Innovative Strategies and Sustainable Development for Solar Energy in India
NEW DELHI, INDIA, 17-18 FEBRUARY 2011 –India has abundant solar resources, as it receives about 3000 hours of sunshine every year, equivalent to over 5,000 trillion kWh. Realizing the potential of solar energy, the Indian Government has launched the ambitious Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) which promises to catapult India into becoming the largest market for solar energy in the world. In fact, India's solar energy sector has the potential to be the biggest energy opportunity of the 21st century.
Supported by the World Institute of Sustainable Energy and EAI, the India Solar Energy Summit occurred on the 17-18 February 2011 in New Delhi. With over 100 attendees the event brought together senior officials, PV manufacturers and solutions providers to provide a unique insight into evolving governmental policies, breakthrough technologies and investment strategies for this evolving sector.
Opening the event on day one was Dr. Pramod Deo, Chairperson of the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) of India. He highlighted the role of regulators in solar energy projects and how they can help ease barriers to investment in this field. Key speakers such as Narasimhan Santhanam, Director of Energy Alternative India (EAI) spoke about opportunities for small and medium enterprises along the Solar PV and CSP value chain in the current solar energy boom in India. He highlighted opportunities in support systems such as those in the manufacturing of chemicals, wires and inverters, but also in other areas such as trading and services in engineering, software and human resources management. Andreas Thermann, Senior Project Manager at KfW India noted in his talk that the German-funded banking group is prepared to fund projects in India provided that there are strong economic ingredients such as fixed rate feed-in-tariffs via power purchase agreements and that the project developer has solid experience in the sector. He also highlighted that good grid access for electricity output is attractive to such investors. Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd"The summit was very useful and created awareness of global solar development especially for new comers in the solar field. I feel it's necessary such a summit would occur very frequently"
Insightful revelations were announced at the event such as that by Dr. G.M. Pillai, Director General of the World Institute of Sustainable Energy (WISE) who discussed policy development in Indian States to promote solar energy. He noted that the targets of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) are inadequate to meet the overall goal of 15% renewable energy, set by the Indian National Action Plan on Climate Change, and that a doubling of the original JNNSM targets is now required. XL Energy "Real insight about policy in India and wide variety of topics covered." Anil Patni, Deputy General Manager, TATA BP Solar Ltd said bidders in India's first solar auction have committed to building plants at unviable rates because they don't understand the costs of the technology. He claims the government, which is expected to award the next round of licenses later this year, should select bids closest to the average to weed out unrealistically low ones. In addition, Mr. Amit Barve, GM, Schott Solar AG highlighted that the IEC-61215 standard certification mandated by the government of India is in itself not sufficient to ensure high reliability modules. In his view, the standard misses several critical aspects such as consistency of manufacturing, checks on supplier quality upstream in the value-chain, manpower skills, quality procedures used by manufacturers and a lack of good testing methods, such as combined heat and humidity tests. Medhaj Techno Concept Pvt Ltd"The event really catered to the requirements of manufactures in India. Thanks to the event organizers for such a knowledgeable conference. Your people are doing a great job."
Prominent speakers also included Elias Issa, CEO of Deutche Eco AG who shared his view on the German experience. Great success was achieved in Germany by incentivizing decentralized roof-top solar in households and shutting down conventional power generators in favour of surplus renewable power wherever possible. Lokesh Jain of Mott MacDonald spoke about the Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) market. In India, developers are mainly setting up CSP sites in the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan, where there is a lot of barren land and good solar irradiation. Site selection, he said, is an important factor and should take into consideration aspects such as climate conditions, terrain, grid vicinity and accessibility of a water network. Kimaya Energy"It was worth attending the conference & I'm looking forward to having such workshops in the future in Delhi. Thanks for the hospitality." There were many interesting technology updates at the event. Manual Rodriguez, President of InfiniteERCAM discussed the development of high accuracy solar tracking systems; Marco Lamsouguer, CEO of AE Photonics presented on solar modules and inverters; and from Optimal Power Synergy Ashok Prakash presented on power electronics and grid support potential. Presentations also came from Elettronica Santerno SpA, Astom AG, Benteler and Synova SA who spoke about laser chemical processing. Bosch Rexroth AG, Germany "Good variety of presentations."
Notable sessions included the panel discussions. In day one's discussion Dr. Christodas Gandhi, Chairman of Tamil Nadu State Energy Development Agency (TEDA) mentioned that as a government representative he would like to give a message to the entrepreneurs in the industry to focus on cost reduction as government support policies cannot last for very long. He was also in favour of decentralized power generation by small rural establishments instead of large-scale power plants. Tempress Systems BV"Panel discussion on the first day was very good. At the end I had a good impression of the PV situation in India. There is a lot of potential." The panel discussion on day two was moderated by Vineeth Vijayaraghavan of Panchabuta. The panellists were M.P. Singh, Joint Director-Projects of Punjab Energy Development Authority (PEDA), Dr. Swati Purakayastha of Optimal Power Solutions and Mr. Sushil Kumar Paliwal from MoserBaer. Mr. Singh discussed the first ever grid connected private power project in India – a 2MW project by Azure Power, and mentioned that the generation was around 1.6 million units per annum per megawatt. Further he said that states like Punjab, where land is fertile and expensive, should focus on rooftop solar more than grid connected. He also recommended smaller solar projects where land could be given by the local governing bodies (Panchayat) in villages for development of smaller projects. Mr. Paliwal highlighted that thin films are well suited for India due to the low capital costs as well as stability in hot weather conditions and was surprised that not many developers are looking at thin films in India. On the question of land availability, he mentioned that although land is low cost and plentiful in India, the project developers are finding it difficult to acquire the land in a timely manner. Astom AG"The event was very good and the people were very friendly"
Noppen would like to express special thanks to the India Solar Energy Summit sponsors; ERCAM, AE Photonics, Santerno, Optimal Power Solutions, Astom, Benteler, Bosch, Amtech Tempress, Rexroth, Synova, RENA, and Trina Solar for their immense contribution to the event. We also had the honour of delegates from SESI, Mr. Jagat S. Jawa (Director General), Professor M.P. Sharma (Director of Institute of Engineering & Rural Technology, who's also the ex-Minister of Renewable Energy) and also Mr. Rajiv Jain, Associate Director – Government Affairs from ISA (India Semiconductor Association). Benteler "It was indeed a great pleasure to participate in the summit. I must express my sincere thanks to the Noppen team, especially the Conference Producer, for their great support during the two days. Wish you all the best!!"