India’s Solar Industry Reacts to Modi Government’s Win in Lok Sabha Elections 2019

NDA government set to begin its second consecutive term


Stakeholders in India’s renewable energy sector are upbeat about the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) coming back into power for a second term under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. While the elections were underway, activity in the renewable energy sector, especially solar, had become sluggish due to a slowdown in tenders and auctions.

However, all that is about to change suggested industry stakeholders. Some believe that the targets set in 2014 can be achieved easily now as there will be clarity among implementing agencies as well as developers and investors regarding the trajectory of growth that has been decided. Many also believe this continuity of party will ensure previous policies for other emerging clean technology sectors, like battery storage and EVs, will move forward.

Mercom talked to numerous stakeholders in the industry, and the sector seems buoyant with the verdict.

Sanjay Banga, CEO, Tata Power-DDL, commented on the government’s return to power saying, “The government, in its previous stint, has done a lot to turn around the precarious financial position of state distribution companies with the introduction of Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY). The building blocks have already been laid in the last five years to construct a better future for DISCOMs. I am sure that the consecutive stint of the ruling party will further bring in reforms in the sector. For the overall betterment of the sector, driving competition into the distribution sector is a key imperative with accelerated implementation of carriage and content in a time-bound manner. States not being able to meet the UDAY targets should be considered for privatization under the PPP model, which has demonstrated turnaround of the power sector in Delhi under Uday 2. Cross-subsidies should be reduced expeditiously to make the industries in India competitive and give impetus to the “Make in India” program.

According to Rakesh Shah of the National Solar Energy Federation of India (NSEFI), “The same government is coming to power. It is good because now the previously set targets will be achieved within the stipulated timeframe. Sectors such as battery energy storage, electric vehicles will also benefit as this government was the one to introduce these concepts in India. The future of renewable energy is bright in India.”

Manoj Gupta of Fortum commented on the poll verdict saying, “BJP winning will provide continuity to the push for electric vehicles and will also be favorable for the solar energy sector. EV policies and programs were announced before the elections; now work will be done for the next five years. The targets which were set will be achieved.”

Nikunj Ghodawat, Chief Financial Officer at CleanMax Solar, said, “In the first term, the NDA government had demonstrated its intent to carry out important structural reforms such as IBC, GST, and UDAY for the power sector which are transformational. The NDA government has given renewable energy the desired platform, which has helped India position itself as one of the largest renewable energy markets in the world. We expect that the second term mandate to the NDA will give the required emphasis to further ease the private sector participation in the power sector by amending the Electricity Act. We need a national-level policy to harness the immense potential of rooftop solar in India while expecting reforms for making DISCOMs more participatory in private sector adoption of renewable energy. We believe such measures will attract additional capital in the sector and help the government achieve its ambitious renewable energy target which will accelerate India’s adoption of decarbonized electricity in our fight against global warming.”

Sunil Rathi, Director, Waaree Energies, said, “The government’s commitment towards the adoption of renewable energy is evident from the various solar policies implemented by them. While the introduction of de-linked manufacturing tenders and KUSUM have led to some positive movements in the solar industry, the long-awaited safeguard duty only provided provisional relief to the domestic manufacturers. The KUSUM program has led to the installation of over 30 million agricultural and over 20 million grid-connected water pumps, which attests to the success of the initiative. However, since the expiry of the safeguard duty is on the horizon, we believe that the introduction of an Anti-Dumping Duty will be a revolutionary change in the solar industry. A reduction in imports, especially from countries like Vietnam and Thailand, will lead to a level playing field for domestic players. Waaree has witnessed that the potential of the solar industry lies with the floating solar segment, the capacity of which is expected to grow from 1.1 GW in 2018 to 4.6 GW by 2022. In their previous term, the NDA government has shown support to the segment by the approval of a few floating solar projects in Kolkata and Kerala. Since the segment is still at a nascent stage in India, its promotion requires support from the government in the form of faster tender approvals.”

Gyanesh Chaudhary, MD, and CEO Vikram Solar also commented on the election result saying, “I would like to congratulate Shri Narendra Modi and BJP for this big victory. As an industry, we view this as another step towards a progressive India. The last five years witnessed many policy reforms to boost the industry. And we expect that in the second term, the BJP government will work further to create a healthy ecosystem for business, take responsibility to create high-productivity jobs, promote manufacturing industry, boost exports and banking reforms to promote Industry. Renewable energy is close to PM’s heart, and I hope that he will further support and create policies that mitigate climate change.

Activity in the renewable energy sector is expected to start picking up now that the elections are done.  Auction activity was minimal during the elections and is anticipated to ramp up again. The expectations are riding high in the India renewable industry.

“The NDA administration has taken renewables and especially solar to the next level considering almost 90% of solar installations in the country have happened over the last five years. That said, there are plenty of challenges ahead to address like UDAY and DISCOM finances, access to finance, land, and transmission issues to start with. If these are successfully addressed, the next five years could be a boom time for the Indian renewable industry,” said Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group.