Encouraged by the rise of solar industry in India, SunEdison is leaving no stone unturned in clinching solar projects. With three projects in kitty, SunEdison projects exponential growth in this burgeoning market. This was stated by Mr Pashupathy Shankar Gopalan, Managing Director, South Asia, SunEdison in an interview with EQ International. He also raised his concern about stringent policy on the domestic content issue. Excerpts…
SunEdison is in India since 2010, in this short span of time, what are the milestones it has achieved? What are the projects does SunEdison have grabbed?
We have been able to create a significant pipeline of projects since we started our Indian operations in 2010. Currently, we are executing the following projects:
- SunEdison has signed power purchase agreement with NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Limited (NVVN) for development of a 5MW solar PV project
- In addition, we have signed up with Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd (GUVNL) for development of a 25 MW Solar PV project in the state of Gujarat.
- We are also executing a 1 MW solar PV project in Rajasthan, under the IREDA guidelines
What are the prospects do you foresee in Indian market?
The Solar potential of India is huge and with the government policies becoming more liberal and open, we see great potential in the grid and off-grid markets.
All of India is gearing up for adoption of greener forms of energy. From a solar energy company point of view - In India, given the power problems and low electricity connections, off-grid projects with smaller capacities are more favorable. Hence, India would be the best place to start off-grid development. (Off-grid capacities can be as low as 5-10 KW as compared to at least 20 KW in grid connected systems). Where there are caps on applications, we work as technology partners for various organizations. For the companies, SunEdison manages the technical aspects of the installations.
Which technology would you adopt for the projects?
We are technology agnostic and go with the technology that’s most suited for a project location to provide the maximum yield consistently.
As Sun Edison has vast experience of operating in six major countries of the globe, which country provides supportive policy platform to work on? Could you please grade the countries on the basis of their conduciveness?
The fact that we are selective about which markets we enter is testament to the fact that the policies in these countries are most conducive to our industry. It would, therefore, be immensely challenging for us to grade these countries.
For developing Solar PV plant in India, NVVN suggest to rely on domestic content. How does the domestic content issue impact the overall financial structure of the plant?
We believe that developers should be given the flexibility to execute the project in the most economic manner. While we are in favour of developing a domestic eco-system for the solar industry, we also believe that in the short ru n there should not be stringent norms on domestic content.
How we can reduce per kw hours generation cost?
As technology matures and we achieve economies of scale, reduction in the cost of generation is imperative. Added to this is the fact that government of India has created a regulatory environment that encourages industry. The competition that this will lead too, will also contribute to driving down the cost.
What is your take on payment security mechanism?
We believe that the payment security mechanism could be further strengthened and dishonouring the PPA should attract significant penalties.
What would be your response to grid interconnection?
We are of the opinion that grid interconnection is best provided by the distribution companies. States like Gujarat and Rajasthan have been proactive and have taken excellent steps in this regards and other states should emulate the model.