From November 12–14, India’s largest exhibition and conference for the solar industry presented products, solutions and services at the Bombay Exhibition Centre (BEC) in Mumbai.

170 exhibitors in the areas of photovoltaics (PV), PV production technologies, energy storage systems and solar thermal technologies represented the solar industry’s entire value-added chain. Once again, the 2013 exhibition proved to be a magnet for the international industry, with 75% of the exhibitors in 2013 came from India, 13% from Europe and 12% from across the rest of the globe. Around 8,000 visitors flocked to the exhibition from all over the globe. The number increased by 10% compared to the previous year, underlining this year’s success. The Intersolar India Conference, which kicked off on November 11, also came to a close on Thursday, November 14. This year saw some 100 speakers and about 500 attendees take part in presentations and discussions on technologies, markets and current issues at the Leela Kempinski Hotel in Mumbai. In 2013 for the second time, the Intersolar AWARD honored Solar Projects in India in the areas of Off-Grid Solutions, Industrial and Commercial Use and Utility-Scale Projects.

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One of the most discussed topics at Intersolar India 2013 was the launch of the second phase of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) at the end of October. Solar projects with a maximum capacity of 750 megawatts (MW) are now eligible to receive funding from the scheme. In particular, discussions centered around the selection process and the newly introduced Viability Gap Funding (VGF), which provides government loans for part of the investment costs.

Indian government and federal states set ambitous targets

With the transition of the solar mission to the next phase, India’s next objective is to reach 4 gigawatts (GW) by 2015. In addition, the Indian government has announced the tender for the first 1,000 MW of a PV power plant in Sambharm, Rajasthan, which will have a total capacity of four GW. At Intersolar India, Tarun Kapoor, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), explained that this is just the first step in a ten-year plan to construct five “ultra-mega renewable parks” with a combined output of 18 GW.

The federal states are also driving forward developments. Sudhi Ranjan Mohanty, Principal Secretary of the government of Madhya Pradesh stressed this in his opening address for the Intersolar India Conference. In the federal state of Madhya Pradesh alone, the total installed output has grown from 2 MW in 2012 to currently 220 MW, and is set to reach 1.4 GW by 2015. According to the Principla Secretary, the more important framework conditions for these successful developments are a transparent political decision-making process, investment incentives and the involvement of industry in the planning process. As an industry meeting point, Intersolar India provides an important platform for discussions.

Shining the spotlight on the future of the Indian solar market

In 2013, Intersolar India once again showcased the solar industry’s entire value-added chain, In the breakdown of exhibitors, 77% specialized in photovoltaics, 3% exhibited products and services connected to solar thermal technologies and 20% brought solutions from both fields to the exhibition. This year’s top exhibiting countries were India, Germany, China and Spain.

Due to announcements from the Indian government and current developments in the Indian market, the conference sessions on Project Development and Project Financing and the training sessions of Solar Energy International (SEI) at the exhibition on Considerations for Large-Scale Photovoltaic Systems were particularly well received.

Thanks to its current total output of more than 2 GW, the Indian solar industry has already reached a high level of maturity. In addition to future developments, interest centered around the operation and maintenance of existing PV power plants. This was reflected by the high attendance figures at the conference sessions on Installation, Operation & Maintenance, as well as the training sessions on Quality Assurance and Operations and Maintenance (O&M) and Advanced Battery-based Solar Electric System Design & Maintenance by SEI. Exhibitors were also visibly satisfied with the exhibition’s outcome.

Intersolar AWARD for Solar Projects in India

The Intersolar AWARD for the Solar Projects in India category was presented for the second time at Intersolar India 2013. The coveted innovation prize for Industrial and Commercial Use went to L&T Construction (India) for supplying solar energy to L&T CSTI & CDC Campus in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu. Barefoot Power Pty Ltd. (Australia) received the prize in the Off-Grid Solution category for its Solar Weaver Kit, which uses electric lighting to increase productivity in weaving shops. The Intersolar AWARD for Utility-Scale Projects went to Chemtrols Solar Private Limited (India), which constructed India’s first megawatt-range PV diesel-hybrid power plant in Tiripur, Tamil Nadu.

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