Room for UK companies to bring intelligent grid systems and rooftop PV to India

With a target to provide 24/7 electricity across India by 2019, prime minister Narendra Modi and his energy minister Piyush Goyal have put energy on top of the agenda for the subcontinent. While this requires a vast increase in coal-fired power production, it comes with the enormous ambition of installing 100GW of solar by 2022, up from just 4GW today. Commentators recently praised India for its INDC, submitted ahead of the COP21 Climate Conference in Paris, aiming to hit 40% of its energy from alternative sources by 2030, but this is by no means an outright domestic task. Government movements make it clear that foreign investment and expertise is a critical part of the strategy.

UK companies planning to enter India need to know that there are unique issues in the Indian solar market, such as notoriously difficult land acquisitions and foreign exchange risks with the Indian rupee depreciating against the dollar.

Steve Toogood, director of the UK India Business Council (UKIBC), which helps connect UK businesses and investors with partners within India, says it is a “complex market” with the high cost of procurement and the standard cost of electricity coming down, however, the new Indian government is rapidly deregulating and opening up access for foreign investment.

Toogood, who will be speaking at the Solar Energy UK 2015 event next week, adds: “You have to make relationships and look to invest for the long-term in India. You also need to understand the path of old regulations.”

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