Below are the excerpts of our recent interview with Mr. Kamal Maheshwari, President-Business Development, Essel Infra
Let’s start with the recent developments at your organisation in last one year.
We have increased our portfolio during the year and has reached 685 MW now. With large size new projects of 240 MW in Orissa and 160 MW in UP, we have emerged as the biggest Solar PV developer in these two states. We have also seen investments from equity investors in our portfolio during the year..
As a developer, what key challenges do you face today?
Land acquisition and power evacuation are the major challenges that we are facing today. While Government has taken several measures to reduce the counterparty risk; delayed payments from DISCOMS puts a strain on the cash flow and thereby, the equity returns.
Which states do you believe lead see maximum solar energy investments this year?
The states with progressive solar policies and reduced counterparty risk from DISCOMs are likely to see maximum investments. MP, AP, Karnataka, Gujarat and Rajasthan should see good interests from developers this year.
As the assets become older, will aggres- sive bidding today become a pain point for the industry a few years down the line?
The aggressive bidding in the recent past has worked out well due to the commensurate decline in Capex. The assets that are being installed today by the leading developers are of good quality and the performance should be as per expectation. However, there is no denying the fact that aggressive bidding will lead to reduced equity returns for the nascent sector.
What are the milestones you wish to achieve by the end of this fiscal?
We plan to have a portfolio size of 2GW by FY18 in line with the Green Energy Commitment made to PM Sh. Modi.
Anything else you would like to add for our readers.
Solar is on a definitive path to become the cheapest source of energy in India and worldwide and we as a company are proud to play an important role in fulfilling India’s clean energy goals.