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Germany reiterates support for solar power in India

Jan 21, 2014

A roundtable meet organised by German Development Bank in New Delhi highlighted the outstanding Indo-German partnership in renewable energy sector.

New Delhi: India is one of KfW Development Bank’s oldest and largest partner countries. Since the 1950s, more than EUR 10 Billion in the form of concessional loans and grant assistance have been accessed by the Indian Government through this fruitful cooperation. In an effort to expand the dialogue on the status quo of the Indian solar framework, the lessons learnt so far and the opportunities for future growth, KfW hosted a stakeholder roundtable on the 20th January 2014 at the India Habitat Center.

Addressing the meet, Peter Hilliges, Director of the KfW Office India stated that “KfW aspires to be a bridge between the two economies and cultures of India and Germany”. KfW as a banking group has invested around 40 Billion Euros into the renewable energy field in Germany and now in the same spirit, 2/3rds of KfW’s financing portfolio in the Indian sector is dedicated to finanmcing renewables.

The plenary sessions were initiated by Heiko Warnken, the Head of Economic Cooperation and Development at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany who stressed upon the outstanding Indo-German partnership in the energy sector highlighted in the recent past by the signing of a EUR 1 Billion Memorandum of Understanding for “Green Energy Corridors” in 2013 in the presence of Dr. Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India and Dr. Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany. Warnken stated: “Germany is proud to be India’s partner in the development of the solar sector and especially in the Sakri project”.

Announcing 9 months of successful commercial operation of the 125 MW Sakri solar PV plant in Maharashtra, Asheesh Sharma, the Managing Director of Maharashtra State Power Generation Corporation Ltd (Mahagenco) stated “Mahagenco is the leading power utility in India in implementing a green strategy. With the Sakri PV plant we own and operate the largest solar plant in the country. The 125 MW currently in operation has till now, generated 120 GWh of solar power and abated 100,000 metric tonnes of CO2”. After the success of this project, Mahagenco now has plans to further expand the solar energy generation base in the districts of Baramati and Osmanabad to fulfil and exceed the state’s renewable energy purchase obligations.

The Principal Secretary (Energy) of the Government of Madhya Pradesh, S R Mohanty introduced the policies of GoMP, that have lead to the successful establishment of 250 MW of solar PV in the state (up from 2 MW in April 2012) in particular the streamlined land allocation policy and the ease of doing solar power business in the state. "There are currently 206 projects under execution which will generate over 4000 MW of power through renewable energy", added Mohanty. If this initiative is successful, 21.11% of the state’s electricity production capacity will be from renewable energy.

Addressing the delegates, Rajendra Nimje, Managing Director of the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) explained that The National Solar Mission had set the ambitious target of deploying 20,000 MW of grid connected solar power by 2022. In Phase-II of JNNSM, the mechanism of “Viability Gap Funding” was selected and is now being implemented by the SECI. He adeed that “Although Phase II consists of 750 MW of grid connected power, we also have to look at decentralized generation to improve the livelihoods of the 400 Million people who live without reliable access to electricity”.

Tarun Kapoor, Joint Secretary at the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy spoke of MNRE’s various programs that are currently ongoing including the ultra mega solar plants idea for numerous GW-scale solar plants in single locations, rooftop solar power generation and the NABARD led subsidy plus concessional loan scheme for rural farmers intending to set up solar pumps on their farms. He added “Germany is the leader for several solar initiatives and we should work together for developing solar energy storage technologies so that clean power can be made available on demand”.

Various stakeholders from the solar community including developers, ESCOs, knowledge partners, and development agencies shared their valuable insights. After the plenary sessions, the roundtable participants came to consensus that for India’s solar energy industry to grow and thrive, sustainable plant management practices must be mainstreamed from the planning phase itself; the long term quality and reliability of solar power equipment must be put into focus rather than short term cost savings; and lastly, business models for decentralized renewable energy generation must be further encouraged due to the impact it has on the livelihoods of the last mile beneficiaries.

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