Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Solar energy: Russia sees huge potential for joint ventures

Aerial view of the solar panels in Chennai. Russia keen to assist Indian firms to construct solar power stations. They are also planning to enter into series of MoUs with Indian partners. File Photo: S. Thanthoni

Russia keen to assist Indian firms to construct solar power stations. They are also planning to enter into series of MoUs (1) with Indian partners

Lauding the major renewable energy initiative of Jawaharlal Nehru Solar Mission, Russia on Tuesday expressed strong confidence that both New Delhi and Moscow had great potential for forging joint ventures and setting up manufacturing facilities for application of solar energy in the fields of industrial, military, civil and space sectors.

“In our opinion, India has adopted a very right approach in renewable energy. This is a very interesting and really ambitious programme and if implemented fully would put India among the world leaders in application of solar energy and its components,” said Sergey V. Seredin, First Deputy Director General (Economics and Finance) Open Joint Stock Company, Research, Production Enterprise ‘Kavant’ told The Hindu during this visit to New Delhi to take part in the conference on Solar Energy Mission.

Mr. Seredin said the Russian side was very much interested to participate in the solar mission programme and was ready to assist India and Indian companies to construct solar power stations on a turnkey basis as they had advanced technological knowhow in this field.

“We are open to forging joint ventures and also set up manufacturing facilities in India and Russia for solar energy components for industrial and other use, including supply of solar cells, modules or other such applications. We see huge prospects for joint ventures with India,” he added.

Mr. Seredin, accompanied by his associate, Sergey Dyachev, who is also part of the Russian delegation, said the company was planning to enter into a series of memorada of understanding (MoUs) with Indian partners as well as the Government agencies for providing them with solar power station technology and its installation.

Explaining further, he said that till now photovoltic panels (PV) technology was used only for space applications but now it was being adopted for industrial use as space technology had moved from silicon expertise to more advanced multi-layer and multi-junction structures.

“We are pioneers of new technology and we are working today on space technologies that could be used for industrial use in multiple applications,” he added.

Mr. Seredin said they were also part of the ambitious Brahmos missile project being implemented by India as they were supplying some components for this system.

“Our opinion is that this experience should be spread further to other fields. It would be a good solution to various issues and this could also involve production of solar panels in Russia or India. Such a work plan would be economically profitable for both the parties as production of solar components and cells requires huge consumption as large volumes, like the market in India, could bring down cost of solar energy,” he said.

Stating that energy was less costly in Russia, Mr. Seredin said volumes in India could bring down prices significantly in the coming years.

“All over the world there is tendency to reduce the price of each watt of installed solar power and this process is likely to continue. We are looking at new technologies to increase efficiency and reduce price levels. We are ready to transfer to India and our partners here the latest technology.

“The policy of the Indian Government in terms of solar energy production like fixed tariffs, guaranteed returns offered to buy electrical power produced by solar energy means is good. Without such support, it would be difficult to initiate business opportunities for the production of expensive electrical power,” he said.

The Hindu

1 - MoU - A memorandum of understanding (MOU or MoU) is a document describing a bilateral or multilateral agreement between parties. It expresses a convergence of will between the parties, indicating an intended common line of action. It is often used in cases where parties either do not imply a legal commitment or in situations where the parties cannot create a legally enforceable agreement. It is a more formal alternative to a gentlemen's agreement.

In some cases, depending on the exact wording, MoUs can have the binding power of a contract; as a matter of law, contracts do not need to be labeled as such to be legally binding. Whether or not a document constitutes a binding contract depends only on the presence or absence of well-defined legal elements in the text proper of the document (the so-called "four corners"). For example, a binding contract typically must contain mutual consideration—a legally enforceable obligations of the parties, and its formation must take place free of the so-called real defenses to contract formation (fraud, duress, lack of age or mental capacity, etc.).

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