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India’s Solar CEOs See 40–60 GW Market By 2022

What do India’s solar CEOs expect of the market? Every year in April, the consultancy BRIDGE TO INDIA (which I founded) publishes its “India Solar Handbook.” Now in its 5th season, it has become the definitive guide to India’s booming solar market, with an overview of industry trends, policies, and projections. It can be downloaded for free.

This year, for the first time, the team has done a comprehensive survey of industry CEOs. The results were highly interesting. Optimism prevails, but challenges still hold the market back.

Here is the list of CEOs surveyed:

While most CEOs do not believe that India could indeed reach its ambitious 100 GW solar target by 2022, they still think that a fast growth to 50–60 GW is realistic. (This is from a current base of 6.6 GW of operational plants and a pipeline of around 12.5 GW of allocated projects.)

These projections are roughly in line with BRIDGE TO INDIA’s own projections of 37 GW by 2020 and around 50–60 GW by 2022.

The main hurdle to growth, according to the CEOs interviewed, is the grid. The grid does not extend to many potential solar sites, and were it does, it is unreliable and easily congested. Other hurdles are the unavailability of a predictable feed-in-tariff structure (read: highly competitive auctions with low tariffs and tight — if any — profit margins), a poor operating environment of infrastructure and human resources.

Interestingly, the offtake from loss-making distribution companies is not considered as a central risk. The solar CEOs are confident that the government’s efforts through, for example, the UDAY scheme can remedy the situation. This is an assessment of which Bridge To India is less confident.

 
 
 
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is working towards a low carbon world. He believes that this is a great opportunity rather than a sacrifice and that it will be driven by business and economic fundamentals rather than by political directive. Developing countries, who can still make a choice about their future energy infrastructure, are in a particularly good position to get the most out of the renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions available. The good news is: A global energy transition is inevitable. The bad news is: current market designs in most countries are not conducive enough and could delay this inevitable transition for just too long to save our climate. So that is what we need to work on: better market designs. (Disclaimer: views in motion...) Companies I am involved with: TFE Consulting (www.tfeconsulting.com) www.bridgetoindia.com (sustainability solutions for India), www.indiagoessolar.com (helping consumer go solar in India), www.gridhub.com (the business platform for the global renewables industry).

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