If Europe and the US have resorted to anti-dumping duties to protect local industries, why can´t India, asks Bhupesh Trivedi, President Marketing, Waaree Energies Ltd. What will happen if India does not impose anti-dumping duties? Energy is a critical need. Energy security is of national importance. Given these facts, it is necessary that India has a strong manufacturing base. Towards this end, even Europe and the US have resorted to anti-dumping duties to protect local industries and local jobs. In India, we have multiple challenges and no issue has a clear-cut black and white answer.
Do manufacturers in India solar PV industry suffer from an excessive export focus? Manufacturers have to survive. They have to retain jobs, and the required cashflows. Manufacturers will obviously focus on markets that offer continuous business flow and margins. In India, the solar sector is too dependent on government policies, which need a lot more consistency. Indian manufacturers have to look at exports as a de-risking model, at least.
Is there enough intra-industry co-operation? Well, efforts are being made. However, we have not matured as an industry. Hopefully, we should get there earlier than expected.
Going by global trends, will PV triumph over CSP in the long run? India has place for both. The shifts that we saw in the recent past have largely been on account of commercial considerations, particularly when PV prices fell so sharply. On much larger scales, CSP projects will certainly deliver value. But, overall, because of scalability issues, PV will find more takers in India.
The cost of the technology and technology obsolescence continue to plague solar PV. What's your take? It depends on what you consider as ´improvement´. New technologies come in and make old technology obsolete. As an industry and as a consumer, new technologies always create value. And, like with mobile phones and all other technology-driven products in the world, we should not be worried about the cost of a particular technology and its obsolescence. All investments should be purely considered in terms of the IRR that they deliver.
Development of solar PV projects has become difficult due to the number of agencies involved, what can the new government do? They have done away with Groups of Ministries and Cabinet Committees on various issues. Similarly, they could look at at least reducing the number of approvals required to set up solar PV projects. We got to be more investor-friendly.
When will the industry finally manage to deliver solar PV in a cost-effective way? Pretty soon. Let the government roll out a single 5,000 MW solar power purchase plan, spread over, say maybe two years. We can then hope to reach the desired milestone rather quickly.
In what ways can the financing infrastructure improve for solar PV projects? If public sector buyers of solar power provide guarantees of payment to lenders directly from their due payments to the project owners, a lot more comfort and confidence can come into the market. Also, the government needs to announce one set of policy and announce that this will NOT change for up to a specific period. Consistency, stability and a predefined rollout plan can all improve investors´ confidence.
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