Renewable Opportunities: Jobs in the Wind Energy Sector in India (Episode 3)

Author: Dr. Rupak Banerjee

In the past, I have written about the scope of opportunities in the renewable energy sector, and the specific opportunities in Solar Energy. In this post, let’s take a look into the opportunities that Wind Energy provides us with.

According to Dr. S Gomathiayagam of the National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE), Chennai, India has the potential for wind power installation of 48 GW, mostly focused in the south and western parts of the country (Gujarat, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu taking the biggest shares of the pie). However, this estimate has been arrived at assuming 50-meter-high wind turbines. Over the past 20 years, the height of the wind turbine has continued to grow, primarily driven by new engineering designs and the economic benefit of fewer taller towers compared to larger number of shorter towers, as detailed in this article in Renewable Energy World. Fewer towers not only means less towers to buy, but also smaller land requirements, lower maintenance costs, and less service road construction. In a country with a high population density as India, the reduced land requirement can be a big selling point. Therefore, it is better to strive for the taller, more economic wind turbines. For 80-meter-high wind turbines, the potential for wind power installation increases to over 100 GW. Current state-of-the-art wind turbines can reach over 100 meters in height, which is what India should strive for.

   
  
    
  
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  Muppandal wind farm along NH 44 (Credit:   
  
   
  
    
  
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  https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons )

Muppandal wind farm along NH 44 (Credit: http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html or https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

 

Currently, India has an installed wind capacity of 32 GW, providing a large scope for growth. In keeping with this, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy established the National institute of Wind Energy in 1998. With growth, comes an opportunity for new jobs.

Currently, the large wind turbine market is dominated by manufacturers located in China, South Korea, USA, Germany, and India. India has four major manufacturers: Elecon Engineering, RRB Energy Limited, Suzlon, and Inox Wind. They will provide new opportunities in manufacturing, as the growth in wind power generation picks up speed.

As expected, a quick look at the possible job options in Wind Energy reveals good opportunities for Mechanical and Electrical engineers. There is also a demand for chemical engineers and material scientists looking to build robust turbines which can sustain in harsh environments. These turbines are exposed to the whims and fancies of weather, and therefore, need to be designed to sustain under extreme conditions and corrosive environment. For engineers with Electronics or Computer systems background, integrating wind power into the grid requires modulating the changes in the power generation.

A great way to figure out what kind of jobs are  available or will come about in the future, is by going through the wind career map by the US – Department of Energy. At the entry level, there are options which range from Meteorological Technician who install, maintain, and decommission meteorological towers and equipment, the conception of the project to the operations stage. In a practical sense, having a Secondary School education should be sufficient to tackle these jobs.

As for any large scale construction project, wind farms are going to generate construction work at the manufacturing sites for these wind turbines, which would require an increase in the vocational as well as diploma programs. If you hold a diploma in any Engineering discipline, increase in wind power generation is going to create more jobs. Highly skilled maintenance staff are going to be in demand, ranging from mechanics, electricians, and plumbers, to help maintain these large scale installations.

There would also be an increase in the need for professionals trained in Environmental Sciences or Earth Sciences, as these projects would need more analysis, not only at the land level but at the height they operate at. Wind farms, like solar projects are deployed over large areas. This increases the need for automation and the utilization of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to monitor and check for maintenance, especially at the height of the turbine towers. So, a background in controls, or in robotics is definitely something to benefit from.

With increased deployment, there will also be an increase in demand for Data Scientists who work on energy modeling, financial modeling, and demand predictions for these intermittent sources of energy. If you feel like playing around with wind data, OpenEI provides free to access datasets that you can hone your skills on.

In the meantime, while you figure out how you want to build a career in wind power in India, here is a great visual tool to play around with, from NREL.

And if you feel like reading some more, check out the following books:

1.    Wind Power Plants and Project Development By Joshua Earnest and Tore Wizelius

2.    Build Your Own Small Wind Power System By Kevin Shea

Big Achievements of Renewable Energy in 2017 – End of Year Roundup

Author: Dr. Rupak Banerjee

This past year (2017) has been a year of achievements for the renewable energies field, both in India and globally. So, I decided to take the opportunity at the end of the year to summarize what the major achievements have been. With global and national achievements come opportunities, which is what this blog is all about. Opportunities in growing fields, and this year has been big on renewable energy. So, without further delay, let’s jump right in.

We will be looking at the achievements of the six big economies in the world and how renewable energy opportunities and achievements have left their mark in these economies. Let’s get right in.

United States

The largest economy in the world saw a change of direction this year. The administration announced that it would pull out of the Paris Accord of 2015. However, there were significant achievements in the world of technology to counter that announcement.

Google, which is one of the larger consumers of electricity, has managed to offset all of its power consumption through renewable energy projects. Although this purchase happens across three continents, Google is currently purchasing a total of over 3 Gigawatt of energy from renewable sources, primarily wind power. Amazon is close behind as the second largest buyer of renewable energy at just over 1.2 Gigawatts.

For the first time, solar and wind combined to provide 10% of all electricity consumption in the US in 2017, with Iowa leading the charge at 37% of total electricity generation. Add in the electricity generation from other renewable sources and the total renewable electricity contribution reached a new high in 2017. These obviously lead to a growth in jobs in renewable energy worldwide.

RE_NY_G1.png

China

The second largest economy in the world is however the largest primary consumer of energy in the world, consuming 23% of the total energy demand. In the past two years, it has also become a leader in the growth, implementation, and R&D in renewable energy. China provided the largest government backed R&D funding for renewable energy research, almost twice as much as the US.

In terms of production, Chinese manufacturers of solar panels have developed a 20% cost advantage compared to US counterparts. They are leveraging their scales of production and domestic demand to generate a cost advantage like no other country has been able to provide as of now. In a big shout out to the gains it has made in solar technology and pricing, China announced at the close of December 2017, that they have just opened a 1 km stretch of solar road. This 1 km stretch will be able to produce 1 million kilowatt hours of energy annually. If successful, this can offset the space requirements of large solar farms as China continues to expand on major infrastructure projects.

With the US government taking a step back in terms of leading renewable energy projects, China has taken on the reins and is showing the world what a world led by China can achieve. It is currently home to the largest capacities for hydroelectric power generation, solar and wind generation. It is adding renewables at a faster rate than any other country in the world and bringing down costs at the same time.

Japan

The big Japan story is to come in 2020. Japan has promised to showcase a hydrogen economy at the next Olympics scheduled to be hosted in Japan. It is a large technological giant with a huge appetite for energy consumption, and it plans to hold its own when it comes to renewable energy. While most companies around the world are still banking mostly on batteries for their energy storage, most Japanese companies are keeping Hydrogen as their primary target for portable energy storage solutions.

In 2011, Japan had an installed capacity of 48 GigaWatts of power generation coming from Nuclear power, accounting for a whopping 30% of their total electricity generation. However, after the accidents in 2011, they have given a special impetus on transitioning to renewable sources of energy to maintain a lower carbon footprint and manage their fuel imports. Their key contribution lies in the innovativeness in which they are utilizing existing locations, structures and landscapes to incorporate solar and wind farms. Of note is Toshiba which recently announced that combining all the wind turbines it has produced to date would provide a generation capacity of over 200 GW. Japan has the second largest capacity of solar generation, behind China, with an installed cumulative capacity of 40 GW.

Japan is home to major automakers. Their key contribution to the renewable energy market are the only two hydrogen fuel cell cars currently on sale today, i.e. the Toyota Mirai and the Honda Clarity. Japan and its automakers are taking a slightly different route to electric cars and maybe the bet will pay off in the longer run.

   
  
    
  
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  Solar panels on the sloping side of Kotani Dam, Japan.                                                              Image credit:  www.renewableenergyworld.com

Solar panels on the sloping side of Kotani Dam, Japan.                                                              Image credit: www.renewableenergyworld.com

Germany

As Europe as a whole continues on its path to lowering its carbon footprint and reliance on imported oil, Germany, the largest economy on mainland Europe is leading from the front. However, this is primarily in terms of technology development and R&D. Some of the smaller countries have an advantage here and Germany does not yet break into the top ten European countries in terms of renewable energy deployment. In that regard, Sweden leads the way with almost 54% reliance on renewable energy.

However, 2017 has been good for the renewable energy field in Germany. It managed to generate 85% of its electricity generation from renewable sources on a single day, a new record for the country. However, it definitely needs more of these days.

2017 also saw Germany signing a contract with Alstom (French train manufacturer) to purchase trains running on hydrogen to displace trains that currently run on diesel. The contract was signed after a successful testing of the train earlier this year. A major mode of transport across the world for both goods and people can now see the path to renewables through this act.

 

France

The host of COP 21 where the climate accord was agreed upon, France is the second largest economy of mainland Europe and another stalwart in low carbon economy. In 2017, it only had 3 GW of electricity generation capacity from coal powered plants. Although it has been a big proponent of nuclear energy (73% of its electricity generation came from Nuclear in 2016), it is transitioning rapidly to renewable.

The hydrogen powered train mentioned in the Germany section, was made by Alstom, a French train manufacturer.

France currently has over 17% electricity generation from renewable which is set to grow rapidly as Mr. Macron has given a special focus to climate change research and development.

 

India

At the end of 2016, India overtook Britain as the 6th largest economy in the world. So, let’s take a quick look at the achievements and opportunities in India from the past one year focusing on renewables.

For 2017, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy set lofty goals of over 14 GW of new installed capacity from renewables. As of October, it seems to be on track to meet those goals with over 3.7 GW already installed, and still more than 6 months to go.

India also now boasts of being the 6th in global solar generation capacity and 4th in global wind generation capacity. In terms of wind generation capacity addition, the FY ending in March 2017 saw the achievement overshooting the target for new installation, a first for the renewable energy sector. (mnre.gov.in)

 

Other countries

Some of the other countries of note include Portugal which generated over 95% of its electricity from renewable sources in March 2017, shattering earlier records. In May, it also managed to run 107 hours continuously on electricity generated from renewable only.

Canada has been constantly punching above its weight in terms of renewable energy power and Hydrogenics a company located in Canada was the source of the fuel cells powering the trains made by Alstom and mentioned in the section on Germany.

The UK managed to go a full day without electricity generated from coal power. Compared to the earlier achievements, this doesn’t seem that big, but it is significant as it is the first day since the start of the Industrial revolution that this has been achieved.

December 2017 also saw the activation of a 100 MW battery in Australia. Manufactured by Tesla, it is a major stepping stone towards increased in incorporation of more renewable as the battery allows for greater integration of intermittent generation such as solar and wind to be utilized even during low generation rates.

 

In summary, it has been a good year for renewables. Let’s try to keep the momentum going in 2018.

Decoding GST for Startups - Episode 1

Author: Ruchi Jha

Goods and Service Tax (GST) is surrounded with a lot of enigma since its launch. The new tax regime is going through a teething phase which is expected to settle down in some time. Let us see what GST looks like from the perspective of startups.

What is Goods & Service Tax (‘GST’)?

GST, the biggest Indian tax reform since independence, is a common tax on supply of goods and/or services. Unlike earlier tax regime wherein separate legislations were prevalent for taxing goods and services, GST provides one legislation for taxation of goods and services. It is worth mentioning that more than 40 taxes levied by the Central Government, State Governments and local bodies have been subsumed under GST. Following are the major taxes which have been subsumed under GST:

  • Central Excise Duty
  • Central Sales Tax
  • Service Tax
  • Value Added Tax (VAT)
  • Entry Tax
  • Entertainment Tax

GST is a tax collected on value addition made on goods and services at each stage of sale or purchase (supply) in the supply chain. While majority of earlier taxes were origin based, GST is destination based consumption tax i.e. tax revenue will be available to the destination state where the goods/services are consumed.

With the introduction of GST, Government has emphasised on ease of doing business by keeping uniformity in taxes and reduction in tax cost with focus on eliminating tax cascading.

 Impact of GST on Startups

Start-ups have been grappling with a sea of changes in taxation structure due to introduction of GST. Some of the quintessential impacts are as mentioned below:

  • Under the erstwhile tax regime, the taxpayer was required to register under different tax laws, pay different taxes, and file plethora of returns, while, under GST all such taxes have been replaced by one single tax which has resulted in ease of doing business.
  • GST has helped in removing tax cascading and resulted in reduced cost. Under erstwhile tax regime taxes charged under one legislation were not allowed as input tax credit under different legislation, which resulted in increased cost of the product and double taxation, especially for the start-ups. However, under GST, tax paid on input/input services/capital goods is allowed as credit for payment of tax on output supplies. For the ease of understanding, the impact of GST on cost to the company is tabulated below:
  • Add to the above, the turnover limit for obtaining registration under GST is INR 20 Lakhs (INR 10 Lakhs for north east states), with a few exceptions where the turnover limit of 20 lakhs is not applicable. It is worth mentioning that under erstwhile service tax regime, the assesse was required to register after crossing the turnover of INR 9 lakhs.
  • Government has introduced a scheme called composition levy, which can be opted for by specified suppliers having turnover less than INR 1 crore, to pay 1-5% of tax on supply of goods/services. Under composition scheme, the taxpayer has been given relaxations in relation to filing of return, issue of invoices, payment of taxes etc.
  • Recently, Government came up with compliance relaxation for small taxpayers having turnover less than INR 1.5 crores. While normal suppliers are required to file monthly return, a small supplier will be required to file quarterly return. A big relief for start-ups.
  • In the initial phase of business, while investment are more, revenues are not at par with the investment. The start-ups may not be able to utilise the input tax credit due to lesser output tax and this may have an impact on cash flow and working capital of start-up.

How to be GST Compliant?

Compliance is critical under GST and therefore, Government came up with GST compliance rating which will be given to the assesse basis various parameters like timely payment, return and reconciliation etc. There are industries which would like to see your compliance rating before making any decision on transaction with you. Therefore, it becomes important to be GST compliant not only to avoid any penalty/prosecution under GST Act but also to get more business.

To be GST compliant, once the GST registration number is obtained, the supplier will be required to issue a GST compliant tax invoice for supply of goods/services. A normal supplier needs to file below mentioned returns:

Before filing GSTR-3/GSTR-3B (Summary return to be filed for any period if specifically prescribed by government), the tax liability for the month shall be discharged.

There has been multifold increase in compliance burden for a small business and a normal taxpayer needs to file 37 returns per annum. However, as indicated in last GST council meeting some relaxation in compliance is on the cards.

We will explore composition levy in the next article followed by a guide on filing returns. For a detailed reading on GST, you may refer the following books:

  1. GST Made Easy-Answer to All Your Queries on GST by CA Arpit Haldia

  2. GST made Simple - A Complete Guide to Goods and Service Tax in India by Dr. Awdhesh Singh

The Purpose of Education: Turning Mirrors into Windows

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The enlightening experience of getting oneself educated is an aid to surpass the current horizons that one is living within. Facilitating learning opens up new avenues for an individual and makes him acknowledge various facets of life. Till the time the individual is aloof to the process of learning, any form formal or informal, he doesn’t grasp either the atrocities of his environment or the advantages he can employ for a better future. Little knowledge is a very dangerous thing for any individual, therefore, it is a vital criterion for any education process to impart knowledge of a certain arena without living any voids to be filled. For a developing nation like India, where start-ups are booming at a phenomenal rate in every nook and corner of the country, education is one of the most powerful weapons available. This can grossly better our current position globally. Right from new job opportunities to a decreased level of crime rates, education if blooms well, can decorate the Indian diaspora beautifully with its incredible talent pool. But what are the various ways in which education is an asset to mankind? What are those ways in which it can add to our personality in general? What are those infinite opportunities that education can bring in, to turn us from a mirror with a limited reflection of a window with a world of possibilities in front?

Noble men say, “Children must be taught how to think, not what to think”. Education, thus allows, a person to have a deep sense of the happenings around and gain positive knowledge and a lot of experiences from those and also tap on the available opportunities. Education imparts the ability to look beyond what a person currently believes in. The golden door of freedom of thought is unlocked through learning. These abilities help a person develop a wide range of thoughts on as trivial or as huge a matter be. With amendments in the person’s cognitive abilities, education adds new dimensions of survival to the person’s lifestyle. An educated soul looks beyond processes of eating, sleeping and repeating the same. Education can thus, in a way, be said to hone the raw potential that the individual has and transform his abilities into a groomed reality. Post this, he compares and contrasts his knowledge base with that of the world and leads life for the greater good. Therefore, the detailing in skills that education brings with itself is remarkable in its own ways since it causes humongous levels of self-development in any individual.

Knowledge gain helps in removing the coating of self-obsession from an individual’s personality and makes him more susceptible to continuous improvement. As Apple Inc.’s founder, Steve Jobs has quoted, “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish”, education imparts this hunger in a human being which he cannot overcome unless he shuns relying only on his own reflection. The desire to progress on the path of self-improvement is fueled by the feeling of being non-complacent. This eventually induces the yearn for looking beyond one’s present set of knowledge, skills, and abilities and become a human being more sound, more literate, more complete than what one was the day before.

The process of education fills the voids in one’s knowledge base and along with it imparts the ability to consider the perspective of a wide range of people and not just lead life on the basis of one’s own set of principles and logic. The economic benefit of education is thus surpassed by the understanding that one gains through this holy process. As an example, educating girl child can be considered as an extra cost by a certain section of society but it may be seen as an investment by another. Here the former may anticipate the world of insecurities that may be exposed to the girl in lieu of getting educated. On the other hand, the latter section may expect the girl to grow up to a responsible woman who would not just contribute to the society economically but would also bring up another successful and responsible household. The people holding the former perspective may be drifted towards the latter, if aided with education about the wide range of benefits that girl child education is coupled with.

Firstly, education boosts the human capital inherent in the labor force, which increases their productivity as well as the transitional growth towards equilibrium level of outputs. Secondly and more importantly, education may as well increase the innovation capacity of the economy along with the knowledge capital on new technologies, products, processes, thus promoting growth. Thirdly, education may also facilitate the diffusion and transmission of knowledge which is essential to understand the process and to implement successfully the new technologies devised by others, which again promotes economic growth. According to a recent OECD report, giving every child access to education and the skills needed to participate fully in society would boost GDP by an average 28% per year in lower-income countries and 16% per year in high-income countries for the next 80 years. According to the International Labor Organization, an additional 280 million jobs are going to be sought after by 2019. Therefore, it is vital for policymakers to ensure that the right frameworks and incentives are established so that those jobs can be created and filled. Robust education systems – underpinned by qualified, professionally trained, motivated, and well-supported teachers – will be the cornerstone of this effort.

Weighing the pros and cons of the process and the repercussions of knowledge gain, the conclusion is that education clears the loopholes in one’s personality and prepares the person for facing the world with greater grit and confidence. It helps one project a stronger image of oneself to the world and also debars from holding on to a one-dimensional trajectory towards everything.  Education is thus the backbone of an individual’s personality.  If a person has the power to read and write, he has the power to conquer world’s biggest battles.  The very many obstacles that we come across in our daily life can be dealt with, more fiercely and gracefully, when one gives up ignorance and dedicates himself towards the bliss of knowledge. The latent talent of an individual is eventually glittered by education and it completes the person in its true essence. Education brings along with it the sheer pleasure of living with the other being in more co-ordination and makes life more livable for the community as a whole.

To read more on education, here are some reference books:

1. I am Malala By Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb

2. The Rise of India in the Global Economy: Technology·Infrastructure·Education·Services By Peter Lowe

3. Value Education and Social Transformation By Naina Sharma

Exploring Investment: Why should you invest? (Episode 1)

Author: Shubhang Agrawal

India Inc., as we all know, has grown at a breathtaking pace in the past two decades. Each year a plethora of global brands are setting shops in India. Some might argue that a huge impetus to our growth story is being provided by the consumerization mindset. However lucrative this seems, India traditionally has had a ‘saving’ mindset, a concept not so prevalent in the west.

This article stems from the multiple conversations we have had with budding entrepreneurs and students who are enamored by the idea of flashy consumerization as seen in western economies. While this has its advantages, not saving or investing enough might have disastrous consequences owing to social security constraints in India. But this still does not answer the question: Why Invest!

Simply put, investing is a tool for building wealth; it is an act of committing money or capital to an endeavour with the expectation of obtaining an additional income or profit.
Legendary investor Warren Buffett defines investing as “… the process of laying out money now to receive more money in the future”. The goal of investing is to put your money to work in one or more types of investment vehicles in the hope of growing your money over time.

Although spending is easy and provides instant gratification, it is essential to inculcate discipline while saving and prioritizing the way our money should be put to use. Anyone who has ever talked to a financial advisor, would have heard the words saving and investment used interchangeably. But obviously, one could not be more wrong in assuming investing is equal to saving.

Fun trivia: 100 rupees earned 30 years ago will provide groceries worth only 14 rupees now! Money stashed inside pillows, aside of raising IT suspicion, will depreciate in value too! Not the best way to save money and neither do banks with an interest of 4% help. That’s when investment instruments help by increasing our money over a period of time. There are different types of investment instruments, but will detail them out in our subsequent blogs.

I always thought that it would be nice if I could enjoy life now and stash money for future later. Of course I will earn more as I grey! (Hopefully!!) To compound, things I was always bad at Math. Neither was I good with finance as I grew up. I didn’t understand time value of money and the power of compounding! Too technical, but I promise this is the last time I’m using these words in this article. Without being too technical, what I mean is, neither did I understand that money loses value over time nor did I know that invested money grows exponentially over time. In a nutshell, money loses value over time due to inflation and invested money grows because the earnings on the investment also earn interest with the passage of time.

Let me break my promise for the first and last time. I’ll put in some Math and Finance to illustrate my point.

Of course we understand Math; Also Latin! FV = PV x (1 + ( i / n)) ^ (n x t)

Where:
FV = future value
PV = present value
i = the annual interest rate
n = the number of compounding periods per year
t = the number of years

Given this formula, assuming an investment of Rs. 10000, with a nominal return of 10%, the investment would grow to about 27000 in 10 years. Definitely beating inflation! Assuming if I had to earn Rs 27000 after 10 years and had I invested after 8 years, I would have had to invest an amount greater than 20000!

The power of compounding far exceeds the pace at which salaries grow in India and with greying; money will not be growing if proper financial planning is not done. Hence the best time to start investing is now and budding entrepreneurs and students should be financial planning (& tech) savvy for a better future.

To sum up, it is important to invest because we want to:

1.     Grow Money

2.     Retire Early (We all want this! I’m certainly not an exception here)

3.     Reaching financial goals

4.     Growing our business

5.     Supporting family & friends

Stay tuned; in our next article we will discuss the various avenues available for investing and their pros and cons.

If you want to read more, here is a book suggestion:

The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham

Renewable Opportunities: Jobs in Solar Energy Sector in India (Episode 2)

Author: Dr. Rupak Banerjee

Let’s pick up where we left off last time. The 6th largest economy in the world is currently growing at a rate of 6 – 7% annually. This in itself presents a huge opportunity to create new jobs. Add the prospect of a whole new industry opening up, and the results are lots of new jobs further feeding a strong economy. With its strong commitment to transitioning to a low carbon economy, India has in fact created the opportunity to create numerous new jobs.

Of the 326 GW of power being currently generated in India, 17.7% (57.7 GW) comes from renewable sources. Wind (power) contributes the largest to this mix, with a total production of 32 GW of power, followed closely by solar at over 12 GW of power. With the transition to a low carbon economy, and in keeping with the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), India has a target of getting to 60 GW of Wind and 100 GW of Solar. Considering that these are the two biggest growth areas, let’s take a look at the job opportunities that this growth in renewables presents us with.

A good case study to look at while understanding solar jobs is the US. In 2016, 2% of all new jobs were created in the solar sector. In the same year, India’s labor force grew by 11 million (worldbank.org). A similar growth (although ambitious) would result in 220 thousand new jobs in solar alone. Is that a number we can afford to ignore?

India currently has 9 National Power Training Institutes (NPTI) spread out across the country. The locations of each are given here. Over the past 50 years of their existence, the NPTI has trained over 140,000 personnel. This includes MBAs in Power Management, Engineers specializing in Power Engineering as well as a variety of Post Graduate Diploma. However, with the possibility of 220,000 new jobs every year, in the Solar power sector alone, it is imperative for India to invest more in its training institutes. There is a well-established spread of Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) across the country, 23 in total, which need to create more programs in power engineering with specializations in solar and wind energy.

It is important to keep in mind that this growth is not in the future but is here already. India is currently home to the largest solar plant, at Kamuthi, Tamil Nadu, producing 550 MW. The jobs that this industry is bringing with it, are new and exciting. They are also well paying technical jobs, helping to boost the middle class economy.

   
  
    
  
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   Solar power plant at Kamuthi, Tamil Nadu (Photo Credit:    
  
   
  
    
  
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   Aljazeera  )

Solar power plant at Kamuthi, Tamil Nadu (Photo Credit: Aljazeera)

So what kind of jobs are we talking about. A quick search on job portals brings designations such as Business development manager (Solar), Energy analysts, energy consultants, energy engineers, solar engineers, and project officers to the forefront. You can of course tweak the search with your qualifications to see what you would qualify for specifically. Scrolling through the qualifications being sought highlights business skills, electrical engineering, power engineering, project management, and sales. In addition, there is also a growing demand in financial modeling of energy assets. Getting a foundational understanding of national and international legal challenges in energy trading, balancing both WTO norms with Climate Change demands, will also go a long way.

Although, electrical and power engineering steal the thunder in the changing jobs environment, the solar array in Kamuthi (shown above) has to be cleaned every day. This is done using robots, bringing in automation engineers, coupled with mechanical and computer scientists. These also would require highly skilled maintenance staff, which would further fuel the need for technicians with advanced diplomas as well as engineers leading these projects as well as facilitating their upkeep. There is a growing number of solar tech companies (Saurya EnerTech, Tata Solar Power, and Vikram Solar to name just a few) that are also coming in to the forefront and new graduates should keep them in mind.

In conversations about manufacturing for solar, China often steals the limelight. However, there are several manufacturers based in India, who are accelerating their production, resulting in manufacturing jobs. Indosolar, Vikram Solar, and the Waaree Group come to mind. They are manufacturing their solar panels in India providing carbon free energy and also creating jobs. As students seek admission into Colleges and Universities, they should keep in mind that the job market is shifting at a rapid pace and therefore, selecting courses and majors should be done keeping the future in mind.

Increased solar contribution to the grid also means greater fluctuations in energy production. These have to be met with improved control systems and automation in the energy production. This is only a small glimpse into the diversity of the job market that is developing as a result of the Paris Climate Accord and the resulting shift to a carbon free energy. Everyone has a role to play. From my research into solar jobs in India and how the job market is moving, it is evident that whatever you have trained in, you are probably going to be valuable in the new low carbon economy. So, whenever you are thinking of changing jobs, make sure to take a look at opportunities in Solar and more generally in renewable energy. The sector is booming and more people are needed to make the transition possible and profitable.

Here are some reference books for you to delve into:

  1. The Solar Sales Leap: Stop Knocking on Doors, Cold Calling, and Buying Leads and Start Using the Internet to Grow Your Solar Energy Business for the Long Term By Erik Curren
  2. Top 40 Costly Mistakes Solar Newbies Make: Your Smart Guide to Solar Powered Home and Business By Lacho Pop and Dimi Avram

Renewable Opportunities: Scope of Renewable Energy in India for Jobs & Entrepreneurship (Episode 1)

Author: Dr. Rupak Banerjee

Fortune estimates that new jobs in solar and wind power have been growing 12 times faster than average new job creation in the US. Similar trends are expected in China and India as jobs in renewable energy pick up. In a series of blog posts, I intend on exploring the opportunities that the low carbon economy will bring to India, and dig deeper into the impact of climate change and climate action on the Indian economy and its young job seekers.

India, with a population of 1.3 billion and counting, is the second most populous country in the world. Even with a meager 1.7 metric ton of Carbon Dioxide emission per year per capita, the sheer size of the population makes it the third largest carbon emitter in the world (epa.gov) contributing 7% of the global emissions. 

India signed the Paris accord in 2015 and with a pledge to cut its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity by 33 – 35% by the year 2030 in comparison to its GHG emissions of 2005. This is a very ambitious plan considering that India still has over 200 million people (1/6th of the population) living without reliable access to electricity (Source: www.nrdc.org). With an economy projected to grow at 6 – 7% annually, India’s quest for energy is not likely to slow down.

India is the seventh largest economy by nominal GDP while it ranks at 141st in nominal GDP per capita. With the economy growing and more people emerging from poverty, the expectations of lifestyle and standard of living will continue to march on. An improved lifestyle and higher standard of living result in higher consumption of electrical power, greater reliance on transportation which all lead to increase in GHG emissions. As China grew its GDP through the 1990s – 2010s, its GHG emissions grew threefold (see figure). Similar changes have been seen through post-industrialization history with most countries.

As India’s economy and GDP grow, similar growth in Carbon Dioxide emissions are expected. This is what makes the Indian pledge to the Paris climate accord so important. In a future post, I will discuss why it is so important for India to pledge big against climate change. For now, it is interesting to note that Climate Action Tracker  rates India’s pledge and strategy among the few countries who are on track for limiting the global warming to a maximum of 2°C.

Step two, we need to understand the scale of the problem. India had a total installed capacity of 1.3 GW of electrical power generation in 1947 at the time of independence. In the past 70 years, it has grown by 250 times to reach a total installed capacity of 326.8 GW. To put this in perspective, the United States currently has an installed capacity of 1064 GW while China has over 1500 GW, and continues to grow. India’s capacity is definitely going to increase as more villages are electrified, more people purchase more electrical appliances and the quality of life increases. The Government of India’s (GoI) Ministry of Power reports that of the 326 GW of electrical power being generated in India, 17.7% comes from renewable sources, with an additional 13.6% from hydroelectric and 2.1% from nuclear. That amounts to over 30% of the electricity generation is already free of carbon emissions.

Let’s switch gears. Now that we know what the pledge is for the Paris accord, let us evaluate what strategy India is pursuing. First, let us look at the wording of the pledge. India has pledged to cut its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity by 33 – 35% by the year 2030 in comparison to its GHG emissions of 2005. The keyword is intensity. The emissions are not going to be going down by 2030, but the rate of change will be slower. The graph shows makes it easier to understand.

Screen Shot 2017-10-10 at 8.42.07 AM.png

The second part of the pledge is to achieve 40% cumulative electrical power capacity from non-fossil fuel sources. We are already over the 30% mark for non-fossil fuel sourced electrical generation, but it will become more challenging as India’s thirst for power grows and more capacity is added. The easiest and most reliable capacity addition is through thermal power plants (either fossil fuel or nuclear) as renewable energy can be intermittent and requires equivalent backup in the form of fossil fuel powered plants. As India continues on its path to add more capacity it will be important to add significantly more solar and wind along with nuclear to offset any new thermal power plants coming online.

In line with its pledge for the Paris accord, India has set a target of achieving 100 GW of installed capacity from solar by the year 2022. As of September 2016, India’s installed solar capacity stood at 8 GW. That gives India 6 years to add 92 GW of solar capacity. We are already another 1 year in, leaving 5 more years to achieve the target. Imagine what this means for companies investing in solar power in India and the potential for jobs as more installations come online.

In the next post, I will explore the new jobs that are being created as part of the renewable energy revolution that is currently ready to boom. In the meanwhile, write to me if you have suggestions or if I missed something, or just if you want to say hi. And if you want to read some more about climate action, here are two interesting books to chew on:

  1. What We Think About When We (Try Not to) Think About Global Warming: Toward a New Psychology of Climate Action By Per Espen Stoknes
  2. Local Climate Action Planning By Micheal R. Boswell, Adrienne I. Greve and Tammy L. Seale

The Entrepreneurial Loans of India: MUDRA Yojna & Stand-up India

Author: Alok Shubham

With “start-up” & “entrepreneurship” occupying a significant space in our political and daily discourse, the present dispensation has come up with some schemes to enhance the start-up ecosystem in India. Scheme like Start-up India was introduced to encourage young entrepreneurs by easing the compliance hurdles, whereas, schemes like Mudra Yojna and Stand-up India provide financial assistance. In this article, I would like to demystify the Mudra Yojna and Stand-up India schemes.

MUDRA Yojna: A SIDBI Subsidiary

Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) is a government of India undertaking aimed at promoting entrepreneurship, by providing non-corporate small businesses easy access to credit through MUDRA Loans. Micro Unit Development & Refinance Agency (MUDRA) is a refinancing agency and not a direct financial institution disbursing loans. It is a subsidiary of SIDBI. It acts as a facilitating agency which connects financial lending institutions with applicants eligible to avail the loan. It was announced during the budgetary session of the Parliament in 2016.

Eligibility criteria for Businesses

  • All non-corporate small businesses
  • All non-farming micro businesses that generate income and are in need of monetary aid below or up to INR 10 lakh
  • The eligible firms can be Sole Proprietors, Partnership Firms, Manufacturers, Machinery Businesses (the list is indicative and can include other categories as well)
  • Example/indicative fields of businesses eligible for MUDRA loan: Food Service Units, Truck Operators, Vegetable & Fruit Vendors, Repair Shops, Fashion Store, Artisans, Small Industries, Ford Processing Units, Shopkeepers, Service Sector Units, Potters, Carpentry, RO Water Purifier etc.

Eligibility criteria for Applicants

  •  Minimum 18 years of age
  • A comprehensive Business Plan consisting of the structure, investment plans, nature of product, marketing and future plans.

Participating Lending Institutions

Any of the below mentioned category of institutions can voluntary participate in the MUDRA loan scheme:

  • Public Sector Banks
  • State Co-operative Banks
  • Micro Finance Institutions
  • Non-Banking Financial Companies
  • Regional Rural Banks

Categories & Amount of Loans

How to apply for the loan under MUDRA? 

  • Identify the nearest Bank offering the loan
  • Visit the Branch in person and Submit the loan application with below mentioned documents:
  1. Comprehensive Business Plan
  2. Identity Proof
  3. Address Proof
  4. Passport size photographs

Interest Rates under MUDRA

The rate of interest for the loan would be as per RBI guidelines. The rate would typically vary between 9% - 12% depending on the category of loan and the Bank.

As per the last report, almost all major Banks including State Bank of India, Union Bank of India, Corporation Bank, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank have already enrolled as lending institutions under this scheme.

Any special preference for Women or SC/ST under MUDRA?

When it comes to applicants who are women or belong to special category (SC, ST & OBC), no reservation or specific benefits in terms of loan amount or interest rate has been specified by the government. It has only clarified that Applicants under above mentioned categories would be given preference while disbursing loans under MUDRA scheme. What constitutes ‘preference’, given to such category of applicants has not been defined.

 

Stand-up India

 Stand-up India is a Governement of India initiative aimed at providing financial assistance to women and SC/STs. According to the scheme, a loan in the range of INR 10 lakhs to 1 Crore is provided to at least one SC or ST and at least one woman borrower per bank branch for setting up an enterprise in an undeveloped segment.

The entreprise can be set up in manufacturing, services or trading sector.

In case of non-individual enterprises, the majority and controlling stake (51 percent or more) must be held by the woman or SC/ST entrepreneur.

You may apply for the loan online under Stand-up India scheme.