Opportunity in the Indian RE sector
Nov. 20, 2009 — Now then, let's look at one other opportunity story in the Indian renewable energy (RE) sector. This time, it is Sunil Jain, COO of Greeninfra Ltd., who said that the total RE capacity was only 9 percent of the total Indian capacity.
The race to grid parity is the holy grail. Achieving grid parity implies being cost competitive with traditional energy sources. The current installed costs are in the range of $3 to $3.5 per watt.
He discussed initiatives to make grid integrated projects work. These initiatives have been looked at from four perspectives – regulator, financing, technology supplier, and investors and leaders.
In regulator perspective, points to consider include ending state monopoly on power supply chain and have a uniform policy across states for tariffs, distribution and generation, especially in RE, and to implement the Electricity Act 2003 in totality. Also, there is a need to make RPO mandatory and penalize nonadherence. There exists a need as well to have a mandatory SPO within the RPO to encourage early stage grid integrated solar development in India.
From a financing perspective, a solar cess of 5 paisa/unit (approx. US 0.1 cents) on energy distributed can generate Rs. 5,000 crores annually to provide subsidized funding for solar projects to kick start the sector. Some other points included allowing solar bonds to fund projects, and approving/implementing the new Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) guidelines on solar tariff of Rs. 13 to 14 per unit for 20 years.
Technology suppliers are recommended to work on reducing the cost of panels. The target price per MW should be Rs. 8 to 9 crores for concentrated solar power (CSP) and Rs. 10 to 12 crores for PV over the next two years. Yet another point was to collaborate and indigenize the components required for solar PV, where possible.
Finally, he advised investors and lenders to look for longer exit periods. Also, hybrid structures could be brought in by offering stakeholders small equity stake in project and holding entities. Lenders could offer loans at around 9 percent (with subsidies), with tenure up to 15 years to improve the DSCR and returns.
Nov. 20, 2009
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