Interview

Safeguard Duty: Impetus of solar module segment

Sunil Rathi, Director, Waaree Energies discusses what electrification of energy demand will play a huge role in driving India’s growth, in all sectors and how Safeguard Duty holds primary importance for the solar modules.

How do you gauge the Indian power sector’s major transformation?
The implementation of Safeguard Duty is expected to give impetus to domestic solar module manufacturing segment, helping mitigate the injury caused to them by the imports. This will not only provide a boost to the Government’s “Make in India” movement, but also improve the viability of the upstream and downstream industry associated with the value chain of the manufacturing of solar cells/modules. Floating solar is also playing a key role in this transformation, as it does not require rooftops or open land, but instead, utilises water bodies for generating energy, while also providing added mobility.

Do you think electrification of energy demand in all regions and sectors will drive India’s growth?
Yes, I am certain that it will play a huge role in driving India’s growth, in all sectors, as the electrification of energy demand will help electricity reach the farthest corners of the country, enabling development and growth all around. The primary focus areasshould be agriculture, which can be boosted majorly by the introduction of solar pumping systems. In addition to this, the installation of street lighting in rural areas, and the improvement of existing ones, will be another huge accomplishment for the initiative.

Do you think there is a vast potential in solar powered irrigation?
There is definitely a huge unexplored potential in utilising solar power for irrigation purposes, owing to its environmental friendliness, lower expenditure involved. However, despite the fact that electricity has today reached corners of the country, the volume of electricity available is limited, besides being restricted by the time period it is available for.

Can you single out one initiative that has proved beneficial for your sector and has been a game changer?
The implementation of Safeguard Duty on solar modules holds primary importance in this regard. It will help protect and encourage the domestic solar module industry in the country significantly, and protect them from injuries caused by the import of solar cells.The UDAY Scheme will also have a huge role to play in improving grid connectivity and providing a huge boost for the solar industry.

Nearly 40 per cent of all new power capacity in India this year is solar. How do you evaluate your company’s contribution to this?
As a result of this unprecedented rise in demand, WAAREEhas expanded its manufacturing capacity to1.5 GW with its new state of the art solar panel manufacturing facility at Vapi. We aim to grow further, to help boost the energy security of our country, and build sustainable energy infrastructure.

2022 is approaching and much is left to be done. What needs to be done to quicken the pace of achieving the power ambitions?
The government needs to look into the introduction of subsidies, especially in the solar power sector, to encourage domestic manufacturers to grow and meet the demands. It also needs to introduce a set of policies which are conducive to this growth, and designed specifically to provide a boost to the Indian power sector as a whole. However, we are confident that with the government’s continued support,more of such policieswillbe introduced and implemented to help achieve the target set.

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