Interview

It’s time to ‘renew’ energy

Renewable energy is required to boost India’s current energy generation capacity if we are to go toe-to-toe with countries that dominate global industries.
Joy Saxena, Executive Director – Finance, Vikram Solar
  In 2006, when Vikram Solar was established, solar sector in India was at its infancy and there weren’t many opportunities around in the country. The government support, flurry of policies, supportive incentives, and industrial development opportunities that it sees today, didn’t exist back in the day.
But, the company trusted the growing global acceptance of solar energy and stood firm upholding the dream of becoming a trustworthy name in solar industry. Vikram Solar, carrying forward the rich legacy and extensive manufacturing experience of the Vikram Group stepped in a new industry to make a difference. Vikram team executed innovative and well planned business strategies to make a name in the solar industry.
In 2009, Vikram Solar GmbH was incorporated in Germany and in 2010 it stepped in international EPC business. With passing years, it completed total installation of 3MW in India in the year 2011. It also successfully handled large scale solar plant installations of 40MW in Rajasthan in the year 2013.  It ranked Tier 1 solar PV module manufacturer by BNEF in 2014 and also the company designed, installed and commissioned India’s 1st floating solar power plant in Kolkata in the year 2014.
“Our in-house research and development efforts have helped us in staying ahead of the curve in the ever evolving solar technology space,” says Joy Saxena, Executive Director – Finance, Vikram Solar.
Don’t ignore key pillars of power supplyFrom 9.3 per cent demand and supply mismatch in FY 2012–13, Indian energy deficit stood at (-) 2.1 per cent in FY 2015–16. The government now has firm plans to make the country energy surplus with a target of generating 1,178 billion units of power. Economic growth has escalated the energy demand in India and the country is supporting its energy generation initiatives with new policy interventions. Major policy initiatives like ‘Power for All’ are practically reforming national energy generation structure. These mandates are also bringing in social reform, as India still has over 15.5 million households and 9,500 villages that are still devoid of electricity.
Commenting on the India’s expected power surplus Saxena says, “We believe Indian government needs to identify and uphold- availability, affordability, reliability and security of electricity supply as the key pillars for overall growth in the country. Each of these pillars serve a specific function and ignoring one will not complete the picture India wants to paint. Checking and improving financial health of distribution companies by offering subsidies and tax exemptions is required to help these entities purchase more power. As they start to purchase more power, there will be an urge among the power generators to produce more energy, both of which are required if India is to become and stay a power surplus.”
 Global trend shows, that renewable energy sources will account for 60 per cent of global energy generation by 2040. COP 21, International Solar Alliances, and United Nations Climate Change Conference are positively indicating towards renewable energy future. Indian electricity demand is increasing at approximately 5 per cent a year, which traditional means are not equipped to satisfy. “Anticipating this, India has already planned to increase its renewable generation capacity to 175GW by 2022. And aggressively creating a favourable environment for renewable energy (especially solar) growth. However, we believe more focus towards solar energy development is needed, to speed up and maintain the energy enhancement process of the country,” insist Saxena.
Renewable ruling at this junctureEnergy is one of the primary components required for socio-economic development of a country. “However, if we are to highlight the most promising element in this transformation, we have to consider the part, that India’s shift towards renewable energy is playing at this juncture,” emphasised Saxena.
India’s power demand is expected to cross 298GW by FY 2022. This prediction and continuously depleting fossil fuel reserves, leads us to think whether conventional energy will be able to meet India’s energy needs in the future or not.  “On the other hand, the price of solar energy falling from Rs 20 a unit to Rs 5 (approximately in 2016) makes solar energy a very viable alternate option for not just industrial, but commercial, and residential energy requirements. Thus, changing the conventional game in energy sector,” he remarks. 
To support Indian industrial development (through Make in India) which is expected to bring social-economic reform in the country, India needs more energy than ever. “Renewable energy is required to boost India’s current energy generation capacity if we are to go toe-to-toe with countries that dominate global industries,” opines Saxena.
Vikram’s contributing to this transformationVikram Solar has been a part of Indian energy sector development since 2006. Its goal is to not just add to our nation’s efforts to increase energy generation capacity to fill the gap of deficit, but to offer eco-friendly energy solutions that can preserve the quality of environment without compromising on energy requirements.
The company has adapted a flexible business strategy to serve the energy need of domestic and global community. It has enhanced its module manufacturing capacity to 0.5 GW in 2015 and following plans to reach 2GW capacity in FY 2020, to successfully serve the demand national and global demand. “We are proud to have successfully completed more than 130MW globally-benchmarked EPC projects. 48 MWp solar plant for IL&FS Energy Development Company Limited (IEDCL) in Kachaliya, 2MW rooftop solar plant at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, Kolkata and 750kW installation at the Calicut International Airport, Kerala, are few of our many quality projects that had been widely celebrated,” briefs Saxena about the contribution of Vikram Solar to this transformation
Looking out for a large market share It is obviously good news for the country that Indian power addition plans include huge solar energy generation targets. “As a solar module manufacturer and EPC solution provider, we see new opportunities coming our way. India’s current solar power capacity stands at 8.06GW, in order to reach the 100GW solar target by 2022, the country will surely bring plans for multiple large scale projects and encourage commercial and residential entities to adopt solar installations. This will increase the product demand and increase our market share,” asserts Saxena.
Indian government’s sharp focus on Indian rooftop solar growth has presented new opportunities for us to contribute more in this area. Initiatives like- increasing budget for implementing grid connected rooftop from Rs 600 to Rs 5,000 crores, availability of 30 per cent subsidy on rooftop solar implementation (residential), accelerated depreciation, custom duty concessions, excise duty exemptions and tax holiday benefits for commercial and industrial implementations, mandating solar installations in government buildings, will definitely boost development and allow an enhanced opportunity for us to claim a large market share. 

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