Financing of Solar Energy Projects in India under JNNSM is proving to be a huge problem for the winners of Phase 1 auction under the federal subsidy scheme.Solar Energy in India has huge potential and attracted a number of companies to the first phase of the government tender under the 2020 plan to install 20 GW of solar energy.Note 620 MW of projects in the 5 MW and above category were awarded to 37 solar companies.Many of these firms had no background and had bid irrationally low to win these projects.With little experience and no established financial infrastructure it was an accident waiting to happen.MNRE offical has revealed that 18 of the companies have failed to achieve financial closure and would probably lose their license by the July 9 deadline.Note most of these bids were irrationally low and would not have made profits.Indian Banks and power financing institutions have refused to lend quite prudently.Note these companies are not putting collateral using their parent company’s assets which means that they too doubt the feasibility of their projects.Only huge penalties will deter future non serious participants as at least half of the solar power capacity won’t get installed in JNNSM Phase 1.It remains to be seen how this affects the future of the Indian Solar Mission.

Huge Solar Panel Projects are being planned in the USA by solar developers and utilities as solar panel prices have fallen by 20-30% in the second quarter of 2011 as solar panel manufacturers are faced with oversupply and inventory issues.Note building both coal and nuclear power plants in the US has become increasingly difficult with pollution and climate change issues coming to the fore.While natural gas is getting a boost due to cheap shale gas discoveries,solar energy is picking up pace due to the government support in the form of DOE Loan guarantees and Treasury Grant programs like 1705.Recently two very large solar panel projects have been announced or are in the process over the next 3-4 years.

Orb Energy a non-profit supplier of off grid solar systems in Southern India has got a million dollars in additional funding from Acumen Fund.Orb Energy supplies solar systems to both residential and commercial customers in 4 states in India Kerala,Maharashtra,Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.It is headquartered in Bangalore and received initial funding from Zouk Ventures.Acumen Fund invests in socially relevant enterprises and has also invested in D.Light which is one of the major producers of LED Solar Lanterns in India.Note Orb Energy in its websites says that it sells around 1000 systems a month and plans to double the size of its operations by increasing the number of branches,employees.Solar System is a massive opportunity as Solar Power in India is set to grow exponentially in the coming years.Note Orb Energy is a system installer and does not manufacture solar panels in India.

Solar Industry Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) have picked up pace in recent times with a number of companies in distress with supply exceeding demand as Italy suddenly changed its solar subsidy policy in April 2011.With high inventory levels and prices crashing only the biggest and best solar panel manufacturers are managing to thrive.Note the Solar PV Industry has not seen too much M&A unlike the Solar Thermal Industry which has always been a hot area for M&A activity as giant industrial groups like Siemens,Areva,Alstom and GE have bought startups to improve their technology offerings.With the Solar PV industry having crossed more than $50 billion mark in 2010,more and more MNC conglomerates have now starting buying solar companies at cheap valuations.Here is a list of the recent buyouts,stake buys and mergers in the Solar PV Industry that have taken place recently.

Solar Energy in India has immense potential due to the massive growing demand of energy in an already deficient country.The Indian government too has realized this and set an ambitious plan of 20 GW by 2020 under JNNSM.Despite teething problems in the first phase of JNNSM,India should manage to grow its solar power capacity by more than 10x in 2011 to 700 MW.According to IREDA which is the main government renewable energy finance $2.2 billion would be invested in 2011 to grow the capacity to 700 MW.Note despite this impressive rise,note solar power in India comprises less than 0.5% of the total installed electricity capacity in the country and the growth comes off almost a non-existent base.

India’s JNNSM on the other hand has seen the first phase marked by a number of teething problems like debt financing,absurdly low bidding by noname companies,poor electricity infrastructure.The Second Phase is supposed to ally these problems but the first plans do not seem to be too great.The support for large solar farms will be increased from the current 5 MW cap to 20-25 MW cap.This will lead to only large investors,utilities and companies being left in the fray and lead to lesser competition.Also there is no support for rooftop solar which will help to broadbase the reach of solar energy.A Policy which helps distributed solar like Germany will do much more to boost solar in the country than supporting massive solar plants that will only help large companies making the most of the taxpayer subsidies.Note Delhi is the only state in India which is giing primacy to rooftop solar systems and is in the process of announcing a capital subsidy soon.The reason may be that Delhi mostly consists of urban homes and they have little option.