Stronger policies needed for cleantech SMEs to actualize India’s transition to clean energy

Posted on
25 June 2020
Report by WWF India and cKinetics provides short, medium and long term recommendations and interventions to drive the boom in clean energy segments

New Delhi: While India is on track to meet its ambitious clean energy targets, new-age clean technology start-ups and SMEs are expected to play an important role in helping the country achieve its goals. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and its resultant lockdown has impacted SMEs and start-ups the most, leaving the sector to seek support from the government through policy reforms in order to bounce back and drive clean energy innovations in the country. 
Clean energy policy landscape in the SME sector’, a new report published by WWF India in association with cKinetics maps the clean energy ecosystem, undertakes a segment-level analysis of the sector to identify individual constraints, and offers policy recommendations to propel the growth of cleantech SMEs in the country. The report delves into six segments, including solar rooftop, electric mobility, energy efficiency, smart energy, waste-to-energy and energy access, that are expected to have a considerable impact across key sectors such as industries, buildings, and transportation. Illustrating 6 sector-specific barriers, and 11 cross-cutting challenges, the report stipulates short, medium and long term recommendations along with interventions to actualize a boom in clean energy segments.
According to the report, while India’s move towards clean energy transition has led to the emergence of various startups and SMEs, there are only a handful of policies that help accelerate the growth of these companies to meet India’s clean energy demands. While almost 140 government interventions focus directly or/and indirectly on clean energy and startups and SMEs, only 38 policies actually target SMEs in the clean energy ecosystem, making it difficult for SMEs to reap the benefits of the provisions. The report also attributes the slow growth of India’s mass transition to clean energy to limited policy support mechanisms for R&D and innovation for clean energy segments
A few of the recommendations mentioned in the report include:
  • Provision to procure at least 20 per cent of capacity (MW procurement target) from SMEs under the DISCOM-led aggregation model in solar-rooftop segment.
  • Ensuring passing on the benefits in implementation of solar rooftops to the residential consumers in terms of 80C benefits
  • Lowering GST slab of energy-efficient appliances and setting targets to procure a percentage of energy efficient goods from SMEs for entities such as EESL.
  • Set up of short-term targets for EV roll-out over a time span that helps in achieving the long-term targets
  • Provisions to procure 10% of compressed bio gas from start-ups (under SATAT)
Speaking about the report, Dr. T S Panwar, Director, Climate Change and Energy Programme, WWF India said, “Policy support can be an important catalyst in accelerating clean energy adoption and scale up.  This report maps the clean energy policy landscape in the SME sector, and provides recommendations that not only benefit the innovators but also help the government in realizing its larger vision for the upliftment of the SME sector in the country.”

The key recommendations laid down in this report, if implemented in the short, medium and long term can galvanize the progress of the six segments of the clean energy sector. The report suggests practical steps to be taken, like credit guarantee and risk-mitigation mechanisms under public financing and augmenting funding under the public sector, CSR, and other avenues that would enable incubators to provide early-stage risk capital to start-ups. It also highlights the need to provide support to new/emerging business models, make provisions of long-term capital and provide clarity on continuity and consistency in policies.

Note to the Editor:
This report is part of an ongoing initiative of WWF-India’s ‘Climate Solver’ programme. Climate Solver is a climate innovations platform by WWF to strengthen the development and widespread use of low carbon technologies developed by startups and SMEs, which radically or transformatively reduce greenhouse gas emissions or provide clean energy access. WWF's Climate Solver platform first began in Sweden in 2008 and launched in India in 2012.Climate Solver India page:
About WWF-India
WWF India is committed to creating and demonstrating practical solutions that help conserve India’s ecosystems and rich biodiversity. Marking 50 years of conservation journey in the country, WWF India works towards finding science-based and sustainable solutions to address challenges at the interface of development and conservation. Today, with over 70 offices across 20 states, WWF India’s work spans across thematic areas including the conservation of key wildlife species and their habitats, management of rivers, wetlands and their ecosystems, climate change adaptation, driving sustainable solutions for business and agriculture, empowering local communities as stewards of conservation, combatting illegal wildlife trade and inspiring students and citizens to take positive action for the environment through outreach and awareness campaigns. WWF India is part of the WWF International Network, with presence in over 100 countries across the globe.
For further details, please contact:  
Rituparna Sengupta | Associate Director, Marketing & Communication | |    011-41504797
Sakshi Gaur| Assistant Manager, Communications-Climate Change and Energy| | 011 – 41504823


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