REI: Indian PV market waiting game

The current relatively dire situation of PV in India was characterized further by the last minute cancellation of the participation of Shri Tarun Kapoor, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) at yesterday’s opening. Hence the podium discussion on the implementation of the second phase of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) had to go on sans the important government official.

It remained unclear thereafter how the national support policies for the further expansion of PV in India are to proceed. As of February this year, the first phase of the JNNSM ended and the support stopped de facto. The consequences are that many projects are now in the waiting line and the expansion plans for PV are lagging behind the ambitious goals set. At least 22 GW of PV are to be installed in India by 2022. Right now the number stands at 1.8 GW.

The devaluation of the Indian Rupee by more than 20% and the tedious financing via banks are also creating roadblocks for the solar industry. Indian banks’ lending rates are very high at over 13%. Additionally the fact that domestic banks hold the borrowing company’s assets as security (with the so-called balance-sheet financing) makes it harder for smaller companies to get credit.

Despite these obstacles, the first day of the REI was launched with keen visitors attending the fair. Around midday there were long queues, made up of mostly Indian visitors, in front of the stands of the 500 odd exhibitors from 37 countries. The exhibition runs up to Saturday afternoon. pv magazine is still on site and will continue to report from the trade show.

Translated and edited by Shamsiah Ali-Oettinger