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Cover Story | July 2018

Sophisticated tools require managing variability on the grid

In an interview with <span style="font-weight: bold;">POWER TODAY, Hemant Joshi, CEO, TMEIC,</span> lists out the challenges in the power purchase agreement. Land acquisition and evacuation are putting the solar capacity addition on a slower track.&nbsp; <br /> <br /> <span style="font-weight: bold;">In the changing scenario of capacity addition, what are your expectations for the inverter market? </span><br /> Significant gap exists between the plans that are declared and the projects that are happening on ground. The expectation is that the gaps should be minimised. The steps - whatever is necessary in terms of land, power purchase agreement (PPA), or evacuation - need to be lined up, so that planned additions are implemented on time. Once these are addressed, the gaps will be reduced considerably.<br /> <br /> <span style="font-weight: bold;">Do you expect the growth rate to continue in the current year as that of last year?</span> <br /> It needs to be looked at from different perspectives. In terms of demand in the Indian market, the answer is yes, the growth rate can sustain. Investments capacity may be there, but it is questionable as one sees irrational market behaviour where the dynamics are so diverse. Making projects feasible is another challenge, which is why we see a bit of slow down. There is a need for refining the overall strategy in terms of making finances and capital available. The impact of solar or renewable on the grid and the technological challenge of managing them is another issue. It is neither fully understood, nor fully evolved. The more RE capacity is added to the grid, the more lucid it becomes, which requires sophisticated tools to manage the said variability on the grid. When the deficit reduces on the demand-supply side, this problem becomes more acute. If these are addressed, in my view, there is enough potential for this market to grow for the next ten years. <br /> <br /> <span style="font-weight: bold;">You just touched upon the condition of Indian grid. How ready are we to handle renewable energy (RE) in large volumes at the grid levels? </span><br /> It is in the nature of RE that the generation sources are not firm. For example, in Bengaluru, we have 40 MW solar plants put up. If it rains, the generation drops suddenly, whereas the demand remains. The reference is to manage variability in grid management so that sudden drops in tapping the energy do not lead to major disruptions.<br /> <br /> <span style="font-weight: bold;">How favourable is the policy level support for the industry? </span><br /> Reasonably good. It is the brighter side of our policymaking, though there is scope for further improvement. In fact, if you compare with other traditional sectors, RE is in sync, if not ahead of the curve. The market is responding to the changing global dynamics as well.<br /> <br /> <span style="font-weight: bold;">What kind of competition do you face from the new entrants in the solar equipment segment? </span><br /> Markets tend to be irrational. When there are new players, it takes time for you to know if they are sustainable. In the last four or five years, every time new players enter, they come in aggressively to grab a piece of market share. But a couple of years down the line, they cease to exist in the market. This is one aspect that every stakeholder has to look at critically. While we keep a watch on the new players, we are not unduly perturbed by them. We finetune our strategies that would maintain our market position and improve on them.<br /> <br /> <span style="font-weight: bold;">- Renjini Varghese </span><br />
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