“Solar Eclipse” seems to be over. At least that is what I felt after interacting with several industry colleagues. More on that in a while.
The day 2 of Intersolar India 2014 saw presentations on various topics like PV project development, off-grid solar, Solar PV-Diesel hybrid systems, energy storage and project financing. There was also a session on Research and Education at the National Centre for Excellence in Photovoltaics(NCPRE) organized by IIT Bombay.
(Some highlights of Day 1 is available here).
Mr. Tarun Kapoor, Joint Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy(MNRE) was at the event, and interacted with the media. During his interaction, he touched upon a range of topics including the JNNSM Phase 2 project allocation, subsidies for off-grid systems, and mentioned that the roadmap for achieving 100 GW of capacity by 2022 is being worked upon. The plans will be released very soon. On subsidies, Mr. Kapoor mentioned that the subsidies will be made available, but will gradually be phased out. He highlighted the case of discontinuation of subsidies for Solar Water Heaters as a precedent (more here). He said that rooftop solar power is already attractive in the commercial and industrial segments even without subsidies. There will be subsidy support for the residential segment for some more time. He also said that proposals to introduce income tax incentives for residential consumers of solar power has been put up with the Finance Ministry, and it is for the Finance Ministry to decide on the proposal.
Mr. Sudhi Ranjan Mohanty, Chief Secretary for the Renewable Energy Department, Government of Madhya Pradesh was also present at the event, and he highlighted how Madhya Pradesh has become one of the leaders in the solar sector within a short span of time. He also pointed out the advantages of setting up solar projects in Madhya Pradesh. The state announced its plans to set up its first solar UMPP of capacity 750 MW. The project will be allotted through a bidding process, and the minimum bid size would be 250 MW(read here).
The Day 2 of the exhibition saw relatively large number of visitors, and the reported footfalls at the exhibitor booths were considerably higher than the last edition of the event. A few of the exhibitors I spoke to mentioned that most of the visitors were system integrators who had ventured into the solar rooftop and off-grid PV space. Some of the PV Manufacturers were of the opinion that the worst is behind us, and the lengthening project line will ensure that there are business opportunities for everyone(developers, EPCs, manufacturers, etc) and will bring down tensions within the ecosystem. According to a few PV manufacturing equipment vendors, cell manufacturing capacity of some of the cell manufacturers is getting expanded.
The bottomline is that there is guarded optimism, and all indications point to 2015 becoming a blockbuster year, with a capacity addition of upto 2.5 GW. As mentioned in the beginning of this article, the “solar eclipse” seems to be finally over.
(The event will conclude on the Day 3 on 20th November, 2014, which will see experts speak on topics like Balance of Systems(BoS), Operation & Maintenance(O&M) of solar projects, large scale PV projects, and Distributed Generation, among others.) _______________________________________________________________________________________________