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Communication Feature | January 2012

Solar power generation in India...

Solar power generation in India can by far exceed the government's target, believe experts in the sector.

Rapidly decreasing prices of technology and inventive new business models will contribute to the industry's potential.

JAIPUR - Under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, which was launched in 2009, the Indian government aims for 22,000 MW of solar power by 2022.

"I expect a capacity of at least 50,000 MW of solar power in India in the next 10 to 15 years", says Vijay Anand Bhagavatula, Deputy General Manager, Corporate Strategy and New Business Initiatives at Moser Baer India Ltd. "Moser Baer intends to build at least 100 new installations annually and contribute up to 300 MW in the next three years. This growth potential is partly driven by simple numbers. Solar energy here is already cheaper than diesel and can be as cheap as conventional power in three years time."

Jigar Shah, CEO of the Washington-based Carbon War Room, is even more optimistic. "The capacity of the Indian solar industry can easily reach 200,000 MW by 2022. In less than a year, India has gone from zero to 1000 MW of solar power being either completed or under construction. So it is easy to see how India can build at least 7000 MW per year. By 2022, I expect that another $300 billion has been invested in the sector."

Both men will elaborate on their vision at the conference The Solar Future India II, which will be held in Jaipur on 29 February 2012. The event is organized by Solarplaza, a Netherlands based information platform for international solar energy stakeholders that organizes conferences worldwide.

"With the slowdown of the global market for solar energy, India is a logical new market", says Edwin Koot, CEO of Solarplaza.

The need for renewable energy here is evident. Environmental reasons aside, there is a power deficit of 10 percent, while 44 percent of households has no electricity at all. The country will be increasingly dependent on imports of conventional energy sources, particularly coal.

The fact that solar installations can be built relatively quickly, gives the industry an edge over other forms of alternative energy. And with 300 sunny days per year and an average solar incidence of 4 to 7 KwH per m2 per day, India's solar potential is amongst the highest in the world.

The Indian solar market has benefited from international trends, says Koot, who sees radical changes since the first Solar Future conference was held in India one year ago. "The international PV industry has experienced a sharp fall in prices, of up to 40 percent in the past year, and even lower prices are expected for 2012", says Koot. "This means that solar energy will get cheaper and highly attractive for new markets, such as India."

The Indian market is huge and not limited to large scale solar farms, says Bhagavatula. "With the right business model and policies, rooftop installations for individual households will soon be able to compete with diesel generators. Doing business in India can be challenging, but if you know how to implement technology, the sky is the limit."

Shah, who in his position at the Carbon War Room is dedicated to indentifying business-as-usual practices and replacing them with low-carbon solutions, believes that rural India will become a very successful market segment in 2012. "There are multiple new technologies with quite high returns – even for supporting the poor. A system for bill payment via mobile phones for rural households is a big business model. Also business models for telecom towers, for which solar power is already cost competitive as they now depend on expensive diesel, will really take off in the coming year."

The market potential of solar power will be an important theme at The Solar Future India II, besides government policies and finance solutions. Attention to international trends, internationally renowned experts and an informal networking atmosphere gives the event a unique character.

Other speakers include Vishal Shah - Managing Director & Senior Analyst Alternative Energy, Deutsche Bank, Mario Zen - Vice President Business Development, LDK Solar, Xavier Daval - Founder & CEO, KiloWattsol.

About Solarplaza

Solarplaza.com is the independent global platform for knowledge, trade and events for the photovoltaic solar energy (PV) industry. Solarplaza is based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and has already organized over 30 conferences and trade missions, including in Greece, United States, Taiwan, India, China, Italy, Germany, South Africa and Spain. Last year, the first edition of The Solar Future: India was a great success.

Press contact:

Paul van der Linden (p.vanderlinden@solarplaza.com)
Website: www.thesolarfuture.in
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