UK's REA strengthens ties with India on decentralized energy

Six Indian MPs were flown to London this week as part of a fact-finding trip organized by NGO Climate Parliament designed to strengthen commercial and clean energy ties between India and the U.K., and to expedite the deployment in India of decentralized renewable energy, such as solar PV.

The delegates met with representatives of the Renewable Energy Association (REA), which signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Climate Parliament detailing how the two groups will develop commercial and political links between the U.K. and India, with an eye on widening access to decentralized clean energy.

The Indian and U.K. solar markets are currently on wildly different paths, with India poised to end the year 5 GW to the good, compared to an anemic British market that will limp in below 1.5 GW. India’s 100 GW by 2022 solar target is in stark contrast to the U.K.’s, where the government is happy to see growth slow towards a modest 20 GW by 2020 goal.

However, British knowledge and expertise is in high demand, particularly in the decentralized solar sector, and the historic links between the two nations should prove useful as India tightens its solar embrace.

Daniel Brown, the REA’s external affairs officer, said that it has long been the association’s intention to build relationships between the U.K.’s policymakers and growing markets, such as India.

"The global market for clean energy is quickly expanding," Brown said.

"Renewables such as solar, energy storage, and biomethane are technologies that U.K. companies have considerable experience in developing. There is a clear demand for bold British companies seeking to step into new markets. We see our role as building relationships that can assist."

Climate Parliament South Asia program coordinator Niharika Krishna added that the six Indian MPs involved in the trip are already actively developing decentralized energy systems in their home constituencies, and used their time in the U.K. to meet with a range of companies involved in solar, storage and other sectors.