Indian government pushing 500 solar shops; PVMTI Energy Stores reduce
The government of India is targeting the setup of 500 new solar
shops around the country by March 2007.
New number: A Shri Shakti Energy Store is
only one of eight. The original goal of 300 stores has
been reduced to 125.
The goal is part of the country's 10th Five Year Plan,
formally approved at the end of September, which also foresees an
additional 200 MW of PV production in India (see PI 10/2002, p. 24).
E.V.R. Sastry, solar energy advisor at the Ministry of
Non-Conventional Energy Sources (MNES), says 90 percent of the shops
will be set up by private entrepreneurs and NGOs. Each can receive a
onetime grant equal to about 20 to 25 percent of the cost of starting
a solar business; Sastry did not provide a monetary value. He says
MNES hopes to sanction 50 shops by March, the end of the current
fiscal year; it will take 6 to 12 months to put them into operation
once approved. The remaining shops will be set up directly by the
Sastry does not consider the MNES plan to be competing with a
Photovoltaic Market Transformation Initiative (PVMTI) project to help
the Shri Shakti group open 300 Energy Stores in India (see PI 1/2000,
p. 17). »They are a flop,« he says. »There are nowhere near 300. Only
a handful have been set up.« According to Satya Kumar, managing
director of Shri Shakti Alternatives Energy Ltd. (SSAEL), eight shops
are currently in operation, concentrating on sales of LP gas and PV
consumer electronics products. Kumar says SSAEL has not added solar
home system products to its inventory yet, and is lowering the goal to
125 stores. »But we will meet our PV sales under the [PVMTI] program
several years in advance,« he adds. Kumar declined to give details on
what the original targets were and when they would be met. PVMTI
committed $2.2 million to SSAEL in 1999, including $200,000 for a 26
percent International Finance Corporation equity stake.
© PHOTON International, January 2003