The PACEsetter fund—constituted by the governments of India and the USA in 2015—provides early-stage grant funding to accelerate the commercialization of innovative off-grid clean energy products, systems and business models.
The fund’s main purpose is to improve the viability of off-grid renewable energy businesses that sell small-scale (under 1 MW) clean energy systems to individuals and communities without access to grid-connected power or with limited/intermittent access (less than 8 hours per day).
In the second round of awards, a total of 168 Expressions of Interest were received by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. Out of these, four projects were selected. The awardees included Society for Economic and Social Studies, New Delhi; Customized Energy Solutions India, Pune; The Energy & Resources Institute (TERI), New Delhi; and RaghavendraSuntech Systems, Bengaluru.
Stressing on the importance of access to energy for all, U.S. Ambassador Kenneth Ian Juster said that innovation in off-grid (standalone) and clean energy will improve energy access. MNRE secretary Anand Kumar appreciated the impact that the awarded projects would have on the common man. He also suggested that innovation realized through such projects could be replicated in other developing countries.
Off-grid solar: Market potential
According to a GOGLA supported study, the annual sales volume of distributed standalone solar products in India is Rs 38,594 million (US$ 576 million). This includes both government-driven (subsidy based) sales and private sales. The private driven segment is worth Rs 6,839 million (US$ 102 million), which is expected to grow at a rate of 8% over the next five years and has the potential to have an accelerated growth of 17% per annum. The value of this segment alone is 0.5% of the Indian consumer durable market.
“India, with its huge local market and strong manufacturing capabilities, has the potential to become the global market leader for distributed standalone solar solutions by leading the way in technology, as well as business innovations in the sector. There is also massive potential for local manufacturing and exporting to the rest of the world,” Viraj Gada, GOGLA’s India regional representative told pv magazine.