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Home » Interview » Digitalisation and clean energy will drive rooftop solar business 

Digitalisation and clean energy will drive rooftop solar business 

June 23, 2022 5:26 pm

Digitalisation and clean energy will drive rooftop solar business 

Vikram Gandotra, Chair-World Utility Summit 2023 & Member – National Executive Council, IEEMA. In an interview with EPR Magazine.

Discussing the rapid growth trajectory of India’s per capita power consumption, Vikram Gandotra emphasises the need to develop a reliable power infrastructure.

How is India’s per capita power consumption impacting the power sector?

Electricity has a very significant role in the industrial, infrastructure and T&D sectors. Earlier, its usage was restricted to a couple of applications such as heating & cooling of buildings, traction & industrial motors, but today new critical requirements such as personal mobility and cooking are gaining popularity. According to a report “Growth of Electricity Sector in India”, published by the ‘Central Electricity Authority’ in 2020 (www.cea.nic.in/wp-content/uploads/ pdm/2020/12/growth_2020.pdf), India’s per capita consumption today is around 1200 units and this will increase manifold in the coming years. 

This increase in the per capita consumption will require not only new generation capacity but the strengthening of our Transmission and Distribution networks, implying that significant investment is required to develop reliable infrastructure. Although increasing renewable energy penetration is a positive indicator, the difficulty with renewable energy is that it is highly unpredictable. So, this is where forecasting, planning, and storage will all be very critical to manage this.

We’re developing new products and investing heavily in R&D, working with the best engineers in the world. With the kind of focus shift happening in the electrical sector, I believe India will soon become one of the leading countries in providing advanced, reliable solutions for the electrical industry.

How is the ongoing coal crisis affecting the industry?

It is a challenge because, there is still a dependence on fossil fuels for power generation, and will be around at least in the short to mid-term future. However, with significant expenditures on generating capacity, renewable energy is growing rapidly year on year. We also must look at ways to add capacity in the coming years and find reliable resources, efforts, and the required CapEx requirement. Grid-connected solar has seen good growth and I believe its time for rooftop solar to grow rapidly. 

What are the other standard actions required to enhance rooftop solar power?

There are numerous policies and incentives which will play a role. The regulations will need to be tweaked to encourage investments. The DISCOMs should recognise that adding solar rooftops will not only be a competition but also a resource for them to use during peak demand periods when they are forced to go to the market and purchase costly peaking power. They may also save a lot of money on infrastructure that will no longer be needed.

Are we self-reliant regarding the availability of technology, equipment, and machinery?

We have great manufacturing facilities, and our software developers are amongst the best in the world. I would rather say that India is capable of far more than many other nations. Of course, some limitations exist in sectors where imports are required, such as chips and microprocessors, semiconductors, and so forth. We will need to nurture and promote the technology players for building the required ecosystem The hardware and software will together be needed to manage the future power networks based on more decentralised renewable energy resources (DERs).

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