Farooq Abdullah, Minister for New and Renewable Energy,
addressing the workshop
Notwithstanding the immense potential of solar energy as a viable and clean alternative to reduce the dependence on environmentally destructive fossil fuels, it still remains grossly underutilized in India and elsewhere.
In order to promote and implement the use of solar energy in India and other developing countries, a two day meeting, EMPower Workshop on Large-Scale Solar Power in Asia, was organised on April 26-27 in New Delhi.
Speaking on the inaugural session of workshop, Minister for New & Renewable Energy, Dr Farooq Abdullah said “The Govt of India realises the fact that India needs to catch on fast on renewable energy, and solar energy is one of these resources which needs to be capitalized in a big way.”
Stressing on the importance of National Solar Mission, Dr Abdullah said, “Serious efforts are being made to develop the Indian solar industry and more international players in the Indian market which will ultimately result into reduction of the cost of solar technology in India”.
The experts participating in the workshop highlighted that solar power projects are still facing market, regulatory and financial challenges and need further support in order to be implemented and to help kick-start the development of a large-scale solar power generation capacities.
Focusing on importance of financing for the success of solar projects, R. V. Shahi, Former Secretary, Ministry of Power, Government of India, said, “For solar energy to become a house hold reality, all the stakeholders need to come down to the same level and especially the financial institutions need to be more friendly for a long term association”.
The participants also agreed that though many countries have general interest in solar plants, only a few projects are in concrete planning stage or implementation stage yet. They also pointed out that relevant international and national investors continue to face market barriers.
Talking to d-sector, K. S. Popli, Director (Technical) Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Limited, said “There are some constraints in developing solar power projects in India as the cost of setting up solar projects is very high in India.”
Citing the absence of good proposals in the renewable energy sector, Mr Popli said that lack of encouraging policies for investors and suppliers proved to be a roadblock for the development of solar technology in India.
“With the passage of time, the government has come up with good policies and attractive tariffs which would certainly attract national and international players to invest in solar projects,” he added.
On the issue of limitations of solar technology in India, R Krishnamurthy, former member Central Electricity Regulatory Commission, told d-sector that the crux of the problem was very high cost of these projects.
Pointing out the lack of technological advancement in the field, Mr Krishnamurthy said, “Not much has been done in the field of research and development which restricts the scope of solar energy in India”.
He also said that acquiring huge land for solar projects is another problem which impedes the development of this sector. Mr Krishnamurthy opined that despite some good policies people do not avail of them.
“The Delhi Government gives subsidy of Rs 6000 on solar thermal which can be installed on rooftop and save the electricity to large extent”, he added.
“Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has taken many steps in the filed of developing solar energy projects but the outcome has not been that impressive. There is a lack of implementation of good policies”, Mr Krishnamurthy commented.
The leading practitioners from utilities and solar industries from India, Germany, and the Philippines presented their views on market barriers in mainstreaming solar energy. They also discussed the ways to enter into a dialogue with high-level stakeholders from crucial government agencies on possible solutions to helpimplementing large-scale solar projects in this region.
The workshop also recommended for increasing large scale solar power generation in Asia to enhance energy security. It hoped that balancing the existing energy mix could help in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and stimulating economic growth through the development of local industries.