Industry Analysis

Solar PV installation: Opportunities in abundance

An overview of solar PV installation industry in India highlighting the achievements of domestic players in the global arena.

Owing to the favourable government policies, India has now emerged as the 3rd largest market for solar power in the world. The solar PV installation arena is filled with established as well as new players. “While projects have already been embarked upon, it is need of the hour to incorporate global practices in terms of engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services for any project,” comments Krishnan Rajagopalan, Head – Solar Business, Anchor Electricals Pvt Ltd.

HIT is a Panasonic patented technology that is now introduced in India through Anchor Electricals. In a short span of just under two years more than 20 MW of HIT solar PV modules have been installed across solar projects in the country, informs Rajagopalan.

Jyotitech Solar is having 30 MW per annum capacity with state-of-the-art module manufacturing facility at Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra which will be expanded to 100 MW in the times to come to cater to customers beyond Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand and Maharashtra. “We see immense potential for further growth given the ambitious plans of increase in solar PV installations and reduced tariff per kwh. Jyotitech solar foresees a tremendous growth to its manufacturing business due to its quality, competitive pricing, and satisfied customer base,” says Shailesh Patni, Head (Sales & Marketing), Jyotitech Solar LLP.

Sterling and Wilson, one of the dominant global forces in the solar PV space, has bagged turnkey EPC along with O&M contract for the world’s largest single location solar PV plant in Sweihan, Abu Dhabi. The project will deliver a capacity of 1177 MWp, easily surpassing the current largest 850 MWp single location plant in China.
With construction already underway, the prodigious plant, which is spread over a desert area of 7.8 sq. km, is scheduled to be fully integrated with the grid in a record timeline of just 23 months. To top it all, the project was awarded at the lowest ever recorded bid in the history of PV solar.

The plant is jointly developed by Marubeni, a Japanese integrated trading and investment giant, along with Jinko, a global major in the solar industry, and Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA). The consortium has successfully bid a tariff of $ 2.42 cents per kilowatt hour, marking the lowest cost ever for solar power.

Laying emphasis on the need to be competitive, Bikesh Ogra, President – Renewable Energy, Sterling and Wilson said, “The strongest contributor to this tariff is the capital expense driven by lower equipment cost and a highly efficient system design. Our unique design offerings and state-of-the-art robotics optimises the yield and performance of the plant.”

Though the solar PV installation industry has grown remarkable growth during the past few years, there exist some grey areas that need immediate attention. Uday Doshi, Founder, Excelsior Engineering Solutions points out a few of such pain points for the industry. He said, “Although the government training is being given out to personnel, there is a lack of trained hands with adequate on-site work experience to skilfully handle large-scale installations. With numerous local contractors jumping into the market, hasty installations are being carried out to match short deadlines. The quality of work being carried out at such sites is largely questionable. There is no established agency or regulatory body to verify design implementation at site or adherence to applicable IS codes, enabling contractors to exploit this grey area.”

The sheer scale of solar projects, has given rise to a self-sustaining employment chain right from the grass root level with its mammoth requirement of labour from different levels of skill. This has generated employment for thousands across the country, both for qualified professionals as well as skilled technicians and this is further expected to grow in the coming years. “Once considered as an upcoming sector, solar is steadily becoming a well-established energy industry at par and superseding established energy industries as well as its renewable counterparts,” assures Doshi.

Over the past 5 years, Sterling and Wilson has shown exceptional growth; with operations all over the globe, as well as an expansion in its range of services, the company’s turnover has shown an extremely positive growth. From a turnover of ` 1,760 crore in 2012, Sterling and Wilson group crossed a turnover of ` 6,000 crore last year as is likely to exceed ` 10,000 crore in the year ended March 2018. From being a predominantly India focussed company in 2010, Sterling and Wilson now operates across the Middle East, Africa, Australia and Europe. In the current year, the company plans to expand to the USA and South America.

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