New Delhi- The recent Renewable Energy India 2011 Expo (REIE) held from
August 10-12, India's Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (NSM) was
second to none. The established three-phase plan outlines targets to install
1-2 GW by 2013, 4-10 GW from 2013-2017, and 20 GW by 2022. But the EAI
(Energy Alternatives India), a renewable energy consulting firm, predicts a
much higher 75 GW by 2022.
By June 2011, 200 MW of grid connected photovoltaic (PV) and 500 MW of
concentrated solar power (CSP) plants had been allocated for development
under NSM, with an additional 300 MW of PV expected to be allocated soon.
NSM has provisioned $335 million to invest in solar over the next two years.
With enhanced funding, policy support and state schemes, the Indian solar
market can grow fast: “We are talking about an Indian market of 6-7 GW in
next 4-5 years,” said James Abraham, MD & CEO of Sunborne Energy Services
based in Gurgaon, India.
Under NSM, PV and CSP share a 50/50 stake in total solar power production.
There are presently very few CSP installations in India, but several 500-MW
CSP plants are in the process of getting financing with support from NSM.
Transmission infrastructure for grid connected solar power is a key agenda
item for the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. Secretary of the
ministry, Mr. Gupta, said at REIE that the national Clean Energy Fund holds
about $667 million annually for transmission infrastructure.
“We seek this money for innovative solar projects, research and
development projects and demonstration projects,” said Gupta.
International financing and technology transfer is seen as key to scale up
solar power generation in the second phase (especially for off-grid
installations). For these projects, incentives are provided primarily as
capital subsidies– 30 percent for non-priority regions, 90 percent for
priority regions and accelerated depreciation, and five percent for soft
loans in some cases. Incentives depend on whether the scheme is offered by
state or center and vary from $0.27 to $0.40 per kWh for grid-connected
power, depending on the size of the plant.
Some states such as Gujarat, Rajasthan and Karnataka, have encouraged
investment by announcing renewable energy policies and schemes. This seems
to have impacted their visibility in the renewable energy space.
“There is a lot of potential in solar. We are looking at solar and other
renewable energy to find out the best way to invest in Gujarat, Rajasthan,
Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka. We might [invest] 50/50 in solar and another
renewable using a joint venture,” said Andrea Manzini of CPL Energy.
“We have done a lot of work in the European solar market. We are trying to
do same thing in India. It's a good time to start.”