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Across the globe solar energy business has seen a trend from it’s pioneering, early adoption to wide scale adoption phases of market growth. The trend is that during the pioneering stage of the market which India witnessed in years 2010 and 2011 the market depends heavily on subsidies and incentives provided by governments to kick starts solar energy project deployment. During the early adoption stage which India is witnessing now there emerges a smaller market segment but one which has immense potential to be a leading driver for large scale solar energy adoption – this market segment is the self-consumption solar market.
One of the advantages of solar energy over thermal, hydro, gas and also wind energy is that solar energy can be installed across Indian geography which overall enjoys good sunshine; solar energy generation’s inherent advantage is its distributed decentralized generation ability.
In India the trend over the last 3 years has been to set up large centralized ground mounted solar plants in many ways mimicking the fossil fuel based generation concept. Transmission infrastructure in Indian grid needs to be further strengthened to handle energy from such centralized power plants. Close to 15% of energy generated in India gets “lost” in transmission losses and theft, availability of land in India is also a challenge for larger plants
Commercial electricity rates in many states in India are already above levelized tariff of solar energy. Hence grid parity of solar energy without any subsidies is already reached for commercial electricity consumers in many states.
An ideal way in which such commercial electricity consumers can reduce operational costs of their assets as far as electricity costs are concerned is to install solar energy generation plants either in their own premises or away from their site and wheeling energy for their captive consumption.
Such self-generation and self-consumption solar markets are already the driving force in mature solar markets and it will be the driving force in the upcoming years as the Indian market matures.
Consultant, Intersolar India
Santosh Khatelsal leads the solar energy business of Enerparc in India. Enerparc is a German headquartered solar energy independent power producer and EPC Company with 650 MW of solar assets as its IPP portfolio and more than 1100 MW of EPC project experience. Enerparc in India has conceived, developed and installed solar projects in self consumption markets with India’s largest solar project adjacent to a runway in New Delhi airport being one such example which is generating a saving of more than 7% in energy costs to the customer.
Santosh has been associated with solar energy since year 2002 when he was part of the team that set up a global centre of excellence for BP alternative energy which was providing engineering, project management and commercial services to BP’s solar power business, solar manufacturing business, wind and bio fuels business across Europe, north America, Australia and asia. Santosh led this operation till year 2009.
Subsequently Santosh was associated with 3M and also GMR Group where he was instrumental in conceiving and developing one of the first grid connect projects in India commissioned in 2011 in Gujarat.
Santosh started his career with the French conglomerate Saint Gobain where he was part of the capital projects group involved in conceiving and establishing green field and brown field manufacturing plants for abrasives, refractory and float glass businesses.