R.K. Jain has had a long innings in the solar industry, beginning as an electrical and power electronics systems engineer at JK Industries. He later moved to Central Electronics Limited, a CPSU under the Ministry of Science and Technology, where he contributed to the development of a large number of solar PV-based applications including lights, pumps, battery charging systems and solar plants. He was also involved in system design and engineering, and was eventually responsible for the concept-to-commissioning of solar power plants. During his tenure with the company, he was responsible for commissioning the first commercial grid-tied solar power plant in India, a 15 kW plant at Kayathar in 1994, and the first integrated solar power plant, a 25 kW project in 2002.
He is currently additional general manager, solar energy, with the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), where he has been closely involved in the designing and engineering of solar power plants, project execution and policy-related matters for off-grid and grid-tied solar PV plants. He has been involved in various government schemes for rooftop solar, including a dedicated 50 MW RESCO scheme for the CPWD, which covers key government buildings owned/maintained by it.
In his view, the 175 GW renewable energy target is very challenging and the country is not geared up to meet it. There is a lack of uniformity in the policies and programmes of state utilities. Although many states have announced solar policies and come out with net metering policies, the implementation process remains convoluted. The main reason for this is that the efforts of all stakeholders are not in unison. The discoms fail to recognise the difference between synchronisation for captive use and evacuation for commercial use, and hence are reluctant to issue NOCs to captive users. Moreover, despite more than 30 years of experience in the solar segment, India lacks the technological capability to manufacture solar conditioners and is still dependent on imports. Although India has centres of excellence in solar energy, these are yet to deliver in terms of technology and capacity building.
An electronics and computer engineering graduate from MBM Engineering College, Jodhpur, Jain also has a diploma in production management and an MBA in marketing. He enjoys spending his spare time with his family, which has been a constant source of strength and motivation for him.