India Now - page 44

ReNew Power Ventures, its third infusion of funds into the
company along with Asian Development Bank’s US$ 50 mil-
lion and GE Energy Financial’s US$ 24 million investment in
Welspun Renewables Energy.
Rooftop Revolution
Lower solar energy costs have ushered in a veritable rooftop
revolution across India with increasing numbers of industrial
and commercial organisations turning to the sun to meet
their energy needs. According to Shanmugasundram, “Larg-
er roof spaces of such premises make solar energy a viable
option especially when the cost is set against the commercial
tariff and the shortfall in electricity that curtails the working
hours of small scale industries.”
In the residential segment, Shanmugasundram expects
progressive thinkers to drive demand for rooftop solar instal-
lations, “With home solar power units of capacity 3 KW to 5
KW now costing between
300,000 and
500,000, the addi-
tional setup cost to home owners has come down significant-
ly. People who see the benefit of tapping a source of energy
independent of the grid are driving this demand.”
Across vast swathes of land where grid connectivity and
availability are key concerns, villages are turning to off grid
energy service providers who rely on small solar power plants
typically generating 150 watts to 5 kilo watts. Such micro and
mini grids are well suited to meet the electrification needs of
village households. “Decentralised distribution and genera-
tion of power is the need of the hour,” according to Shyam
Patra, Founder, Naturetech Infra, a private sector (electricity)
utility company servicing rural communities through the
use of smart solar AC minigrids. “Villagers desperately need
a reliable and sustainable source of power. Free electricity
isn’t sustainable and maintaining conventional grids in rural
areas isn’t feasible. India has plenty of scope for players like
us who offer sustainable solar based energy services at the
grassroots level,” he explains. “Solar street lights, solar petrol
pumps, solar irrigation pumps and solar power units to run
agricultural machines are other examples of standalone solar
power units that are finding increasing acceptance because
they are non-polluting and increasingly cost-competitive in
the face of rising kerosene and diesel prices,” adds Rane.
Distributed solar power generation promises to speed up
India’s transition from a thermal based energy mix to a green
renewable energy mix.
“A further fall in
overall development
costs will allow us
to cut tariffs and
in turn help solar
power inch closer to
grid parity...”
—Vineet Mittal
Vice Chairman
Wellspun Renewables
“Silicon price drops
have helped bring
down the cost of
solar panels by
about 65 per cent...
the downward trend
is palpable”
Amit Rane
Founder & Managing Director
Wudmin Energy
“Larger roof spaces
make solar energy
a viable option...
when the cost is
set against the
commercial tariff
and the shortfall... ”
Dr Arul Shanmugasundram
Executive VP, Projects & CTO
Tata Power Solar
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