Chennai’s C&I Sector Looks to Adopt Solar to Meet Energy Demand as ROIs Improve

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Mercom India’s recently concluded C&I Clean Energy Meet 2022 in Chennai addressed commercial and industrial (C&I) consumers’ concerns on the viability of solar open access as an alternative energy source. The event brought developers and consumers face-to-face in a wide-ranging conversation on misconceptions, questions, and challenges faced by the C&I entities in Tamil Nadu.

The clean energy meet comes at a time when Chennai consumers are trying to manage energy prices due to the recent tariff hike by the Tamil Nadu government. The retail electricity tariffs for high tension (HT) consumers have increased by 6% and, in some cases, even 18%.

Some of the key takeaways from the Clean Energy Meet included the environmental benefits of going green, open-access solutions in the current regulatory framework, and the best ways to finance clean energy. One of the many themes addressed at the event was the importance of fast decision-making in adopting solar.

“The decision to go solar should be made today to reap benefits immediately, as the prices keep going up every day. Consumers who made the switch a few years ago have already managed to get the return on investments,” says Manikkan Sangameswaran, ED and CEO of Radiance Renewables, an expert panelist.

Another expert panelist, Prashant Choubey, President – HR & BD, Avaada Group, added, “speed, solution, sustainability, and savings are four big benefits that one C&I consumer gets from open access.”

Karthikeyan V, Head of Business Development (Rooftop Solar) at Tata Power Solar, spoke about the advantages of installing rooftop solar systems. He said, “Rooftop helps give more control as it is on-site; also, the ROI starts showing up in just a matter of a few months.”

Investing in clean energy continues to be the challenge holding back consumers today. The experts at the meeting discussed options under the CAPEX and OPEX model available for consumers to transition seamlessly to clean energy.

The renewable transition rush is primarily driven by energy savings along with the renewable percentage clause put forth by most companies in India and abroad for all their working partners.

“For industries to make the switch, the existing misconceptions and misinformation must go away. The clean energy meet organized by Mercom India has certainly helped close that gap. With more and more people moving towards sustainability, they also must conserve energy and then transition. We have learned a lot of new information through these sessions, which will drive more customers to invest in clean energy,” said Dr. P Dharmalingam, Executive Director of EnSave Consultancy and Training, one of the attendees at the event.

Addressing the concerns around the capital for such projects, Anburaj C, DGM, SIDBI (Small Industries Development Bank of India), said, “SIDBI has launched various lucrative initiatives, especially for companies making the switch to clean energy, with interest rates as low as 6.4% to 7% for loan amounts up to ₹50 million (~$608,706).”

Talking about the benefits of the C&I consumers transitioning to renewables on the electricity market, Ramakrishnan Subramanian, Head of Business Development, Vibrant Energy, added, “With VPP distribution system, energy resources help enhance power generation, as well as trading or selling power on the electricity market.”

Given the ease and savings, there is a growing interest among corporates to shift toward renewables. The yearly increase in retail tariffs compared with a long-term contract of clean energy at a fixed price through open access is a benefit most industries are slowly realizing. The event was hosted on October 14, 2022, with the renewable energy sector experts alongside moderators from Mercom India to create awareness of the economic and other intangible benefits of going green.

The C&I Clean Energy meet series organized by Mercom India this year has covered various cities across the country, providing a platform to spread awareness on the benefits of the renewable energy transition for local C&I consumers.

The event attracted C&I entities from various sectors, including manufacturing, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and automobiles.

Mercom India events offer deep market insights that help executives make informed, data-driven decisions, along with helping make the government’s goal of installing 280 GW of solar by 2030 a reality.

Continuing the success of clean energy meets, Mercom is hosting the next two events in Ahmedabad and Noida.