Wednesday, November 11, 2009

India major destination for solar/PV investments!

“Green energy is the order of the day,” stated K. Rosaiah, Hon’ble chief minister of Andhra Pradesh. “It is the responsibility of every country and every citizen to see that our dependence on conventional energy can be reduced to the extent possible, and to focus our efforts on the development of renewable energy sources.”

He was speaking at the ongoing Solarcon India 2009, a three-day exhibition and conference organized by Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI), in association with Intersolar, and in partnership with the India Semiconductor Association (ISA) and FabCity.

According to him, a sizeable gap exists between the demand and supply of energy. Solar energy becomes critical in the context of climate change and global warming. The Prime Minister had launched the National Action Plan on Climate Change in June 2008.

The Solar Mission Plan, to be announced on November 14, aims to achieve 20GW of solar generation capacity by 2020. There are plans to deliver on the creation of 1 lakh new jobs during the course of the plan.

“At present, solar energy was high on absolute costs compared to other sources of power. The Solar Mission would definitely drive the cost as rapidly as possible,” the chief minister said.

He added that Solarcon India had attracted 67 exhibitors from 16 countries, and over 400 delegates. This will be an annual event from now on, to showcase FabCity and SolarCity initiatives of the state government.

Now, it is time for India!
Earlier, delivering the welcome address, BV Naidu, chairman, India Semiconductor Association (ISA) said that the Solarcon India 2009 was happening at the right time and at the right place. “We have heard the success stories in the USA, Japan, Germany, etc. Now, it is time for India!”

He added that Andhra Pradesh had leap frogged in solar PV, and hence, this event was being held in Hyderabad. Also, FabCity has taken the lead in managing to attract manufacturing.

Among the 15 proposals on solar PV received by government of India under the semiconductor policy, five proposals have been submitted by companies located in Andhra Pradesh. According to him, Andhra Pradesh had the capability to take on at least 20 percent target of the solar mission plan, given the kind of leadership the state has shown so far.

Naidu further advised that Andhra Pradesh was also going to host the Fraunhofer ISE, which will be set up here. Prof. Eicke R Weber, director, Fraunhofer Institute, will be signing the MoU to set up the institute in India.

FabCity emerges as largest solar hub
Kanna Lakshmi Narayana, Hon’ble minister of Heavy Industries, government of Andhra Pradesh, said that India is exploring new areas such as renewable energy, as it is the endeavor of each country today, to develop alternate sources of energy. He added that FabCity has emerged as the largest solar hub in India.

The logo of the upcoming SolarCity at Anantapur was released at the inauguration of the Solarcon India 2009 event by K. Rosaiah, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. The minister highlighted that the SolarCity was spread over 10,000 acres of land. This is an exclusive cluster, which will be used for setting up solar farms.

According to Dr, Debesh Das, IT minister, government of West Bengal, the approach to promote solar companies is a very important initiative. “Over 400 million Indians have no electricity. Using power from the sun can help meet this demand,” he added.

How would India go about to achieve 20GW by 2020? A major part would depend on solar PV. “As semicon fabs are expensive to build, we should try and build solar fabs.”

He added that West Bengal also has plans to have a hardware park. Obviously, solar would play a major role. Das said that Solarcon India 2009 would also project India as the destination for investment in solar/PV.

India should follow Germany’s example!
Next, Prof. Eicke R Weber, Director, Fraunhofer Institute of Solar Energy, was presented the FabCity Excellence Award 2009 for his outstanding contribution in the field of solar energy.

Thanking the organizers, he also touched upon the dangers of climate change, and cautioned that India could be one of the areas hit, because of irregular monsoon. Prof. Weber advised policy makers to carefully study Germany’s case as well as its attractive feed-in tariff rates. “Germany has over half of the PV market installed. India has a great opportunity to follow this example,” he said.

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