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Pratyush Thakur, COO, Statkraft BLP , On Why Solar Energy Is On The Cusp Of Taking Off In India

When it comes to the widespread adaptation of solar energy in India, some people believe we are already making great strides while others are of the opinion that we have a long way to go.

At Statkraft BLP, we believe that Government policies and corporate interest have together created just the right environment for the development of India’s solar power capacity. There is both demand and supply capability, so the Indian Government’s target of 100 GW solar power generation by 2020 is an ambitious, yet attainable goal.

In an exclusive interview with EQInternational Magazine, our COO Pratyush Thakur discusses the potential opportunities and hindrances that one can expect to find along the road to 2020.

Excerpts:

Low Tariff Bidding: A few recent Solar Park bids have reached an enviable bid rate of less than INR 3 per unit of power. However, this price is seen as unviable in the long run by many players in the industry. Special consideration must also be given to the GST now being levied on modules as well as the removal of tax relaxation for infrastructure projects under 80IA, both of which have an impact on implementation.

Prices and Expected Outcome: Today, alternate energy sources such as wind and solar power are available at a price comparable to conventional sources of power. This can largely be attributed to the fall in module prices, which is very rapid. Wind module prices have fallen close to 40% since 2009, and solar module prices have fallen by a significant 80% since then. These prices are expected to fall further, making wind and solar power generation a viable alternative to conventional power generation.

An Emerging Industry: So far, a fall in prices has not resulted in a fall in quality of wind and solar modules because technological advancements have kept pace. However, such a rapid fall in module prices may lead to a price war among the manufacturers and may not bode well for product quality over time. That said, wind and solar power are being considered mainstream energy, even preferred sometimes over conventional energy. This clear demand has the potential to fuel the next big industry in India, creating job opportunities and contributing to economic growth.

Risks and Threats: The development of solar potential depends on the availability of land that is otherwise not viable for agriculture. Limited data is available about such land, especially in rural areas. Challenges of a nascent industry exist here as well, such as enforcement of purchase obligations and a possible delay in payments. While every bidder would have taken these factors into consideration, as well as their own strengths and capabilities, long-term viability of projects depends on a lot of such uncertainties for now, and they must certainly be taken into account.

The Statkraft Advantage: Statkraft BLP strongly believes in the delivery of quality. We only source the best modules and optimize operations thoroughly. The results are there for everyone to see- some of our projects have been performing at a higher efficiency rate than what was originally anticipated. Moreover, with our reliable capital base, the availability of financial resources does not become a roadblock in projects. Third, and most important, is the fact that we give utmost importance to safety during the implementation and operation of projects. This helps us not only avoid safety incidents and time delays, but also allows us to be conscious of the impact of our operations on those around them.

Read the full article on Page-42 here: https://issuu.com/eqinternational/docs/eq_august_2017