With more than 9,000 delegates, over 250 speakers and 600 exhibitors
from 50 countries, DIREC 2010 turned out to be the most significant
event for renewable energy held in India this year.
- The impressive
number of participants and attendees mirrored the interest and enthusiasm in
the sector, nearly everyone we spoke to was optimistic that this is the sector
to be in and the boom is just round the corner.
- Solar companies
occupied most of the exhibiting space with notable new players entering the
market. Since this event was one of the global ministerial-level conferences on
renewable energy, the participation of several other countries and foreign
companies grouped in their own pavilions were noticeable. Significant among
them were Germany, USA, Canada and China.
- Solar PV companies
were in strong numbers as usual. Solar PV manufacturers seemed unsure of the
growth in domestic demand for their products and are betting on the export
markets. The interest of private investors in manufacturing has diversified
from just solar module manufacturing to solar cell and wafer manufacturing,
which is noteworthy.
- Indian investors and
banks want a share in the solar pie but they seem to lack the knowledge and
understanding to take the next steps.
- Participation of BOS
companies was negligible, which poses a question - are there enough quality BOS
suppliers to meet the National Solar Mission's (JNNSM) domestic requirement for
CSP, which is 30% local content?
- Project developers
weren't too thrilled about the opportunities available under the JNNSM. There
were a few developers considering setting up state level projects but are wary
about financial viability of state level agencies and their ability to pay.
- CSP companies put up
a good show and showed greater enthusiasm than previous years. 500MW set aside
for CSP in the first phase of JNNSM helped fuel the interest.
- Another common cause
of concern was regarding the JNNSM bidding process for projects. There was
scepticism among serious project developers about other developers bidding
unrealistically low, especially considering there are no eligibility or
experience requirements to bid for PV projects.
- The government wants
to highlight the advantages and opportunities to attract participation of
private investors. However, investors need to have confidence that the necessary
infrastructure will be in place and projects will be executed timely, or they
may take a wait and see approach. Several participants had mentioned that not
having a clear idea when projects would be announced made them sceptical that
JNNSM will take off. Simple steps, such as staying on the scheduled timeline,
will go a long way in building confidence.
- One participant commented that there is
confusion due to lack of transparent information and proper communication.
"Nobody is sure what will happen next or when things will be announced. We
find out information when government officials decide to give a quote in a