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Interaction | September 2018

"The solar-wind hybrid is a progressive policy"

However, according to Krishnan Rajgopalan, Director-BD, Statkraft BLP India, difficulties with respect to synchronised working with grid (voltage and frequency) and hybrid inverter behaviours are the key.

Tell us about the overall rooftop segment in India? How well is the country progressing on this front? What are the challenges pertaining to this sector and what are your suggestions to mitigate those challenges?
India has an established the rooftop policy of 40 GW to be installed by 2022. However, the speed with which India is progressing, particularly in the rooftop segment is slow. Currently, we have achieved only 3.4 per cent of our overall target. This target in all perspective could be revised by the Government of India. The major challenges with respect to the implementation of rooftop schemes are the misalignment of DISCOMs with respect to the central policy. Every DISCOM wants to protect its customer base, particularly the HT industrial customers who are the potential candidates to adopt rooftop. Uniform policies, the higher adaption of rooftop projects by both private and public sector companies, ease of net metering schemes and exemption from the government requirement for rooftop of more than 1 MW capacity are the key to the fast achievement of the target.

This is a very good initiative. Where we have wind installations, adapting and integrating solar is a good move. Currently, Gujarat's 2.5 GW tender for the solar-wind hybrid is the first step towards this integrated approach. Some of the major hurdles could be the capacity for evacuating the power. The policy is a very progressive policy. However, difficulties with respect to synchronised working with grid (voltage and frequency) and hybrid inverter behaviours are the key. But with the technological advancements happening in the inverter space, I believe this is quite possible.

Tell us about the solutions provided by Statkraft to the sector?
Statkraft is a government of Norwegian RE utility company. We provide in-campus and off-campus project development, and long-term RE power supply to our customers. We are now keen to deploy more capital in India to develop solar, wind, hydropower and hybrid projects in the next five to seven years. Statkraft also offers power trading solutions to our customers along with forecasting and scheduling services.

The sector requires a huge investment. However, your website claims zero investments. Tell us about this overall idea of zero investments.
There are a couple of business models which are available in this space. In our offering, the client need not invest any capital. Entire investment is done by Statkraft on the roof of the customer's factory or land. With zero capital investment from the client, the client enjoys a reduced power cost with respect to the DISCOM power they are buying currently. This also is provided at a fixed price for the customer over a long period, for example, 15- 20 years. This provides a high level of hedging for the customer from the increasing cost of power.

Tell us about your orderbook position. 
Statkraft has over 15 MW of solar operating capacity in India, which is only a start for our business in India. We are currently developing and executing over 50 MW of solar power capacity in India. More than the capacity, Statkraft has kept for itself an overall target of over 3 TWhr of energy production and supply in India in the next 5-7 years. This means we are poised to deploy lots of capital and project pipeline in the years to come. 

Tell us about your one of the best project implemented so far. 
We have done a couple of good projects, totally 10 MW (2 x 5 MW) in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. One is an open access project installed in an open land and the other project is an in-campus project for a large client within their own premise. Both these projects had their own challenges in execution but Statkraft’s stringent engineering standards and safety standards were strictly followed in these projects. Some of the areas specific to mention are layouts, AC side protection systems, storm water drainage systems, structural stability, reverse power flow protection systems and monitoring.

- RAHUL KAMAT

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