In an in­ter­view San­tosh Ka­math, Part­ner - In­fra­struc­ture and Gov­ern­ment Ser­vices, KPMG in In­dia, says that so­lar will grow sub­stan­tially.

So far the con­straint has been the higher cost of pro­duc­ing power, San­tosh Ka­math, Part­ner - In­fra­struc­ture and Gov­ern­ment Ser­vices, KPMG in In­dia, in­forms R Srini­vasan.

Power Watch India - - CONTENTS -

What will be the im­pact of the new gov­ern­ment on so­lar seg­ment across In­dia. Also specif­i­cally in Gujarat since it has sanc­tioned over 960 MW at a cost of Rs 9.89/kWh for the first 12 years and Rs 7/kWh for sub­se­quent 13 years.

We ex­pect the new gov­ern­ment to give a strong im­pe­tus to so­lar and re­new­ables. The favourable eco­nom­ics and the in­cli­na­tion to­wards this source of en­ergy as we have seen in the past in Gujarat, are rea­sons for this ex­pec­ta­tion.

MNRE pro­vides 70% sub­sidy on in­stal­la­tion cost of a so­lar PV power plant in NE states. Pros and cons of such sub­si­dies.

It would be bet­ter to move to­wards a regime of re­plac­ing sub­si­dies by fi­nanc­ing as that can cre­ate a sus­tain­able model. Pro­grammes that en­cour­age lenders and ru­ral fi­nanciers to come for­ward are needed. Th­ese could in­clude ca­pac­ity build­ing pro­grammes for ru­ral fi­nanciers, par­tial risk guar­an­tee or in­sur­ance schemes for cer­tain types of risks and pos­si­bly in­ter­est rate

sub­ven­tions.

Cus­toms duty on so­lar pan­els has been re­duced and ex­cise duty on PV pan­els has been ex­empted which may re­duce the cost of a roof-top so­lar panel in­stal­la­tion by 15–20%. Where are we in view of 20 GW by 2020?

We are well on the way to achiev­ing and even ex­ceed­ing the tar­gets. The big­gest driver will be eco­nom­ics.

As­sum­ing the ef­fi­ciency of PV mod­ules were as low as 10%, this would still be a thou­sand times greater than the en­ergy de­mand. Then what fac­tors are prov­ing to be a con­straint?

So far the con­straint has been the higher cost of pro­duc­ing power. Go­ing for­ward, this will ease and so­lar will grow sub­stan­tially.

To what ex­tent has the REC ini­tia­tive worked out? If it hasn’t, then what fac­tors were be­hind it and what would you sug­gest?

The scheme will be effective only when Re­new­able Pur­chase Obli­ga­tions (RPOs) are en­forced. That has been the is­sue so far.

Pro­jects cur­rently planned in­clude 3,000 Orissa vil­lages, lit with so­lar power by 2014. To what ex­tent have ru­ral elec­tri­fi­ca­tion tar­gets across In­dia been met. What mea­sures would you sug­gest?

Some reg­u­la­tory mea­sures such as a frame­work for in­te­grat­ing off-grid into the grid when the grid reaches the vil­lages is needed. This will mit­i­gate the risk of th­ese get­ting stranded. Fur­ther, fi­nanc­ing mod­els need to be de­vel­oped and en­cour­aged by the gov­ern­ment.

Ban­ga­lore has the largest de­ploy­ment of roof-top so­lar wa­ter heaters in In­dia. It is also the first city to put in place in­cen­tives on elec­tric­ity bills for those us­ing roof-top sys­tems. Pune too has made in­stal­la­tion of such heaters manda­tory. By when can we an­tic­i­pate such a move­ment across In­dia?

This de­pends on state gov­ern­ment pol­icy. So­lar wa­ter heaters are an easy way to re­duce elec­tric­ity con­sump­tion in many parts of In­dia and should be en­cour­aged in full mea­sure.

The Sai Baba Sansthan Trust in Ma­ha­rash­tra (world’s largest so­lar steam sys­tem) has an an­nual sav­ings of 100,000 kg of cook­ing gas. Could this be the way for­ward for shrines in In­dia?

Yes. So­lar-based steam gen­er­a­tion and ap­pli­ca­tions based on this have very good po­ten­tial e.g. steam for in­dus­trial ap­pli­ca­tions. This needs devel­op­ment of re­li­able prod­ucts and good qual­ity ven­dors.

Tamil Nadu plans to in­crease the in­stalled so­lar ca­pac­ity from 20 MW to over 3,000 MW by 2015. What would en­sure its suc­cess?

In the past, there have been is­sues with how pro­grammes have been con­ducted in some states. There needs to be a time-bound man­ner in which the process in con­ducted. Fur­ther, pay­ment se­cu­rity con­cerns need to be ad­dressed.

Will so­lar will form the back­bone of the econ­omy by 2050?

So­lar cer­tainly has great po­ten­tial for In­dia. It could trans­form our econ­omy and open up new av­enues for economic growth.

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