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Indian RE sector: Torchbearer of the RE revolution

India is well poised to leap frog on scaling and accelerating the deployment of RE. All the states are gearing up towards creating an enabling environment for the private sector participation which is all time high. Here, is an analysis on the Indian RE sector.

Our government is promoting renewable energy as a win-win situation in every sector of economy. RE is the energy of the future and RE has the potential to meet the growing energy demands of the country well into the future.

Adopting RE: A total win-win situation
India is well poised to leap frog on scaling and accelerating the deployment of RE. All the states are gearing up towards creating an enabling environment for the private sector participation which is all time high.

Nithyanandam Yuvaraj Dinesh Babu, Senior Advisor Power and Utilities, EY India, opines,” Competitive bidding options including reverse auction by SECI and State Governments are attracting aggressive bidding by leading RE developers. With state of art technologies being at India’s disposal, there is only looking forward to achieve 275 GW target by 2027.” Renewable energy transition promises not just a clean environment but power for all, at a more affordable rate than fossil fuel generated energy.

Nimish Jain, Head of Global Sales- Modules, Vikram Solar says, “As energy and economy are interconnected components, solarisation of the country will power education- creating skilled resources, jobs, and will inevitably support economic growth within the country than it has ever seen. That seems a win-win situation for the overall country.”

Shashi Shekhar, CEO, Vimal Fire Controls observes, “Recent bids have indicated that solar has the potential to be competitive source of energy in terms of cost and at the same time being environment friendly.”
The 275 GW target is very ambitious and for it to be achieved, thrust should remain equal across all the sectors and segments. State DISCOMs have a major role to play when it comes to promoting solar in residential segments with clarity on the tariff and net metering policies.

Sunil Rathi, Director, Waaree Energies opines, “As per a study by University of Technology (LUT) in Finland, India has the capacity to transition entirely to renewables by 2050.” India is a very cost-competitive market. India is also seen as an ideal place for hybrid projects, given that most states are rich in both wind and solar energy resources. States such as Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh have large capacities of both wind and solar power projects.

J P Chalasani, Group CEO, Suzlon Group stated, “The target of 227 GW by 2022 is closer to becoming a reality propelled by technology and conducive policy environment for renewable energy; thereby helping the nation achieve energy security in a sustainable, affordable and environmentally friendly way.”

Mayank Khandelwal, AGM, Sunpower India Ventures Pvt. Ltd. believes India has powerful reasons for adopting renewable energy – from means to curb the ever-worsening urban air pollution associated with burning fossil fuels, to the economic security that comes with having to import lower volumes of coal, oil & gas, and the enhancement of energy security that comes with becoming less reliant on geopolitical hotspots for fossil fuel supplies.

Krishnendu Mukherjee, COO, Sova Solar Limited observes,” Looking at the longer term, RE is not only financially profitable, they are also environmentally sustainable. Over and above this, India being a tropical country with such abundant sunshine, RE, especially solar, has the potential to provide the country much needed energy security.”

As such, any business which strives to remain relevant into the future must acknowledge the fact that RE is there to stay and RE is the way to go. Thus, as we at SOVA SOLAR say we are committed to ‘energising the future, Krishnendu adds.

Jeetendra Saraf, Founder, Newtronics Green Energy, says,” It is expected that by the year 2040, around 50 per cent of the total electricity will be generated by the renewable energy, as more efficient batteries will be used to store electricity which will further cut the solar energy cost by 50 per cent as compared to the current cost. Use of renewable energy in place of coal will save India approximately ₹ 50,000 crore annually.”

Shailesh Patni, Head – Sales and Marketing, Jyotitech Solar LLP observes, “Our government is promoting renewable energy as a win-win situation for every sector of economy such as buildings (residential & commercial), agriculture, industry, healthcare, education institution, public transport, oil and telecommunication through various government policies, schemes, initiatives and incentives.”

The policy and political push for solar, other renewables, energy efficiency and carbon financing is stupendous. We are leading the world in protecting the earth against climate change. Adopting RE is undoubtedly a welcome step by any economy.

Siddartha Ramakanth Keshavadasu, Consultant, Energy Division, Feedback Infra Pvt. Ltd., opines,” I can’t call it a total win-win for India, because we are paying the price for using RE unlike other countries who are saving the money by using RE. There is a huge gap between the supply and demand of electricity, with the average PLF of power plants coming down to 60 per cent. As the gestation period of RE based power plants is much lower, the gap is expected to widen more, which
may affect other factors such as employment and capital availability.

Geo-politics is not only about our positioning in the international forums, but also the economy and internal health of the country. Modern day economists already proved that Say’s law of markets don’t work in real world and Keynesian economics talk about demand facilitation along with supply boast.”

“The suggestion to the policy makers is that, 275 GW is welcomed but we need to push the timeframe by at least 5 years to bring the existing asset utilisation on board along with emphasis on pumped storage plants, utility scale battery storage and such asset creation, “observes Siddartha.

India being among the top 3 to lead the RE revolution
Dinesh Babu of EY India says, “States’ prudent RE policies, rightly designed incentives, improved evacuation infrastructure, expansive financing options, increased international investors and developers are pushing the RE electricity generation cost significantly downwards. These factors ultimately contribute India to be one of the top 3 players along with China and USA.”

Shailesh Patni of Jyotitech Solar LLP opines, “The most important factors are that India has sorted out grid integration and financial issues of utilities for renewable energy growth between now and 2022.”

“Political push, policy interventions and low cost financing are facilitating India in becoming a global leader of RE revolution,” Siddartha adds.

Jeetendra of Newtronics says,” India is short of power, and thus, new renewable capacity produces electricity for an undersupplied market. Renewable capacity is faster to market than alternatives such as coal-fired power. Electricity prices are lower as compared to those of electricity from other sources. The government policy has been supportive, and more recently, a wider set of actions—incentives, infrastructure and investment promotions were taken up.”

Jeetendra adds, “In the future, the world is expected to exit the ‘fossil fuel age’, and perhaps the ‘nuclear energy age’, and enter the ‘renewable-energy age’ or even further into the ‘fusion power age’, if and when these technologies become economically sustainable.”

Informed decision-making about the role of renewables in future electricity systems depends on reliable cost and performance data. Renewable energy increasingly makes business sense for policy makers and investors. For this reason, renewables will continue driving the global energy transformation, while benefiting the environment and our collective future.

According to Krishnendu of Sova Solar, “India, as we all know, is geographically very well endowed with all kinds of RE resources. The vison of our Prime Minister and proactive push by the government for the RE industry has propelled India a one of the largest player globally.”

Mayank of Sunpower India states, “Low cost of technologies, improved grid integration and focus on revamping financial conditions of state utilities are the factors influencing RE revolution in India.”

“In the last 3 years, installed renewable energy capacity in India has more than doubled from 32 GW to 71 GW. As part of the Paris Climate Agreement, India is committed to produce 40 per cent of its installed electricity capacity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030, This commitment has accelerated the growth of RE in the county. Supporting the government’s vision of ‘Make in India’, the Indian wind industry has 80 per cent production happening in India with over 4,000 SME units producing wind turbine components across the value chain. India is exporting good amount of components in the wind space to other countries.”, observes J P Chalasani of Suzlon Group.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s latest report forecasts that the renewable energy supply will account for 75 per cent of electricity in India by 2050.

Nimish Jain of Vikram Solar remarks, “Government support/initiatives, favourable policy development, welcoming foreign investment, introducing large scale projects and private players stepping up to build a domestic manufacturing sector have helped India become a lucrative renewable energy market, surpassing Japan.”

According to Shashi of Vimal Fire the factors that influenced India are:
• Restructuring and stepping up of India’s solar power capacity target under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) by five times, to reach 1,00,000 MW by 2022. This target will comprise of 40 GW rooftop and 60 GW through large and medium scale grid connected solar power projects.
• Availability of land at reasonable rate and dedicated solar parks
• Ease of financing from banks and financial institutes where the institutions clearly see good ROIs as compared to conventional energy projects
• Shifting focus from thermal energy where no new approvals for such plants for next couple of years
• Open business environment where technologically advanced products at reasonable rates were allowed to import
• Schemes including subsidies and VGF

Sunil Rathi of Waaree Energies remarks, “India’s current renewable-based power capacity stands at 70 GW, and we are aiming to cross 175 GW well before 2022, with new schemes such as offshore wind and floating solar among others. Should India reach this goal, we will be one of the top countries with respect to installed renewable energy capacity.”

The proposed Common Risk Mitigation Mechanism (CRMM)
Since COP21 Paris, CRMM has taken a bigger role to keep funding pragmatic while at the same time maintain the committed levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

Neelav Samrat De, General Manager – Market Management, ANDRITZ Hydro Pvt. Ltd says,” Though mainly aimed at solar power development, CRMM will be a pertinent mechanism to keep cost of financing of such projects while keeping a look at the overall cost of electricity. The CRMM is expected to rationalise issues pertaining to financial models, management and operation of a plant while also address legalities and taxes. Over and above all, the CRMM could possibly act as the implementing model for these large capacity additions coming from RE.”

Yuvaraj Dinesh Babu of EY India conveyed, “CRMM is a much awaited instruments for the Indian RE sector as massive investments are currently happening with thin margins. Even a small margin of error will lead a massive debt default crisis. While CRMM will not be able to cater the entire Indian RE debt amount, it will boost the confidence of the lenders and trigger design and deployment of additional liability protection instruments.”

Shailesh Patni of Jyotitech Solar LLP observes, “CRMM for solar power generation projects in low to middle income solar rich countries aimed at mobilising ‘affordable finance’ at scale, if implemented, will dramatically lower the overall price of electricity. “

The proposed CRMM will create a secure environment for private institutional investment in solar assets, will pool risks on mutualised public resource investments and pool projects across many countries to lower the costs of hedging against those risks and would underwrite investment risks which will create a significant leverage to increase direct investments.

Siddartha Ramakanth Keshavadasu of Feedback Infra opines, “Lowering the cost of finance, will definitely benefit the RE sector in India. It will facilitate Indian investors to partner with institutional investors to invest in real assets in India.”

Small investors are more likely to stay in the market unlike institutional investors who generally have exit strategy in place. Small investors will help in sustainable development of RE in India.
Krishnendu Mukherjee of Sova Solar Limited is of the opinion that the proposed CRMM is a revolutionary step taken in the right direction, which will help unlock huge potential for the growth and deployment of the RE. He says, “With this CRMM being implemented, capital inflows in the RE sector will multiply rapidly and with the security of pooling and distributing the risks will help protect the investors better. Thereby, unlocking value in the sector.”

Jeetendra Saraf of Newtronics Greeen Energy, observes,” CRMM will dramatically lower the cost of finance for renewable energy, overall price of electricity, de-risk investments and reduce the cost of financing for solar projects in eligible ISA member countries. “

The proposed CRMM will offer a simple and affordable tool that will create a secure environment for private institutional investment in solar assets. The instrument will help diversify and pool risks on mutualised public resources and unlock significant investments.

Mayank Khandelwal of Sunpower India Ventures Pvt. Ltd. opines, “CRMM will act as a collective cover with limited liability. Banks and multi-lateral institutions can contribute to the fund for a minimal premium. It will dramatically lower the cost of finance for renewable energy and will provide affordable electricity to all.”

The risks CRMM will cover will be adapted as per the associate country. It can vary to cover hurdles such land acquisition to change of government, depending on the magnitude of risk in a member country.

Nimish Jain of Vikram Solar remarks, “The CRMM mechanism will serve as a multi-purpose platform that will solve foreign exchange, political, and off-taker risks within India and participating countries. Expected to be in operation from December 2018, this mechanism would be able to help India lower the cost of finance thus, speeding up solar project development. “

Shashi Shekhar of Vimal Fire Controls adds, “CRMM would certainly help remove the uncertainty around the RE sector. Particularly in solar industry, this would lead to a fresh and renewed cooperation. Up to a great extent, it will reduce the financial cost of solar projects in member countries.” With India being an active member in ISA and many of the concerns/risks which shall be accounted in CRMM already present here, India is bound to get benefited.”

Shashi Shekhar, CEO, Vimal Fire Controls
“Recent bids have indicated that solar has the potential to be competitive source of energy.”

Nimish Jain, Head of Global Sales- Modules, Vikram Solar
“CRMM would be able to help India lower the cost of finance and speed up solar project development.”

J P Chalasani, Group CEO, Suzlon
“The target of 227 GW by 2022 is closer to becoming a reality propelled by technology and conducive policy environment for renewable energy.”

Mayank Khandelwal, AGM, Sunpower India Ventures Pvt. Ltd
Low cost of technologies, improved grid integration and focus on revamping financial conditions of state utilities are the factors influencing RE revolution in India

Siddartha Ramakanth Keshavadasu, Consultant, Energy Division, Feedback Infra Pvt. Ltd
“I can’t call it a total win-win for India, because we are paying the price for using RE unlike other countries who are saving the money by using RE.”

Nithyanandam Yuvaraj Dinesh Babu, Senior Advisor Power and Utilities, EY India,
“Competitive bidding options including reverse auction by SECI and State Governments are attracting aggressive bidding by leading RE developers.”

Sunil Rathi, Director, Waaree Energies
“India has the capacity to transition entirely to renewables by 2050.”

Krishnendu Mukherjee, COO, Sova Solar Limited
“The proposed CRMM is a revolutionary step taken in the right direction, which will help unlock huge potential for the growth and deployment of the RE.”

Jeetendra Saraf, Founder, Newtronics Green Energy
“In the future, the world is expected to exit the ‘fossil fuel age’, and perhaps the ‘nuclear energy age’, and enter the ‘renewable-energy age’.”

Jeetendra Saraf, Founder, Newtronics Green Energy
“In the future, the world is expected to exit the ‘fossil fuel age’, and perhaps the ‘nuclear energy age’, and enter the ‘renewable-energy age’.”

Shailesh Patni, Head – Sales and Marketing, Jyotitech Solar LLP
“India has sorted out grid integration and financial issues of utilities for renewable energy growth between now and 2022.”

Neelav Samrat De, General Manager – Market Management, ANDRITZ Hydro Pvt. Ltd
“The CRMM is expected to rationalise issues pertaining to financial models, management and operation of a plant.”

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