The first round of the first phase of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Mission was announced and bids invited for 620MW of projects, 470MW in Solar Thermal and 150MW in Solar PV last year.
Panchabuta was the first to report on the Solar PV and thermal developers shortlisted for the first phase of the Solar Mission. 37 developers for a aggregated capacity of 620MW have been shortlisted and PPA’s signed.
Subsequently early this year, all but one of the developers have signed their PPA’s and the time line set for financial closure is the middle of thus year.
Gujarat has released a state specific solar policy with an ambitious target of installing 1,000 Mw solar power capacity by the end of 2012 and 3,000 Mw in next five years. The state has already signed PPAs for about 934MW.
Just a couple of days back, Panchabuta has mentioned that the next round of bidding for 296 MW of solar photovoltaic projects is likely to start in April, according to Anil Agarwal, CEO of NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam, the nodal agency for the first phase of the mission.
It is in this backdrop that Renewcon Solar India 2011 is being held in Mumbai on 10-11 March 2011. According to the organizers, the conference aims to explore the latest developments and advances in the solar power sector.
This high-level strategic meeting provides two intensive days of business critical information gathering, competitive benchmarking, and high-powered networking with the cream of the Indian power generation industry.
Some of the key topics to be addressed include the translation of the National Solar Mission guidelines from policy to an implementable business strategy that pays.
There is a special discussion on how to attract innovative sources of finance to fuel the rapid development of solar power projects. With the timelines for financial closure in the middle of June this will be of a value to a lot of small and medium size developers that have been successful in the national solar mission bidding and are now working on their EPC and financial closure.
There is also an interesting discussion planned on operationally sound solar PV and solar thermal plants that ensure technical excellence and cost-efficiency. While cost-efficiency is very important from a project perspective, Panchabuta has often told developers in private discussions to keep in mind that the value of the asset they develop and the returns on the project are directly linked to the feed in tariffs which is generation based and hence technical and engineering efficiencies and excellence should not be compromised.
There is a session planned on leveraging international expertise and partnerships to drive operational excellence and achieve a rapid return on investment. This is something that could be of use to a lot of developers as a number of Asian, European and American EPC companies that have been in discussion with Panchabuta have expressed a lot of interest in entering India and identifying the right partners to develop projects with. This is definitely a good lever for the developers to collaborate with world-class EPC companies that are looking to enter India.
The conference seems to have lined up the right mix of speakers from the various stake holders in the industry including, Dr P K Mishra, Chairman, Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission (GERC), Jason Donovan, First Secretary and Unit Chief for Energy and ICT US Embassy, Anjan Ghosh, Head, Business Development, Tata BP Solar, Ivan Saha, Head, Research and Development,Moser Baer Photovoltaic, R K Sikri, General Manager, Renewable Energy,NTPC, K S Popli, Director, IREDA, Ben Parry, Vice President, Project Finance, Azure Power,Ashish Khanna, Acting Lead Energy Specialist, South Asia Sustainable Development,World Bank.
A very interesting session has been planned on reviewing lessons learnt from Phase one and establishing new directions and implications for future phases. Another interesting session is that of driving rural and off-grid electrification through solar and this is an opportunity that Panchabuta has often talked about, but not discussed as much in the mainstream solar community in India.
It is good that there is a presentation that has been scheduled on the financial advantages offered by REC in the form of procedure, issues and challenges. This is something that a number of developers and consultants have been looking at seriously and have been in discussions with Panchabuta on the same.
Panchabuta will be at the event and would be available to meet with members of the renewable energy community that will be at the event.