At the Intersolar conference, Deepak Gupta, Secretary, MNRE, called on Indian companies to reduce costs through volume production.
The second edition of Intersolar India—a three-day exhibition and conference on photo-voltaics (PV) and solar thermal technologies saw participation from over 143 exhibitors all over the world from the solar industry. While the exhibition was held at the Bombay Exhibition Centre in Mumbai, the high profile conference was held at Hotel Leela Kempinski, which hosted about 700 international and domestic delegates. The conference showcased the latest developments in solar energy technology, including manufacturing, markets, applications, finance and policy.
Deepak Gupta, Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy inaugurated Intersolar India at the Leela Kempinski hotel. Professor Juzer Vasi on behalf of the National Centre for PV Research and Education at the Indian Institute of Technology (Mumbai), which is part of the National Solar Mission, spoke of long-term issues related to R&D and education, which could become a bottleneck if they aren't addressed quickly.
In the panel discussion at the conference, panellists sought answers to questions such as how can India become one of the largest solar markets in the world, what are the barriers and how to overcome them to meet India's 20 GW ambitions and, in future will India become both a market and supplier? Both the exhibition and accompanying conference proved to be an excellent opportunity for members of the Indian solar industry to strengthen their network and business. Over 143 registered exhibitors from 15 countries used the event as a networking platform to present their products and service to an exclusive audience.
Deepak Gupta, Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy—Excerpts from his speech
Speaking of the solar mission he said, "We have about 400 million people with no access to electricity and who use kerosene for lighting. We can provide them with reliable solar lights to begin with. In the mission, we want to cover 20 million homes through solar lights. We are also trying to directly involve private sectors in installation of solar power systems by setting up micro-grids in villages. Many pilot projects have been initiated in which we have also received the help of the government of Norway. We are looking for foundations and CSR funds to join hands with us. Our target is to reduce at least a billion litres of diesel/kerosene annually within the next five years. We used to do a couple of MW in a year but this year against a target of 32 MW, we have already approved projects of 30.5 MW and are likely to reach about 40 MW by March."
About manufacturing and R&D, he said, "Some other areas of importance are to motivate industry and encourage them to do research for cost reduction. We have announced a policy of domestic requirements. This year we had allowed import of solar cells used in production of crystalline silicon modules as well as import of thin film modules. However, next year for 300 MW capacity of PV projects, only domestically produced cells and modules will be permitted. In the last one year domestic production capacity has doubled from about 700 MW capacity of cells to about 1,400 MW. We want you to expand your production capacities and induct state-of-the-art technology. You must achieve further cost reduction through volume production and research and continue to remain competitive to international quality and cost. Reduction in cost is key to the success of the mission. We are focusing strongly on R&D. In view of the ambitious growth, human resource development also needs urgent attention. We need about one lakh trained engineers, scientists, PHD's and technicians. I urge the industry to tell us their requirement so that we strengthen training activities in close association with the industry."
Speaking of augmenting radiation resource assessment, he said, "Centre for Wind Energy Technology (C-WET) has been assigned with the task of solar radiation monitoring. We intend to set up 50 ground-monitoring stations, in co-operation with the states."
In conclusion he said, "On the issue of financing of solar projects, both grid connected as well as off-grid, we've been talking to many banks to see how to make solar projects more attractive for funding. How to access low cost funds, what innovations can be introduced in financing and how we can reduce risks. These are questions for which the financial community must find solutions."
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