunshine and collaborating these countries so that there is sharing of knowledge, technology, financing and capacity building. In this case India has taken a lead in order to bring all the countries together. We hope that some of these countries have very high sunshine, they have great need of power but they don’t have the resources whereas some countries have very good resources. This will be a win-win situation for all the countries together and they would be able to give a push to solar.
What are the major difficulties you are facing in solar sector?In Indian solar sector, the major challenges as on today are distribution companies’ unwillingness to buy power and inability to pay for the power which they buy. Then somewhere there are transmission constraints. In some places financing is a bit of a problem because required funding is little high. Interest rates are also comparatively high in India. Further, the domestic manufacturing is in a bit of trouble. Though they are manufacturing, are not been able to compete with the international players in terms of pricing. This is an area where we have to look for support so that the domestic industry also comes up.
What is your roadmap for achieving 40GW through rooftop? As 30 GW is expected to be deployed through commercial and industrials segments, are you getting enough responses from the India Inc?Rooftop sector is still taking off – only 170 MW have been commissioned till date. We hope that it will take off soon because now all the rules and regulations are in place to support this segment. We are also looking for some cheaper funds so people are able to take money from the bank and then they are able to put rooftop on their roofs. This sector has great potential because the tariff of rooftop has come to a level where it is cheaper than buying from distribution companies. So we are quite certain that this sector will take off but it may take a little time to reach to its potential. 
Renewable energy pricing has dropped drastically over the years. Do you expect further fall in pricing? We expect the price to fall further because there is lot of research going around all over the world. We expect some cutting-edge technologies to come which may bring the cost down globally.
Could you brief on the idea of coming out with policy for developing solar zones?Solar zone is a step in the same direction as solar parks. In solar park we are acquiring the land whereas in solar zone we will not acquire the land as we will just make available transmission infrastructure. The land will have to be acquired by the developers themselves. Developer will get a zone where he gets everything in place and he is able to move very fast to set up a project.
What kind of support you expect from the states?The entire action is with the states. The Indian government is providing support and main job has been done by the states because the distribution companies are owned by the states. Power projects have to be set up by the states, land has to come from them, and transmission has to come from them. Though some states have responded well, some are lagging behind. I am sure that they will also come up.

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Distribution is the major constraint for solar power sector

The major challenge as on today is distribution companies’ unwillingness to buy power and inability to pay for the power which they buy, states Tarun Kapoor, Joint Secretary, MNRE 
  India’s mission to develop solar energy is on a high note and the vigorous efforts from the government will help achieve 175 GW target soon, believes Tarun Kapoor, Joint Secretary, MNRE. He also talks about how solar zones will promote the renewable energy sector in India.
India targets 175 GW of RE by 2022. Could you update us on the current status?India has set the target to have 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022. 100 GW of this would come from solar power, 60 GW from wind energy, 10 GW from small hydro power, and 5 GW from biomass-based power projects. So far in solar we have reached 6,200 MW and by 31st March we hope to reach around 6,500 MW. We target to add 10,000 to 12,000 MW more in the next fiscal.
Recently tariff policy has been amended and solar RPO has been increased to 8 per cent which will promote the solar energy sector. We hope that there will be a bigger demand for solar in future. The tariff for solar power has also come down to around Rs 4.50 per unit. So with reduction in price now solar has become as competitive as any other form of power.
How International Solar Alliance (ISA) will solve the country’s purpose of achieving 175 GW mission?International Solar Alliance is not for achieving country’s 175 GW. ISA is for propagating solar amongst all the countries falling between Tropic of Cancer and Capricorn which get very good sunshine and collaborating these countries so that there is sharing of knowledge, technology, financing and capacity building. In this case India has taken a lead in order to bring all the countries together. We hope that some of these countries have very high sunshine, they have great need of power but they don’t have the resources whereas some countries have very good resources. This will be a win-win situation for all the countries together and they would be able to give a push to solar.
What are the major difficulties you are facing in solar sector?In Indian solar sector, the major challenges as on today are distribution companies’ unwillingness to buy power and inability to pay for the power which they buy. Then somewhere there are transmission constraints. In some places financing is a bit of a problem because required funding is little high. Interest rates are also comparatively high in India. Further, the domestic manufacturing is in a bit of trouble. Though they are manufacturing, are not been able to compete with the international players in terms of pricing. This is an area where we have to look for support so that the domestic industry also comes up.
What is your roadmap for achieving 40GW through rooftop? As 30 GW is expected to be deployed through commercial and industrials segments, are you getting enough responses from the India Inc?Rooftop sector is still taking off – only 170 MW have been commissioned till date. We hope that it will take off soon because now all the rules and regulations are in place to support this segment. We are also looking for some cheaper funds so people are able to take money from the bank and then they are able to put rooftop on their roofs. This sector has great potential because the tariff of rooftop has come to a level where it is cheaper than buying from distribution companies. So we are quite certain that this sector will take off but it may take a little time to reach to its potential. 
Renewable energy pricing has dropped drastically over the years. Do you expect further fall in pricing? We expect the price to fall further because there is lot of research going around all over the world. We expect some cutting-edge technologies to come which may bring the cost down globally.
Could you brief on the idea of coming out with policy for developing solar zones?Solar zone is a step in the same direction as solar parks. In solar park we are acquiring the land whereas in solar zone we will not acquire the land as we will just make available transmission infrastructure. The land will have to be acquired by the developers themselves. Developer will get a zone where he gets everything in place and he is able to move very fast to set up a project.
What kind of support you expect from the states?The entire action is with the states. The Indian government is providing support and main job has been done by the states because the distribution companies are owned by the states. Power projects have to be set up by the states, land has to come from them, and transmission has to come from them. Though some states have responded well, some are lagging behind. I am sure that they will also come up.

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