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The Economics of Green Energy
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August 22, 2021

The pandemic push to the renewable energy sector in India

COVID-19 brought the entire nation to a halt. Economic activities across sectors witnessed significant slowdown. Power demand was at an all-time low. All alternative energy development schedules were put on hold.

The slowdown offered an opportunity to evaluate the existing models of power generation. As the second-largest coal-producing and consuming country, India’s conversion from carbon-intensive resources would be critical in dealing with climate change. The traditional energy sources that rely heavily on coal are the biggest producers of Green House Gases leading to global warming. The focus therefore must shift to the renewable energy sources.

Encouraging green power development

During this period the Indian government adopted definitive measures to reinforce clean energy by granting must-run status to wind, solar and other renewable energy plants. This means power generation from these plants can only be curtailed in case of any technical constraints or grid security reasons. Under the must-run status, the government analyzed India’s projected energy needs and consequently put forth various tenders for alternative energy sources. Surprisingly, even with the government backing these auctions, the turnout was astonishingly low. 

This downturn can be attributed to a combination of factors – falling prices of solar energy across the country, low financing and the projected devaluation of expenses associated with solar modules. Since there were fewer solar projects in 2020, specialists in the field are looking towards incorporating new technology to drive growth.

Focus on alternative energy sources also highlighted the need for additional technologies to facilitate smooth transfer of power to the grid. A storage plan to facilitate renewable energy integration has also been put in place.

The recurrent lockdown impacted the upcoming renewable energy projects as getting equipment and manpower to the site was a challenge. Therefore, the government extended deadlines for in-progress wind and solar projects. A stimulus package of roughly $13 billion  was worked out to infuse liquidity to the sector. Though this move eased some strain, due to the irregularity of the post-lockdown power supply, the sector continued to experience obstacles.

Incentivizing  solar products manufacturers

In November 2020, the Indian government agreed to introduce a Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme in 10 key sectors, including solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing. An amount of INR 45 billion was allotted to MNREs for development of high-efficiency solar PV modules. Also to boost the local industry, the finance ministry has introduced a tax of 40% and 25% Basic Customs Duty (BCD) on the import of solar modules and solar cells. This will come to effect from April 1, 2022.

Thrust will continue to be on solar and alternative energy sources. The IEA has determined that India will shortly become the most prominent market for utility-scale battery consumption. The Indian government has introduced attractive schemes for energy agreements to be developed, from standalone battery plans to alternative hybrid procedures.

Therefore, despite the many obstacles and the challenges, there has been progressive developments that can change the energy sector in India by making its foot-print greener in the days to come. A clear political purpose with a long-term vision is what is now required for the alternative energy sector to grow sustainably.

Highlights:

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Priyadarshan

Priyadarshan Bhatewara, CFA

Chief Financial Officer

He has 15 years of experience in Corporate Finance, Project Finance, Project Management, Business Development, and Financial Analysis of Climate Change Projects. He has worked in Hydro Power, Thermal Power, Wind Power and Solar Power projects. He has expertise in closing Investment deals, Management Information systems, Data Analysis, Financial Modelling. He has worked with companies like Azure Power, ReNew Power, Asian Development Bank, Rattan India, SNC Lavalin and Mott MacDonald. Priyadarshan has been awarded Zee Yuva Award (2017) for best practises in water conservation, Water Crusader Award (2017) by Hindustan Unilever and Energy Conservation Award (2016) by Vigyan Bharti. He holds a Bachelor in Engineering from VJTI, Mumbai, M.Tech from IIT Delhi and has earned CFA Charterholder from CFA Institute, USA.

Kasturi Roy

Advisory Team

Ms. Kasturi Roy Choudhury is on the Advisory team at Premier Energies. She has over 3 decades of professional experience with ‘Consultancy for Change and Growth’ and specializes in the areas of Management Consultancy and Corporate Training. At CFCG, Kasturi works as a Senior Consultant anchoring key client relationships & accountable for deliverables.

In her personal capacity, Kasturi is associated with social organizations like Jeevika Development Society, Garbage Free India & Sanjeevani Life beyond Cancer. Her distinguished academic career includes:PGDM from IIM Ahmedabad (1988), DBF from ICFAI, Hyderabad (1990), BE (Electrical) from Jadavpur University (1986).

SURENDER PAL SINGH

Founder & Chairman

A visionary, Surender Pal Singh is an eminent energy expert and accomplished business leader with over 40 years of rich industrial experience. His work states achievements in both conventional as well as non-conventional power projects. Known for his resourcefulness and deep knowledge on Solar, he has been conferred with national and international awards such as the International Project of The Year from Renewable Energy World, USA 2013, National Awards for Excellence in Renewable Energy for Rural Electrification from World Federation Of CSR Professionals, 2015, Udyog Bharti & Udyog Patra awards from the Vice President of India. A mechanical engineering graduate from Dharwad University, today he oversees operations and finance of the organization in addition to mentoring the young leaders.

CHIRANJEEV SALUJA

Founder & Managing Director

He is one of India’s 100 Most Influential Solar Business Leaders and a visionary who transformed the company from a solar enterprise to an integrated renewable energy solutions provider. Steering the company from a 5 MW production capacity in 1995 to 500 MW in 2018, he is now leading Premier Energies towards growth by expanding the production capacity to 750 MW solar cells and 1.2 GW solar modules.

He is a Founding Member of Premier Solar Power Tech and has built over 650+ MW of EPC and 130 MW of IPP. He serves as a Director on board for over 10 companies in the Solar Manufacturing and IPP space and the All India Solar Industries Association (AISIA). He is a member of the Governing Council of Indian Solar Manufacturers Association (ISMA). He holds a bachelor’s degree in Engineering from Osmania University, Hyderabad.

SUDHIR MOOLA

Executive Director

A distinguished engineer from JNTU, Hyderabad; an MS from Colorado University and an MBA from ISB, Sudhir has worked with PwC, USA before taking on a directorial mantle at Premier Energies. He heads the EPC business, as well as the construction of our new state of the art manufacturing facility. Sudhir is actively involved in all day-to-day operations of the organization, from managing external relations to defining policies, supervising department heads, and working on strategies for growth and business expansion.

VISHNU HAZARI

Chief Operating Officer

He brings over 14+ years of rich consulting experience in BFSI, Pharma and Healthcare sectors, having worked at JP Morgan Chase, Anthem, Infosys, Cognizant and Deloitte. He holds a MS (Mechanical Engineering) from Western Michigan University. At Premier Energies, Vishnu is responsible for managing the entire spectrum of operations of the manufacturing division.

REVATHI ROHINI B

Director & CFO-designate

She has served the Government of Telangana for over 30 years and retired as an Additional Commissioner of Commercial Taxes. A graduate in Agricultural Sciences, she brings in with her a rich, on-ground experience in indirect taxation and government regulatory affairs. A trailblazer and an expert in legal and commercial taxes, she now leads all financial and government related matters of the organization.

NIYATHI MADASU

Director

She comes in with over 16 years of experience in Talent Management, Leadership Consulting & Organization Development. She is proficient in a variety of methodologies including leadership framework development, psychological profiling & assessment, and design of talent management frameworks.

Niyathi holds an MBA in HR from the Symbiosis Centre for Management and Human Development, Pune and an executive certification in organization development from ISB Hyderabad. She leads People Operations for the group and double hats as a member of the marketing & branding team. She recently joined the elite Business World People 40 under 40 2020 list.

Jasveen Saluja

Director

She’s been a serial entrepreneur and comes in over a decade of experience in running her own company specialising in interior design. With an astute sense of business, she is responsible for business development, procurement, project planning and government liaisoning. She has a degree in commerce and fashion designing.

Dhruv Sharma

Advisory Team

Mr. Dhruv Sharma, has been associated with Solar Manufacturing in India since 2008. As the CEO of Jupiter Solar, he has played a pivotal role in the transformational journey of the company. He is responsible for leading the development and execution of the company’s vision, strategy and plans.

His understanding of the business has been instrumental in evolving growth strategies and significantly contributed to implementation of the group’s expansion and diversification into solar power sector.

Additionally, as Chief Business Manager at Premier Energies, he holds the responsibility of leading the foray of the Company into Solar cell manufacturing, focusing on Technology, Vendor relationships, Project management, Organization building and Key Account Marketing.