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Green energy adoption is indisputably good for businesses despite a less than conducive regulatory environment and the recent spike in the input cost for solar installation, industry experts said at Mercom India’s Commercial and Industrial (C&I) Clean Energy Meet in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
The event aimed to demystify various aspects of renewable power procurement for the C&I sector. While large businesses have the financial wherewithal to navigate the field, smaller companies in the MSME categories are often doubtful about the benefits of solar power in their energy mix.
Mercom India’s events in major cities over the last year have attempted to bring together experts and C&I consumers to bridge the knowledge gap and expedite renewable adoption through either rooftop solar (onsite installations) or green energy open access (offsite).
The government-owned Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) recently held a discussion with large businesses to assess the market, Ajay Kumar Sinha, Additional General Manager, SECI, said during a panel discussion at the event.
C&I consumers have relied mainly on private developers for their renewable needs. SECI’s entry into the segment underlines the government’s push to promote renewables, Sinha said. He added that adopting clean energy for C&I consumers might be a choice now but will soon become a compulsion due to its favorable economics for businesses.
Vinay Pabba, Chief Operating Officer of Vibrant Energy, concurred with Sinha. He said, “Adopting solar saves businesses 15-30% in energy cost depending on the states they operate in. Further, it helps the companies meet sustainability goals and places them favorably in the global supply chain, which has increasingly insisted on green products.”
Despite the apparent gains attached to solar, businesses are anxious about the first few steps they need to take. Subrahmanyam K V, Vice President BD at Radiance Renewables, said a company should analyze its power consumption for the last 12 months.
“After that, it must consider costs and savings for different types of solutions. For instance, investment in an onsite solar installation is quite low, which is ideal for consumers with relatively lesser energy needs. Further, it comes with benefits in the form of accelerated depreciation and some relief on the GST front,” Subrahmanyam added.
As an energy consumer who has implemented green energy options in his business, Jigar Deliwala, Head of Sustainability at Gujarat Fluorochemicals, emphasized that Mercom’s clean energy events for C&I consumers were the need of the hour to resolve doubts of the C&I segment and bridge the knowledge gap.
Securing affordable financing for renewable projects from the public sector or private lenders is easy for profit-making units, said the lenders speaking at the event. A strong balance sheet and a positive cash flow to cover the loan are mandatory requirements.
Anand Jain, Founder & CEO at Aerem, highlighted that consumers with higher power requirements are “leaving money on the table” by not opting for renewable solutions.
The C&I participants at the event benefited from the perspective provided by Anisha Pal, DGM, at the government-owned Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI). She said that a strong balance sheet ensures that loans to set up renewable installations are attractively priced for SIDBI’s customers.
“Clean energy improves your balance sheet,” Pal added.
Mercom India events offer deep market insights that help executives make informed, data-driven decisions, along with helping the government realize its goal of installing 280 GW of solar by 2030.
Mercom’s next C&I event will be held in Noida on November 11.