Hero as a group has been a brand to be reckoned in this country
Banks are tactical when it comes to financing renewable energy projects. SUNIL JAIN, Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director, Hero Future Energies
Can you please share with us the latest innovations and technologies in solar trackers?
Usage of solar trackers, is one of the latest technologies being discussed in the solar industry. Six to seven companies have forayed into this, whereas few developers are trying their hands on to work with their in-house solar trackers. Basically the software in them is the heart of the design. The trackers which offer maximum efficiency, even in an undulated surface are considered effective for Indian terrain. The government has given approval to National Offshore Wind Energy Policy,
What are your views on this? Is there any plan of setting up offshore wind energy plant in the next two years?
The National Offshore Wind Energy Policy was introduced almost three years back. Previously, setting up offshore wind energy plant required 30 approvals across various departments. The government decided to have a single window to coordinate all the approvals and that is how the National Offshore Policy evolved. Offshore wind energy plants have high CAPEX, requiring large initial investments. The government has decided to set up the pilot offshore wind energy project at Gujarat Offshore with Public Sector undertaking like ONGC as they have the
necessary available infrastructure. India presently does not require harnessing power from offshore wind plants, which are more viable for European countries facing land related challenges, whereas in India, land availability is not a hindrance. Also the cost of setting up wind energy plants in India is almost half as compared to the offshore wind plants.
The solar prices have seen considerable drop in the Power Purchase Agreements. What would be the pros and cons of this on the overall renewable energy scenario in the country?
As the prices have gone down, already stretched DISCOMS, who were earlier reluctant to purchase solar power, are now keen on solar power as per MW power price from solar generation has almost come at par with the thermal power. The Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) prices are
directly linked to the CAPEX which has dropped significantly by almost 30 to 40 percent thus making the solar projects more
viable, yielding better returns.
Banks and financial institutions are skeptical when it comes to financing renewable energy projects, what are the various financing options, Hero Future Energies offers?
Banks are tactical when it comes to financing renewable energy projects. Though renewable energy projects have a gestation period of less than one year, yet banks prefer to lend to big ticket projects in roads and other infrastructure projects where the gestation period stretches to more than three years. But the situation has changed with the reduction in solar energy tariffs and the simplification of the bidding process.
The solar projects are risk free and new avenues of funding options are now available with banks and financial institutions showing renewed interest in funding renewable projects.
What are the challenges in the growth of the rooftop solar sector in India?
The biggest challenge for rooftop industry is that though the government has allowed net metering policy all across the states, hardly anybody is implementing it in true spirit. The concept of net metering is that the energy generated from a rooftop is consumed by the owner and the
balance goes to the grid. The rooftop owner is paid at a fixed price for the units of excess power that goes back to the grid but actually the grid should be writing off the units being consumed by the customer in lieu of the units being fed into the grid.
What would be the rooftop area required for generating one kilo watt power?
Earlier 1,000 square feet of space was required for generating per kilo watt solar rooftop power which has now come down to 900 square feet for the same output. Definitely the new technology takes the credit for this reduction of 10 percent.
What are your plans for the next two years? Are you planning to expand your footprints overseas?
By this March, we will be a 1Gigawatt company and definitely we are planning to expand overseas, typically to the markets closer to home
like South East Asia and Africa.
What is the role that the power producers associations are playing for the industry?
Of late a lot of turmoil was witnessed in the wind energy sector. Wind Independent Power Producers Association (WIPPA) is a leading association representing the wind energy power producers. WIPPA and other renewable energy associations are in discussion with the government regarding issues and problems faced by the developers. The idea is to collaborate with government to build the industry by providing industry inputs through discussions, consultations and feedbacks.
What are the various Greenfield projects that you have undertaken?
We are executing a Greenfield project in Madhya Pradesh and one 20 Megawatt in Andhra Pradesh this year. We are also in the process of executing 32 Megawatt project in Telangana.
Why is Hero Future Energies considered to be one of the leading rooftop solar companies?
One thing we command is the brand value. It is the trust which enriches the customers that it’s a project from a reputed industry player in the Indian rooftop industry. There are very few companies of our size and stature in the rooftop industry, although there are many small
scale entrepreneurs who are executing small projects. The customers are aware of the specialization Hero Future Energies offers, both in terms of design as well as execution and understand that Hero Future Energies would still be going strong throughout the lifespan of the project
which is 25 years. Hero as a group has been a brand to be reckoned in this country for 50-60 years and we do have a reputation at stake. At Hero Future Energies, we not only offer design innovation but also better output resulting in faster growth while maintaining the essential
The government has set up an ambitious target for solar power, do you think it is achievable?
Yes, the target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi – 1 lakh Megawatt power and 60,000 MW of grid connecters and 40,000 MW of rooftops is ambitious but achievable. 60000 megawatts with grid connectors could be less challenging as compared to 40,000 MW of Rooftop.
Do you think there should be some policy correction in order to achieve this? What do you expect from the manufacturers?
We have to understand that the rooftop is initially CAPEX driven. If India needs to get energy from rooftop, government should come up with the policy to protect both the customers and the developers.