Future looks positive for RE

Ashish Khanna, President, Tata Power (Renewables) shares his views on the growth of Indian solar PV industry in an interaction with Electrical India.

What are the trends shaping solar PV industry?

The Indian solar PV market has witnessed tremendous growth in recent years in terms of new capacity addition. With 11 GW, India is set to become the second largest solar PV market this year as global demand reaches 113 GW as per the IHS Markit report. Solar PV market in India is slated successfully to achieve the target of 100 GW solar power generation capacities by 2022 with a key focus on the development of renewable energy sector in India.

Mega solar power plants are developing in full swing with ample domestic and foreign investments in the sector due to ease in land acquisition and other legal approvals from the central and state government.

Various subsidies and incentives provided by the government have created good amount of awareness and pact among the end users for adopting solar power as an alternative source of energy over conventional sources.

How technology does play a key role in escalating the growth of solar business?

Today, India has moved up to be the fourth from being the seventh largest energy consumer in the world. Despite the growth, the country’s major population has limited or no access to electricity and has the world’s lowest per capita consumers of electricity. The rapid growth of demand has overtaken the supply, leading to power shortages in spite of the manifold growth in power generation over the years. To meet this demand, India plans to ramp up solar power generation to 100 GW by 2022.

This step in the right direction will not only support the demand requirements but also help bring sustainable, clean, climate-friendly electricity to millions of Indians. Latest technological developments in solar rooftop PV plants such as Net-Metering, Feed-In Tariff, Accelerated Depreciation Mechanism, Generation Based Incentives have facilitated the use of clean and renewable solar energy amongst consumers at a small scale. This is expected to boost the solar rooftop PV market in the coming years.

What are the growth drivers of the Indian solar PV industry?

India’s renewable industry has achieved a significant growth and solar sector, in particular, has emerged to be the primary growth driver to meet the targets. Today, our country aims to have an installed capacity of 175 GW renewables by 2022, of which 100 GW is outlined for solar power.

According to the recent report by Centre for Policy Research, Indian carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from energy generation in 2030 could be nearly double 2012 levels but will still meet its international commitments. Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has pledged that no new coal-fired power plants will be proposed and focus on expansion of solar parks. The authority also stated that renewables will contribute to about 20.3 per cent and 24.2 per cent of the total energy requirement in 2021-22 and 2026-27.

India is well on its way to achieve the solar energy targets; 60 GW is from large solar parks and 40 GW from solar rooftops. The installation of large-scale solar is by far on the schedule, however, solar rooftops need to be given a thrust.  The Government’s strong commitment to expand solar sector by providing it with supportive regulatory framework has helped India to be the global outperformer for investments to build solar capacity. With this, the solar capacity is expected to grow at an annual average rate of 16.0 per cent between 2018 and 2026.

What is your outlook for solar industry?

India is fast transitioning towards a renewable-focused economy reflecting a national commitment towards green energy. With nearly 293 global and domestic companies committing to generate 266 GW of solar, wind, mini hydel and biomass-based power in India over the next decade, the future looks positive. Indian power sector boasts the potential of investing Rs 15 lakh crore over the next four to five years, which indicates immense opportunities in power generation, distribution, transmission and equipment segment. The renewable energy storage system market is expected to witness robust growth, over the next decade, once the cost of storage declines, which is likely to happen because of the sheer volume growth through the electric vehicle route.