The Renewable Energy Industry

By Harshad Lahoti, Founding Partner & CEO, ah! Ventures Harshad is an angel investor and mentor, who is known for creating successful businesses from scratch.

The renewable energy industry is that part of the energy industry wherein focus is made on new and renewable energy technologies. The largest source of renewable energy comprises of the large hydro power projects. This emerging industry has been paid great attention to by investors worldwide. And as India looks forward to meeting its energy demands on its own, renewable energy is all set to play a major and very important role.

As per the Renewable Energy Attractiveness Index 2018, the renewable energy industry constitutes to be the fourth most attractive renewable energy market in the world. These industries have expanded during the most of the year 2008 giving rise to manufacturing capacity, diversification of manufacturing locations and shifts in leadership. As of October 2018, India ranks 5th in installed renewable energy capacity. Also, the total renewable power installed capacity the country stood at 73.35 GW as of that date. Whereas power generation from renewable energy sources in India has reached 101.84 billion units in FY18 and 81.15 billion units between April to October 2018. Data released by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) state that FDI inflows in the Indian non-conventional sector stood at USD 6.84 billion between April 2000 and June 2018.

August 2018 marked the start of the interstate distribution of wind power. During the first half of 2010, India was able to install 1MW of solar capacity every hour through-out the country. Due to 28 deals, clean energy made up 27 per cent of US$ 4.4 billion Merger and Acquisition (M&A) deals. These took place in India's power sector during the year 2017. USD 10 billion of investments were made in the solar sector of India during CY 2017. Apparently, as compared to USD 630 million coming from 10 deals during the corresponding year 2016, the Private Equity (PE) investments in India's
wind and solar power have increased by 47 per cent in 2017 ­ from January 1 to September 25 to USD 920 million across nine deals. And in March 2018, ReNew Power finalized a deal that estimated up to USD 1.55 billion to acquire Ostro Energy, making it the largest renewable energy company all over India. Also, during the same period, the world's largest solar park, "Shakti Sthala" was launched in Karnataka with an investment of Rs 16,500 crore (USD 2.55 billion).

India added a record of 11,788 MW of renewable energy capacity during 2017-18. Precisely, a total of 47 solar parks with a generation capacity of 26,694 MW have been already approved in the country up to the month of November in 2018

The Government of India took several initiatives to boost the Indian renewable energy sector wherein a new Hydropower policy has been drafted. This will lead to the growth and rise of hydro projects in the country. Secondly, announcements have been made to implement the plan of the USD 238 million National Mission on advanced ultra-superficial technologies for cleaner coal utilization. On the other hand, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has decided to provide custom and excise duty benefits to the solar rooftop sector. This in turn will lower the cost of setting up as well as generating power. Thus, growth will be boosted. Lastly, the Indian Rail-ways has increased its efforts at a tremendous speed towards measures of efficient sustained energy and for the maximum usage of clean fuel so as to cut down level of emission by 33 percent by the year 2030.

As a result of the measures and initiatives taken by the Government of India, the solar capacity has increased by eight times between FY14 TO FY18. India added a record of 11,788 MW of renewable energy capacity during 2017-18. Precisely, a total of 47 solar parks with a generation capacity of 26,694 MW have been already approved in the country up to the month of November in 2018. Out of this, 4,195 MW of this capacity has already been commissioned. India touched a record of 101.84 billion units in FY18 in power generation from renewable energy sources (excluding large hydro). The country has reached 81.15 billion units for the same between April to October 2018. Also, the inter-state distribution of wind power was started in August 2018.

During the year 2018-19, India is expected to add up to 8.5 GW of renewable energy capacity. By 2030, renewable sources are highly expected to meet about 40 per cent of India's power needs. It is expected that by the year 2040, renewable energy will be used to generate about 49 per cent of the total electricity. This will be possible as more and more efficient batteries will be put to use to store electricity, further cutting the cost of solar energy by 66 per cent, as compared to the current cost. As a result, the usage of renewables as substitutes of coal will save India Rs 54,000 crore (USD 8.43 billion) every year.

Renewable energy has the potential to create employment opportunities at many levels, especially in the rural sector ­ reducing poverty and hence, leading to growth of the Indian economy. And not only are more jobs created as a result, even the gas industry is saved and the cost is being reduced by thousands of crores.