The Clean Energy Access Network (CLEAN), India’s industry body representing the decentralized renewable energy (DRE) sector, has launched its first annual “State of the Sector” report.
The report highlights the significant progress and innovation made by the sector. It also calls for increased public partnership to scale DRE solutions and to build a modern energy system for India that serves the hundreds of millions of people still without access to electricity or clean cooking.
The State of the Sector report is designed to be a benchmark for the DRE sector’s performance in India (including CLEAN’s 104 members, 69 of which are last-mile energy delivery micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises).
It also seeks to identify access to finance needs for the sector and mechanisms to address them, and to outline the ways that DRE should be integrated into existing policies to accelerate energy access.
Key sector findings for Fiscal Year (FY) April 2016 to March 2017 include:
- India’s private sector DRE market leaders deployed 206 small energy grids (picorids, microgrids and mini-grids); more than 92,000 solar home systems (SHS); more than 120,000 clean cookstoves for household use and 980 for institutional use; 1,300 solar water pumps, and 3.6 million solar lanterns
- Beyond household electricity needs, 144 productive use projects (such as agricultural processing, small-scale manufacturing, ICT, cold storage) have been powered by DRE
- Based on partial data, the total financial needs of the sector over the next three years will triple to 3.8 billion INR ($59m) from what has already been raised. Lack of long-term, affordable debt finance remains a key barrier, requiring greater knowledge-sharing between companies and commercial lenders
- Key sector stakeholders stressed the need to build partnerships with India’s energy distribution companies (DISCOMs) to complement grid availability through DRE and provide greater confidence to investors
- Metrics and indicators to measure energy access need to be based on reliable and quality availability of clean cooking and electricity solutions rather than merely connections
Also launched was DREEM (www.dreemtool.com), a new platform that provides holistic and contextualized evaluation of DRE enterprises in India. The tool houses extensive backend data on the external business environment as well as DRE sector, and combines it with enterprise specific data to generate performance scores based on standardized metrics.
“The innovation and entrepreneurship of the decentralized renewable energy sector in India are a critical part in building the digitized, decentralized and democratized energy system of the 21st century that India envisions”, said report author Surabhi Rajagopal. “Private sector delivery of distributed energy access, given adequate public partnership, can help India achieve quality, reliable energy access faster, while ensuring rural economic development, energy security, and climate resilience.”
The Government of India (GoI) has made universal 24×7 energy access a priority, yet at current rates achieving that goal will take considerably longer than December 2018, the target for universal household electrification set out by the recently announced “Saubhagya” scheme