India is set to replicate its information technology (IT) sector success in solar energy. With every known business entity exploring its own agenda in the solar energy sector, the country is already at the starting point of an energy revolution.
All prominent Indian companies have either set up their wholly-owned solar energy subsidiaries or have gone in for joint ventures or have set up solar energy divisions within their existing operations. The predominant business model being pursued by them currently is of grid-tied project development.
However, as more avenues open up for captive and REC-driven solar power projects, business entities are seeing more value in getting ready for the next wave. (RECs are renewable energy certificates that have become tradable commodities on India’s different power exchanges.)
The private business sector is gearing up for solar energy even though there is an almost policy paralysis with the central government, while different state governments have slowed down or postponed their policy initiatives. Most companies have set up small teams, seeking to explore opportunities in off-grid, micro-grid and roof-top applications to serve the larger private consumer market.
These opportunities are small in terms of ticket-size, but these are enabling all new entrants to test technologies, processes and their people. Gaining experience through pilot projects seems to be the underlying thought.
And, it is not only in the PV space that this activity is happening. Companies are finding solar thermal, particularly heat and steam applications, too to be exciting opportunities. Roof-top solar water heaters, one of the oldest availably solar solutions, are now increasingly becoming a USP (unique selling position) for residential property developers to offer to their prospective customers. The property developers on their part are forming joint ventures with technologists to gain a share in a market that will surely see exponential growth in the years to come.