The Solar Energy Corporation of India is planning to launch its offshore arm SECI VIdesh (International) on the lines of ONGC Videsh Ltd to increase demand and expand the solar marlet in the ISA countries. OVL was launched as a 100% subsidiary of ONGC to acquire and expand its exploration business overseas. Similarly, SECI which has till now executed 20 GW of Solar through 34 Solar projects across 21 states, now plans to expand its operations newer geographies giving an opportunity to Indian companies as well other investors to invest in new markets.
Speaking at a conference “India and the ISA, accelerating global solar deployment” organised by CII and WWF in the capital on Friday, Mr Sanjay Sharma GM (C&P), SECI said that SECI planned to expand internationally by launching this new company. The ISA was founded in 2015 at the side lines of UNFCCC CoP21 at Paris when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced India’s resolve to bring together countries between the Tropic of Cancer and Capricorn to form a solar alliance , that would seek to deploy affordable solar energy applications across 121 prospective solar-rich nations. ISA aims to create a platform for its Member Countries, situated between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, to share policies, programmes, technologies, financing and capacity building tools to promote solar energy.
The growth of solar energy has gained traction over the last few years across the world and India has been no exception. Recent bids for solar projects has fetched power at record levels of Rs 2,44 a unit, even challenging coal based power projects. In the deliberations on India’s role in scaling up capacities of solar deployment Mr Ratul Puri, Chairman, Hindustan PowerProjects Ltd said “There have been consistent efforts at de-risking Solar Market by reducing costs and subsequently one is seeing that Solar tariff is 25% cheaper than conventional energy.” The role of ISA in expanding the solar story assumes significance in this context as it seeks to enable affordable power for large developing countries in this geography. Delivering the key note address on a recorded video message, Mr Upendra Tripathy, Former Secretary - MNRE, Interim Director General-ISA said “ISA will be soon launching an online platform titled Infopedia that will provide an e-library with videos and reading material on the best practices that can be shared across member countries, furthering the platform for the countries to engage and act as a medium to facilitate replication”. ISA will be an action based organisation, focusing on implementation. IT is already mobilising finance and facilitating transfer of technology particularly by building networks with networks of centres of excellence and capacity building. Finance is a major area where ISA can help in raising low cost and attractive finance and de-risk it, Mr Tripathy said.
Highlighting some of the challenges in the solar sector, Mr Shyam Saran, former foreign secretary, Govt. of India and Trustee, WWF-India said that paucity of land, variability of power and high cost storage are some of the issues that need to be addressed to accelerate growth. Solar plants normally requires large parcels of land and that is a challenge for countries like India or Bangladesh that are densely populated. Variability of the intensity of the radiation during the day as well as seasonal also could pose a challenge warranting quicker solutions in storage. Ending energy poverty in developing nations was the need of the hour even as pressures build up to cut back emissions and use of fossil fuel. The ISA could play a huge role in addressing these challenges and help push for innovative solutions like hybrid plants that can address some issues.
Africa, a large part of the ISA geography, offers a developing Solar market that stands to benefit immensely through the growth of technologies and knowledge sharing. “African countries are emphasizing on the need to enhance quality of products, as substandard products may flood the market and exploit the low disposable income of consumers by offering cheap products. We need consistent efforts at strengthening the consumer trust in solar technologies.” Said Mr Philip Odhiambo, Programme Coordinator, Energy&Climate Change, WWF-Kenya. He further added that Solar technologies need to be deployed for productive uses rather than just lighting. This will help accelerate deployment. Connecting energy poverty with their livelihood will be a win-win situation. Success of ISA will depend on how countries will come together and create a demand for solar.” Echoing a similar though Mr Sidharth Charkha of Mahindra Susten said that solar is increasingly being looked upon to meet the energy needs of the people of Bangladesh and Indian industry can support addressing this demand.
26 May 2017