India and Solar: “The Right Place at the Right Time”

Rahul Shah, CEO & Executive Director, Tata Power Renewable Energy Ltd., says the stars are aligned for India to transition to renewable energy now. Mr. Shah spoke on a panel at the Chazen Institute’s India Business Initiative conference in Mumbai on January 15, 2018.
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India is right in the middle of this huge energy transition. And I’m not sure how much of it is by design – that we landed on this sweet spot in terms of timing – and how much is by accident.

And if you compare what happened in Europe – Germany, the UK, Spain, Italy – which started much earlier on the renewable energy journey, and they saw investments at wind and solar plants at much higher costs of capital, and eventually at much higher tariffs.

Our journey started much later. And we have benefitted of course from large Chinese module manufacturing capacity and the sharp decline in prices. We’ve also benefitted from the fact that in terms of timing, India as an investment destination, and renewable energy as a sector in India as an investment, has hardly any other competitor anywhere else in the world.

China has announced big renewable energy programs and is of course getting investment, but apart from that, all the focus is on India. And the availability and the low cost of capital is something that is also responsible for more capital chasing less capacity which is coming into the market. And that is responsible for the low bids that we are seeing.

And again I don’t – I can’t imagine that this is all by design. A lot of it is being at the right place at the right time as a country.

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