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India has bright future in solar PV, other RE: Stan Meyers, SEMI

August 1, 2010 Comments off

According to Stanley T. Myers, president and CEO, SEMI: “India has a bright future in solar PV and other renewable energies. India should also acquire and develop the best research.” Meyers was speaking during a media interaction at the Solarcon India 2010 in Hyderabad.

(L-R): Daniel D. Martin, executive VP, PV Group, SEMI, Stanley T. Myers, president and CEO, SEMI, and Sathya Prasad, president, SEMI India, at SOLARCON India 2010, Hyderabad.

(L-R): Daniel D. Martin, executive VP, PV Group, SEMI, Stanley T. Myers, president and CEO, SEMI, and Sathya Prasad, president, SEMI India, at SOLARCON India 2010, Hyderabad.

He said: “The NSM is the change in India. You try to look for simplicity, see what’s going on, and speed. We hope that happens in India.”

Meyers added: “We see SEMI playing the role as a ‘connector’ in markets where technologies are emerging. Two things need to happen in emerging technologies as well as regions. One, there has to be a roadmap — clear and defined. Two, there has to be standards development. SEMI is already playing a key role in  the standards for PV manufacturing equipment and materials. It will extend that activity into India as well.

“Our experience in standards in semiconductors has shown that standards results in cost reduction and the net benefit of cost savings is passed on not only to the consumer, but this also allows the savings to be ploughed back into R&D by the industry.”

Phase 1 of NSM critical for success
Meyers said that phase I of the JN-NSM is extremely important for India as it is in now in the execution level. He added: “Significant accomplishments made in this phase may set the parameters of Phase II of the NSM. SEMI will work with the PV industry in India in the execution of NSM and will collaboratively work with the regional associations/industry members and other stakeholder to help achieve the goals of NSM.”EHS (Environment, Health and Safety) and industry standards are two aspects SEMI has always been focusing on. We look forward to the opportunity to do the same in India.”

Solarcon India 2010: Timely implementation of phase 1 critical to success of JN-NSM


The inaugural function at the ongoing Solarcon India 2010 has sent out a significant message to the world — India means business in solar! All eyes are now on phase 1 of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JN-NSM). Timely and successful implementation of phase 1 really holds the key toward future success of this ambitious Mission!

A view of the inaugural function of Solarcon India 2010 @ Hyderabad.

A view of the inaugural function of Solarcon India 2010 @ Hyderabad.

Strong emphasis is now being placed on research and development, and rightly so. The Indian government is also working toward tackling issues involved with project financing.

The Union Ministry of Urban Development has now come up with a National Mission on Sustainable Habitat, which should provide many more opportunities for project developers. Just days before the conference, guidelines for new solar projects under the JN-NSM were announced. NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam signed MoUs with 16 project developers for solar power projects. On the state level, the initiatives undertaken by the Andhra Pradesh government are there for all to see and emulate.

Let’s take a look at what the various dignitaries from Central and State governments, EPIA and SEMI, had to say at Solarcon 2010. Please bear with me as this is quite a long post!

India needs to develop research facilities
Delivering his address at the inaugural function of Solarcon 2010, Dr. Farooq Abdullah, Hon’ble Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy highlighted that JN-NSM has been the vision of Dr. Manmohan Singh, the Indian Prime Minster. Phase 1 is now underway — a target of 1,000 MW, with 500MW for solar PV and 500MW for solar thermal.

Addressing the Indian solar PV industry, Dr. Abdullah stressed: “India should develop its technology right here! Don’t import third rate technology!” He quipped, “Sastaa roye bar bar, mehengaa roye ek bar!” That is, it is better to buy expensive and quality technology rather than banking on cheap technology.

“Your technology has to work for 25 years! You must have your own research centers. Research is one of the goals of the NSM. You have to do your own research. You are going to the market, not only for India, but also for a unified world,” he added.

The Minister remarked that by simply adding solar water heaters in several hotels had reduced their electricity bills by half. He added: “We want to encourage many players. We want true players!” Addressing the solar thermal and PV debate, he said: “When we started, we put 60:40 for thermal and PV. We changed that to 50:50.” There may be a need to go down further. “Buy the best technology, don’t buy cheap,” the Minister insisted.

He added that many states had missed the boat in phase 1 of the JN-NSM. Some examples include Bihar and Kerala. However, there is every likelihood that they will get included in phase 2 of the JN-NSM. “Look at the amount of fossil fuels we are importing at the cost of dollars and the country’s health. Just look at the savings we can do for the nation if we can develop solar technology,” added Dr. Abdullah.

SEMI India benchmarks India’s NSM on global FIT best practices


SEMI India organized a panel discussion in Bangalore, India, today to discuss public policy principles on feed-In tariffs (FITs) and their relevance to the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JN NSM).

L-R: Dr. J Gururaja, Honorary Executive President, REAF (Renewable Energy Advocacy Forum), K. Subramanya, CEO, Tata BP Solar and Chair, SEMI India PV Advisory Committee, and Sathya Prasad, President, SEMI India.

L-R: Dr. J Gururaja, Honorary Executive President, REAF (Renewable Energy Advocacy Forum), K. Subramanya, CEO, Tata BP Solar and Chair, SEMI India PV Advisory Committee, and Sathya Prasad, President, SEMI India.

SEMI India also released a white paper on the policy principles and recommended global best practices for solar FITs, with comments on its relevance to the Indian context.

The paper was released jointly by Sathya Prasad, along with K. Subramanya, CEO, Tata BP Solar and Chair, SEMI India PV Advisory Committee, and Dr. J Gururaja, Honorary Executive President, REAF (Renewable Energy Advocacy Forum).

I believe the paper can be downloaded from the SEMI/PV Group’s website.

A feed-in tariff (FIT) is said to be a “Government policy to encourage adoption of renewable energy by requiring regional or national electric utilities to buy electricity from renewable sources at above-market rates.” If you look at the global FIT statistics, 37 countries adopted FITs in 2008, which now stands at 45 countries.

According to Sathya Prasad, president SEMI India, policy drives the solar PV market. For instance, over 80 percent of 2008 PV demand came from the FIT supported market.

Key findings from the white paper include:
* India’s JN-NSM framework compares favorably with long-established successful FIT regime (Germany, etc).
* The FIT must be continued until grid parity is achieved,
* Following FIT best practices ensures lower policy cost, faster ramp of manufacturing and growth of PV market.
* Efficient execution/implementation of JN-NSM is crucial.

More details later! 😉 Keep watching!

Rising opportunities in India’s solar PV space

October 22, 2009 14 comments

SEMI India, in association with Intersolar India and partner organizations India Semiconductor Association (ISA) and Fab City, organizing SOLARCON India 2009, today held an interactive panel discussion titled, ”Rising opportunities for Solar/PV in India”.

The participants were: Sathya Prasad, president, SEMI India, BP Acharya, CMD APIIC, Sankar Rao, MD, Titan Energy Systems, SSN Prasad, VP, Solar Semiconductors, and Seshagiri Rao, India Sales Head, Oerlikon.

Abundant solar radiation in India!

Abundant solar radiation in India!

According to Sathya Prasad, president, SEMI India, India is abundantly endowed with solar radiation — > 300 sunny days a year and 5 trillion kWh of solar energy per year available across the land mass. “Even 0.5 percent of India’s land mass generating solar electricity can meet the entire power needs of the country in the year 2030,” he said.

India PV end market – opportunities

Several opportunities exist in the India PV end market, such as:

* Basic lighting and electrification of rural homes.

* Irrigation pump sets.

* Power backup for cellular base stations.

* Urban applications.

* Solar power plants

Indian PV manufacturing background

India has a long history of solar/PV activity. CEL and BHEL have been around from the 1970s. Pioneering R&D work has also been done. The Indian space program was one of the early drivers. A few private companies have been in operation for ~two decades.

There has been a rising production capacity in India. This is extending from module to cell manufacturing. Also, the industry is now getting into downstream opportunities.

India PV end market – opportunities in urban applications.

India PV end market – opportunities in urban applications.

Today, most of the output is in exports (~70 percent).

India solar capacity targets

* Satisfy large solar local market (generation capacity)

— A few hundred MW                   Today

— 1000 MW                                     by 2013

— 6000 – 7000 MW                    by 2017

— 20,000 MW                                by 2020

— 100,000 / 200,000              by 2030/2050, respectively

* Solar manufacturing capacity targets

— A few hundred MW                Today

— 1000MW-1500 MW              by 2012 / 2013

— 4000MW-5000 MW             by 2017

Why is local solar/PV manufacturing important?

* Benefits of manufacturing locally in India

— Ability to scale production to meet end-demand

— Cost reduction

— Quality/reliability enhancements for local conditions

— Customization of end solutions targeted for India market

* Build competitive advantage in the long-term

* Employment creation (~100,000 over next 10 yrs)

Solar/PV manufacturing in India

* Govt recognition of potential of solar/PV

— Targets of 20,000 MW by 2020

* State government initiatives: Example: FabCity initiative

* Rising interest from Industry for solar/PV

— Integrated PV/solar manufacturing park

* India can provide a competitive manufacturing base for PV (cells, modules and solutions)

— Well established industrial base

— Industrial manpower available (PV training needed)

Solar farms, India an emerging leader Read more…

Opportunities in India’s solar/PV landscape: SEMI India


Solar/photovoltaics (PV) holds tremendous potential and promise for India, a fact not hidden from anyone. To further highlight its importance, SEMI India unveiled its first paper on Solar PV in India yesterday afternoon.

More action from Indian government needed
The meet called for more action from the government of India, a more closer industry-government collaboration, as well as the need for financial institutions to pay more attention to the solar/PV segment in India.

The photo here shows from left to right: Dr. Madhusudan V. Atre, President, Applied Materials India; Dr. J. Gururaja, Renewable Energy Action Forum & Executive President, SEMI India; K. Subramanya, CEO, Tata BP Solar; and Sathya Prasad, president, SEMI India.

Touching on the rationale for this SEMI paper on solar/PV’s landscape in India, Dr. J. Gururaja, Renewable Energy Action Forum and Executive President, SEMI India, said it was meant to project the solar/PV industry’s perspective: where we are and what needs to be done! This is a first account report and will be followed by many other such reports.

He said: “Solar in general, and PV in particular, can address the challenges that we face today. Solar/PV has a special attraction. It converts solar to electricity without involving any moving parts.”

He added that although the industry has been looking at the potential, the markets have not been expanding as expected. “We need to see what can be done and achieved. This report is a stock-taking exercise,” he pointed out.

Case for solar/PV in India
Sathya Prasad, president of SEMI India, touched upon the case for PV in India. These include:
* The existing power deficit situation in many parts of the country.
* India’s brisk economic growth implies rising energy needs.
* Overdependence on coal for electricity generation — limited coal reserves and CO2 emissions.
* Overdependence on oil and natural gas imports — it accounts for 7 percent of GDP and consequent energy security concerns.

According to him, India is abundantly endowed with solar radiation. So far, so good!

Key PV opportunities for India
According to SEMI’s paper, the key PV opportunities for India lie in off-grid applications and grid-connected PV. The off-grid applications include:
* Basic lighting and electrification of rural homes.
* Irrigation pump sets.
* Power back-up for cellular base station towers — approximately, there will be 2.9 lakh base station towers by the end of 2009.
* Urban applications — such as street lighting, etc.

The opportunities in grid-connected PV exist in:
* The current grid connected PV generation capacity is very small.
* Existing power deficit and huge projected future need.
* The cost point of PV has been declining continuously with technology improvements and scale.

Benefits of PV in India
The benefits of PV in India extend well beyond addressing energy needs. For instance, renewable energy technologies create more jobs than any fossil fuel based technologies. It also creates jobs across the value chain — from R&D to manufacturing, installation and maintenance. Sathya Prasad highlighted MNRE’s point that about 100,000 jobs could be created out of PV.

PV also has the capability of transforming lives. About 450 million Indians today manage with kerosene/other fuels for very basic lighting despite its significant health and safety risks. In this context, special mention needs to be made of the Aryavarta Grameen Bank’s home electrification program.

Challenges for PV in India
Evidently, a bunch of opportunities are awaiting India in the solar/PV space. However, several challenges need to be overcome as well. These would be:
* Need for closer industry-government co-operation.
* Need for standards.
* Need for collaborative, goals driven R&D.
* Training and human resources development
* Need for financing infrastructure and models.

So, what are the recommendations of this paper on solar/PV landscape in India, and further call to action? These are:
* Need to evolve a common government-industry vision to make India a world leader in PV.
* Develop financing infrastructure and models that will motivate large-scale PV adoption and investments.
* Expand development of PV in off-grid applications.
* Accelerate grid-connected PV generation on a large scale.

Call for low carbon growth strategy
“Low carbon growth path is universal now. To make that happen, there needs to be a political will,” advised K. Subramanya, CEO, Tata BP Solar, and chairman SEMI India PV Advisory Committee, while presenting his perspective on the solar/PV industry in India.

There has been little action on part of the government of India. “This needs to be implemented on the ground. We need policy and lifestyle innovation,” he added. Subramanya cautioned that, “Too much of analysis will result in paralysis.” According to him, separate budgets are required for a low carbon growth strategy. “Solar has tremendous potential. Even its learning curve is brilliant,” Subramanya noted.

He added that if the European Union (EU) can make a low carbon journey so smoothly, then why not India? For instance, in Karnataka state alone, the demand is said to be 6700MW and a 10-11 percent peak shortage. We have 20-odd lakh Bhagya Jyoti and Kutir Jyoti units, and around 7,870-odd street lights. If a majority of these can be replaced by solar, it could lead to tremendous savings! This could be at least 57MW for a state like Karnataka. Apparently, all of this would require an investment of Rs. 52 crores and a payback time of two years.

“Why can’t we develop a low-carbon growth path for every state in India? Imagine, what it can do for the other states,” Subramanya highlighted. “If the power sector does not do well, it will hit the country’s GDP!” Quite rightly so!!

Subramanya cited another example of solar water heaters in Karnataka. There are 32 lakh homes, of which about 5 lakh homes have solar water heaters. If more houses were to adopt these, it would result in a saving of 4,000MW of electricity! The Tata BP Solar CEO also called upon financial institutions to have a closer look at solar. Even the tariffs structure for solar/PV in India is not favorable enough.

He also touched upon US President Barack Obama’s energy plan and the actions taken, since his coming to power, and drew a parallel with India’s national action plan, which includes a solar mssion. This was released last June, but hardly any action has happened on the ground. So, there needs be changes on this front as well.

Four key aspects for solar/PV in India
Dr. Madhusudan V. Atre, president, Applied Materials India and vice chairman SEMI India PV Advisory Committee, highlighted four major aspects while presenting his perspective on the solar/PV industry. These are:
* See the advantage SEMI India brings to India. It can help bring costs down, due to the involvement of the PV Group.
* A point Dr. Atre had highlighted to me about a year back — that solar/PV is a great way to trigger manufacturing in India. He said that the solar/PV ecosystem will be a very important step in setting up a semiconductor manufacturing ecosystem in the country.
* What wireless did to telecom — perhaps, solar/PV has a similar aim! It can get rid of transmission lines and actually take power to the people!
* The Indian government-academia-industry would need to work hand-in-hand.

Solar, semi rocking in India; global semi recovery in 2010?

October 9, 2008 Comments off

Wow! What a start for October! We have had a whole new range of activities going on! Fist, late September, the India Semiconductor Association organized a solar/PV conclave in New Delhi, where plans were laid out for India’s roadmap in the solar/PV field. the ISA-NMCC (National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council) report on the Indian solar PV market was also released at the conclave.

According to Poornima Shenoy, president, ISA, the year 2015 could be important for this industry. She said, “Around this time, the product cost of the Indian solar PV industry is likely to match the semi grid parity (peak power) globally, and also to match the grid parity within India.”

Next, AMD joined hands with Advanced Technology Investment Co. (ATIC) of Abu Dhabi to create “The Foundry Company”, a leading-edge foundry production outfit. It will also join the IBM joint development alliance for silicon-on-insulator (SOI) and bulk silicon through 22nm generation. It will be very interesting to see how AMD now takes on Intel!

Messe Munchen put out a white paper on “How China, India and Eastern Europe are changing the global electronics market.” This is not surprising at all! You can download the report by clicking on the link here, and I must say, the report is really engaging!

On the same lines, Gartner came up with its analysis that China is dominating the global semiconductor scene, and that both India and Vietnam are gaining! India’s growing might in semicon is well documented! Also, last month, I had mentioned how the lack of a fab or the exit of a top professional from an Indian semicon firm would not hamper India’s growing fortunes in this industry!

The trials and tribulations of the global semiconductor industry were already touched upon by Derek Lidow of iSuppli. Analysts such as Malcolm Penn of Future Horizons and those at Gartner have been saying similar things, more or less. Penn advises that this is the time to stop chasing fashion and get back to basics. He adds, “The good news being the industry basics are mercifully as good as they get back.”

Gartner only expects a recovery for semiconductors sometime in 2010! According to Gartner, a collapse in memory spending, combined with a weak economy, is driving a major contraction in semiconductor capital equipment spending in 2008. The slowdown is likely to continue into 2009 before the industry recovers in 2010.

SEMI now has a presence in India. Sathya Prasad, formerly of Cadence, has been appointed as president of SEMI India with immediate effect. This is a further indication of India’s growing leadership in the semicon space. I will be getting into a discussion with Sathya Prasad sometime later.

Of course, we have the usual stuff like companies selling off or retiring 200mm fabs. Examples are NXP, Hynix, Renesas, etc. Also, DRAM prices continue to be weak and suppliers could likely face a credit crunch.

Interesting mix of happenings, isn’t it! While India rocks in solar and semicon, we are still speculating on a recovery for the global semiconductor industry. About time India took the lead in making that happen!

Finally, I was busy with Durga Puja, and hence, didn’t blog in a while. Will try my best and make up for my absence. I would like to take this opportunity to wish SHUBHO BIJOYA to all of my Bengali and non-Bengali friends.

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