USISPF Briefing on Investment Opportunities in India’s Renewable Energy Sector
On April 15, USISPF IAC along with USAID hosted a webinar featuring Secretary Anand Kumar of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy; Sumant Sinha, founder and CEO of ReNew Power and USISPF board member; and Georges Antoun, Chief Commercial Officer of First Solar. In a discussion moderated by USISPF Senior Vice President, Nolty Theriot, they briefed USISPF members on the impact COVID-19 has had on the renewable energy sector in India, supportive actions taken by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), opportunities for renewable energy growth in India, and the role that US companies can play in this growth.
Speaking on the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy’s (MNRE) support for the renewable energy industry at this time, Secretary Kumar highlighted recent actions taken to ensure payments by distribution companies, categorize renewable energy as having “must run” status, and seek amendments to the Electricity Act of 2003 that would benefit the renewable energy industry. He also provided updates on MNRE efforts to facilitate domestic manufacturing of solar power and other renewable energy components, energy storage, and foreign investment in India’s renewable energy sector. Secretary Kumar expressed that MNRE’s vision is to make India the next manufacture hub for renewable energy, along with staying committed to climate change mitigation goals by promoting renewable energy. He also shared that MNRE is working on an Alternate Investment Fund with IREDA to help with the fiscal health of distribution companies, which will consequentially benefit the developers.
Sumant Sinha noted that while overall power demand has fallen as a result of India’s nationwide lockdown, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has been proactive in its support for renewable energy companies. Georges Antoun also commended the efforts of MNRE during the time of COVID-19, and expressed that companies such as First Solar and their investors would be keen to enter the Indian market for manufacturing, given the right policy and commercial environment.