This is a season of International conferences for the Renewable Energy industry in India. If it was DIREC 2010 in New Delhi late October 2010, it is the turn of intersolar India now.
Intersolar India started on December 13,2010. The conference takes place in The Leela Kempinski in Mumbai during December 13-15,2010 whereas the3-day Exhibition started a day later on December 14 and closes on December 16,2010 at the Bombay Exhibition Centre. It is expected that about 600 people attend the conference and there are 150 exhibitors at the Exhibition.
The event was inaugurated by Mr. Deepak Gupta, Secretary, MNRE and the opening session saw some important speakers sharing insights on the policy guidelines, the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission(JNNSM) challenges and opportunities.
Professor Juzer Vasi, National Centre for PV Research and Engineering, IIT Mumbai, was the first speaker of the opening session. He talked about the “Education and Training focus in the JNNSM”. He mentioned that in order for the Solar Mission to be successful, there is a requirement of at least 100,000 skilled people in the industry. Of this, close to 25,000 will be engineers/scientists with different degrees of education(Bachelors,Masters/Phds). The MNRE has already developed guidelines for formal courses in the different education institutions in the country. He added that in order to meet the manpower requirement, it is important to have Franchising and certification of the Solar training by private institutes similar to IT certifications.
He also highlighted the activities of IIT Mumbai in Research and Development of Solar Technologies.
Mr. V.S.Verma, Member of the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC), was the next to speak. According to him, the following points are very critical in the success of the National Solar Mission
1. Development of indigenous technology
2. Financing – convincing banks/Financial Institutions about the technology feasibility and business viability of solar projects
3. Skill development
4. Grid connectivity of the solar projects
5. Reliability of power supply by the project developers and
6. Grid security
He mentioned that there are many conferences taking place in the renewable energy sector, but not many come of up with concrete recommendations after the deliberations. He asked the interSolar organizers to address this issue.
Mr. Deepak Gupta, Secretary MNRE, was the next to speak. He mentioned that the fact that so many events are organized shows the success of the JNNSM in creating a huge interest in Solar. Mr. Gupta said the NVVN has shortlisted the Solar PV and Solar Thermal project developers after the first bidding of the first phase of the Solar Mission. He said that in both Solar PV and Solar Thermal, the average discount was about 30% from the reference bid price. The details are as below.
NVVN reference price : Rs. 17.91/kWh
Lowest winning bid : Rs.11.18/kWh
Average bid : Rs 12.16/kWh
NVVN reference price : Rs. 15.31/kWh
Lowest winning bid : Rs.11.14/kWh
Mr. Gupta said that he expects all the projects to go online before the deadline (12 months from the date of signing the PPA for Solar PV and 28 months from the date of signing PPA for Solar Thermal) and there will be great penalty if the projects are not completed timely. The terms outlined in the Solar Mission will not be changed. He added that the local content requirements for modules and cells will also not be changed.
On the off-grid segment, Mr. Gupta said that one of the aims of the Mission is to reduce the consumption of Diesel and Kerosene to the maximum extent possible. This will be accomplished by providing solar lanterns to at least 20 million households in India and by enabling the setup of microgrids(with the Government of Norway’s assistance). Another area where huge savings of diesel can be had is telephone towers. He said that about 100 towers each for 3 telephone operators have been using solar power on a pilot basis with assistance from MNRE. Solar street lights in rural areas is also a huge potential area in the off-grid segment.
On the Solar radiation Assessment, Mr. Gupta mentioned that C-WET(Centre for Wind Energy Technology), Chennai has been given the responsibility to carry out the assessment and generate a database. All the solar projects that will be developed will have to collect and submit solar radiation and other weather data to C-WET on a regular basis.
On financing of solar projects, he said MNRE is interacting with the banks and other financial institutions to facilitate financing in the Solar sector.
He concluded his remarks by saying that on the 1st anniversary of the JNNSM, the MNRE has succeeded in setting up a robust framework and in finishing the first round of project allotment of the first phase of the mission. Now the MNRE is looking forward to a successful implementation of the first and the probably the most crucial part of the Solar Mission. Mr Deepak Gupta then proceeded to the press conference where he took questions from the media.
The next part of the opening session was a panel discussion on “How India can become one of the largest solar markets in the world” and “What the barriers are and how to overcome them in order to meet India’s 20 GW ambitions”. This was attended by the following people:
1. Debashish Majumdar, CMD Ireda
2. Inderpreet S. Wadhwa, CEO, Azure Power India
3. Hanslal Bajaj, former Chairman, CEA
4. Petra Leue-Bahns,MD,ecolutions GmbH & KGaA, Germany
5. Dr.Mohan Bhan, VP, Moser Baer
6. Rabindra Satpathy, President, Reliance Solar
The conference touched upon various aspects of the JNNSM, including the challenges in getting approvals from government agencies, each state having its own Solar policy, financing issues, lack of accurate solar radiation data, among others.
With this lively and thought provoking discussion, the opening session came to an end.
The post-lunch session was grouped on 3 topics – On-grid PV, Off-grid PV and Solar Thermal. More on it in my next blog.
PS: The second part of Day 1 is available here.