India Watch

This is another interesting market -- blessed with plenty of sun ("insolation," as they say in the solar power world) and cheap labor, but saddled with an infamous bureaucracy, India seems poised to make a huge difference in getting us over the $1/watt, "grid-parity" goal line.  I'm collecting here informative bits and pieces of news and analysis as I find it.

One common theme about India -- government interference with the free market.  "“A complex system of subsidies and price controls has limited investment, particularly in resources like coal and natural gas. It has also created anomalies, like retail electricity prices that are lower than the cost of producing power, which lead to big losses at state-owned utilities.”  (Source).  With government inevitably comes corruption and inefficiency: "Analysts say India’s economic woes could have been easily avoided if policy makers had better addressed problems like its electricity shortage, weak infrastructure and restrictive regulations. Instead, policy makers have been distracted by corruption scandals and turf battles."  Id.

April, 2014:  India plans on 20 GW of solar PV power by 2022.  (Source).

10/13:  India to throw $10 billion into a smart grid

11/12:  India is poised for Solar PV take-off investment-wise: "Two companies OMC, and Mera Gao, are leading the way already reaching thousands of villagers with innovative solar mini-grid models. Now it appears these models have caught the attention of the UP government which recently announced a 1 GW solar policy."  12/11/12:  India will shoot for 10GW of solar PV/Thermal.

9/12: India has 400 million people living off the grid.  It's thus looking to Solar PV to solve a lot of its energy problems.  Money Quote: "Solar can provide a decentralized power supply, which helps increase supply security. And it has become an increasingly attractive and stable option. It is plentiful, locally available, can be harnessed by small plants in remote locations. And of course, technology advancements have made solar panels increasingly economical."  Here's the kicker: "Indeed, the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for solar without storage is approximately 5 to 8 rupees (USD 10 – 15 cents) while the LCOE of diesel is 13 rupees (USD 24 cents)."  November 2012 follow-up story projecting that, because extending the grid to rural India costs too much, it will never happen and thus big gains in decentralized, solar PV will be seen there.

8/12:  A good argument for decentralized, Solar PV power in India.

7/12:  More on Indian government policy