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  • India's solar power generation capacity has crossed 10 GW in 2017, a more than three-fold jump in less than three years, as the government pushes for a higher share of renewables in the country's energy mix.

  • The sector is taking rapid strides with the tariff for solar power falling steeply year after year. In the latest round of auctions conducted for 750 MW of capacity for the Rewa Solar Park in Madhya Pradesh, the tariff has hit a new low of Rs 2.97 per kWh.

  • The declining tariffs are the result of a number of factors - some pertaining to the increasing trend of solar park-led development, wherein the transmission risk, payment defaults and number of clearances required can be minimised; others stemming from favourable global PV market conditions and cheaper credit. Financiers' perception of the sector has also improved.

  • Even as the utility-scale segment grows at a rapid pace, rooftop solar too is gaining traction. The industry is gearing up for the largest rooftop solar tender of 1 GW, released by the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), and many more large-scale tenders announced by various state nodal agencies.

  • Moreover, the MNRE has proposed financial support of up to Rs 3.75 million per MW for up to 1,350 MW of rooftop solar capacity, to be used largely towards the upgradation of the distribution network and IT infrastructure. All these developments augur well for meeting the 40 GW rooftop solar target by 2022.

  • Other positive sector developments include the implementation of the solar cities programme, the canal-based solar PV project scheme, and the forecasting and scheduling norms; the issuance of new solar RPOs (renewable purchase obligations); the notification of lower solar REC (renewable energy certificate) prices; and the release of the solar-wind hybrid policy. The Green Energy Corridors

  • project and the UDAY scheme have also been instrumental in reducing the risk perception for solar projects.

  • Despite the positives however, the sector faces several challenges that need to be resolved at the earliest. These pertain to the lax enforcement of RPOs, slow implementation of net metering regulations, and lack of clarity regarding the forecasting, scheduling and deviation settlement mechanisms in a number of states.

  • Further, the steep decline in prices poses a critical threat to the financial health of module suppliers. It is also a blow to domestic manufacturers and the government's aspirations to promote domestic manufacturing.

  • Going forward, as the cost of solar power falls and capacity increases, the policy-making focus will shift towards energy storage solutions and the redesign of energy markets to address the intermittency risk. India has already taken a few steps for adopting energy storage including pilot project tenders released by SECI. The next step would be to use storage with solar projects in order to carry out peak shifting and match solar power's supply profile with the demand profile.

  • The mission of this conference is to examine the key trends and developments in the sector, study the impact of recent policy and regulatory initiatives, highlight the opportunities in this space, discuss the risks and challenges, and showcase the latest innovations, most promising technologies and noteworthy projects. The conference will also provide a platform to project developers, EPC companies and technology providers to share their experiences and exchange ideas.

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