Delhi International Renewable Energy Conference (DIREC) India 2010 Wrap-Up; Impressive attendance, everybody wants to be a part of the growing sector but how?

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.

Highlights:

  • 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 newspaper."
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