SECI Mulls Offering Round-the-Clock Renewable Power Supply to C&I Segment

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The commercial and industrial (C&I) segment is looking at round-the-clock power to make the transition to renewables, an area where the government-owned Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) can provide immediate solutions when compared with the traditional developers catering to the segment, Ajay Kumar Sinha AGM, SECI said at the recent Mercom India C&I Clean Energy Meet in Ahmedabad.

He added that SECI has been discussing the requirement of C&I consumers and would develop an offering soon based on the feedback from the industry.

Sinha was a panelist in a discussion on ‘Clean Power Purchase – Options and Technologies, Maximizing ROI’

Here are some excerpts from his responses during the discussion –

What are the savings and additional benefits for businesses in adopting renewables? 

Across India, the C&I segment opts to go green and save 15-30% on their energy bill depending on the regulation in specific states.

Although the amount of savings would vary from state to state, the economic proposition is compelling irrespective of the business’ location.

Additionally, the banking of energy is a very big enabler given the intermittency of solar and wind. If a business can move the banked energy from one month to the next, and utilize it whenever there is a shortage, it would make a huge difference in savings.

The bottom line is that business saves money by buying power from one of the green energy sources.

Does the C&I segment, especially the smaller entities, lack awareness about going green?

There is a lack of understanding among the commercial and industrial segments about the process, business models, and financial and other added benefits of going green. Retail electricity is not their area of expertise as these industries are focused on their core competency and businesses. It makes renewable energy a grey area for them.

Despite not fully understanding the sector, they realize that it is important to make the transition.

Awareness is crucial for utilizing various options for renewable adoption that are available in the market.

The C&I segment isn’t a traditional customer base for SECI. So, in what ways can it help them?

The interest from C&I has been very encouraging and it will take some time before SECI arrives at a clear product. It won’t be one solution to fit all as different consumers have different requirements.

Initially, the focus for SECI was on supplying renewable energy power to the power distribution companies (DISCOMs) and they used to supply it to the consumers. But today we are directly looking into addressing the concerns of the C&I sector.

SECI began with solar, but now it deals with any form of renewable energy whether it is battery storage, wind, hybrid, electric vehicle, and round-the-clock (RTC) power.

Can you share the feedback you received from the C&I segment?

SECI’s first interaction was in 2019 and in its experience, it was found that most industries basically wanted RTC power from renewables, which was not available then.

But now SECI has that product, and by and large, it is stable now. The implications are known and SECI is in a position to offer the same to the industry.

So, SECI started this engagement once again and it has got various queries from the industry and is in dialogue with the sector. Currently, it is in dialogue with over 250 consumers to understand the specifics of their energy transition path.

Has the demand for renewable power changed post-Covid? 

The power demand for the third quarter of 2022 went up by almost 19% year-on-year.

Even with the target of 450 GW by 2030, solar capacity of 30-35 GW per year should be added, and probably 20 GW of wind per year.

SECI’s efforts in this segment will go a long way in providing impetus to the government’s push to promote renewables. The industry should try and utilize the various benefits that the government provides to make the transition.

Mercom India’s industry events aim to offer deep market insights that help executives make informed and data-driven decisions.

Additionally, core insights from our events are now made available in our C&I series.

Read how power cost savings can cover EMIs for Rooftop Solar or how one can achieve 100% financing for RTS from SIDBI at reasonable rates.

Mercom India will host the ‘C&I Clean Energy Meet’ series across major cities in the country in 2023.