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India Inc wants policy support to bet on wind, solar energy

According to reports, India’s green energy initiatives, which aim to boost solar power capacity to 20,000 mw in a decade, and expand windmills, have made rapid progress but entrepreneurs want supportive policies to sustain growth.

India aims to meet 15% of its power needs, or 80,000 mw, from renewable sources by 2020, with an investment of Rs 1.5 lakh crore. This has boosted investment in the sector by 54% in just one year, and solar power capacity has leaped to 905 megawatts from a negligible 8 mw three years ago, making India one of the top 10 global destinations for investments.

“The sector is highly optimistic. Between the national solar mission projects and the state sponsored projects, the total demand is more than 1 gw over the next year,” said Rajiv Arya, CEO of Moser Baer Solar.

Solar power rates have plunged to Rs 7.49 per unit. “From a sector that was almost non-existent in 2008, today has over 400 companies bidding for power projects across the country,” said Inderpreet Wadhwa, CEO of Azure Power.

But several concerns lurk behind the phenomenal growth. Solar firms want anti-dumping duties, saying that foreign frims are selling equipment at ridiculously low prices.

“There are problems with regard to financing and fund availability. There is a lack of robust policy to support capacity utilisation,” said S. Venkatramani, general secretary, Indian solar manufacturer’s association. The government plans to help.

“Efficiency of the local industry needs to be upgraded and we may come up with a scheme to support their funding which will help them compete with the global technology,” said Tarun Kapoor, joint secretary, in the renewable energy ministry.

Wind energy has also expanded, making India one of the world leaders in the sector. “There is no doubt that the wind market is set to maintain its strong growth trajectory,” said Chintan Shah – Head, Strategic Business Development at Suzlon Energy.

The sector is craving for the accelerated depreciation scheme, that was terminated in March, but optimism remains.

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