The Solar Future: India event will have keynotes from solar expert and founder of SunEdison and now Carbon War Room CEO Jigar Shah, and the head of the US and Asia clean technology sector at Barclays Capital, Vishal Shah. Here, they share insights into India’s solar potential, shortcomings, and strategies. Updated January 17 with remarks from H. Sultan Rahman, Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Director General for South Asia.
January 13, 2011 — The Solar Future: India, to take place January 24-25, will host preeminent financial, PV industry and government scholars from India and around the globe to discuss solar photovoltaic’s (PV) sustainability in India. Keynote speakers at the event will be authoritative solar expert and founder of SunEdison and now Carbon War Room CEO Jigar Shah, and the head of the US and Asia clean technology sector at Barclays Capital, Vishal Shah.
Vishal Shah was ranked the No. 1 Alternative Energy analyst in 2009, was named to the 2010 Institutional Investor All America Research Survey and has covered the solar and semiconductor equipment sector as an equity analyst since 2002. Jigar Shah, who as CEO of Carbon War Room works to harness the power of entrepreneurs to unlock market-driven, low-carbon solutions to global climate change, founded SunEdison, which revolutionized the solar industry in 2003 by creating a business model to sell solar as a service while purging the myriad cost barriers of implementing solar.
“These two gentlemen are both leading authorities in their respective fields and will both go far in helping Solarplaza, with the support of conference sponsor ISA and co-organizer SESI from India, create a learning environment in which we can get all the clear facts regarding the future of Solar PV in India,” said Solarplaza CEO Edwin Koot. “Jigar is an unquestioned expert on energy project finance and works elbow-to-elbow with some of the most influential world leaders when it comes to renewable energy, climate change and sustainability. Vishal has an immense and applicable background in cleantech. We are proud to have these two scholars among our distinguished panel of experts.”
Solar in India: Keynoters’ perspectives
When it comes to the future of solar PV in India, Jigar Shah – whose work with SunEdison helped turn solar services into a multi-billion dollar industry and who, as CEO of Carbon War Room, believes that 50% of all emissions can be offset with current technology without a price on carbon – will send a message as clear as India’s 2010 directive, the National Solar Mission.
India’s National Solar Mission made public India’s intent to increase its solar installation to 20,000 Megawatts by 2022. Burdened by permanent electricity shortages and complicated energy needs, India has the type of population, economic growth, and geographic landscape naturally primed to support PV implementation. “India has made it known that they’re very serious about solar. They clearly have some failings in the way that they’ve structured their market, which I’m going to talk about at the conference, but I think that they’re quite serious about being a leader in the solar industry,” said Jigar Shah. “More importantly, I think the Indian government knows first-hand their power base needs to grow substantially to keep up with the power needs of the country. And I think that they have absolutely no idea how to get to where they need to go in the power base without solar. It’s not possible for them to build enough coal plants and nuclear plants to get there. So they recognize that they have to get there with forms of renewable energy.” According to Vishal Shah, the Indian market is very promising. “There are a number of factors that we think are going to play a big role in the development of the Indian market,” said Vishal Shah. “Resources in India particularly are very favorable to the development of the solar market. Secondly, there is governmental support to make this market a big market in India. And, thirdly, is just the pure demand for solar-related products in India. We think it is going to be significantly higher than demand in many other markets. So the outlook for the Indian market over the next five years is very promising. It could be a top-five market. We think solar PV has the potential to exceed the development of the wind market in India, which has blossomed to say the least.”
According to Jigar Shah, 5MW utility projects are the most important market segment for 2011-2012, followed by off-grid (with a focus on telecom towers), and the residential and small commercial (rooftop) projects coming in a distant third. He also said he expects the cost of solar PV to come down substantially.
“I think it’s clear that in India solar will be cost-effective without incentives and subsidies within the next five years,” said Jigar Shah. “And the key for India, for that to happen, is that people need to actually be trained how to install solar cost-effectively…it is important that India have these robust incentive programs. Otherwise they won’t be able to realize the full cost reductions that solar is achieving in Germany and other markets.”
Asian Development Bank makes a statement on India’s solar energy
The Hindustan Times reported on January 17 remarks by H. Sultan Rahman, Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Director General for South Asia, confirming India’s land availability, explosive electricity demand, and economic growth potential aligned with solar energy. Strong Indian government support at both national and regional levels has galvanized a range of major solar energy projects that place the country at the forefront of solar power development, he said, noting a 2500 hectare site selected for the Charanka Solar Park and a proposed transmission line from the park to the national electricty grid. Read all of the ADB director’s remarks here.
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For more information about the upcoming conference, “The Solar Future: India,” visit www.thesolarfuture.in.