We’re able to provide glass at a price equivalent or lower than our Chinese counterparts
V. Ramaswami, Whole-time Director, Gujarat Borosil Limited
Gujarat Borosil Ltd, one of the leading renewable energy companies, focusing on solar glass, has been instrumental in developing many innovations in renewable energy segment, especially in PV modules. Here, V. Ramaswami, Whole-time Director, shares about the company’s participation in the REI Expo 2018 and also about the company’s latest technology launches.
Please walk us through your participation in REI Expo 2018.
We’ve been participating in REI Expo for many years. Seeing so much expansion and growth of the expo, we are expecting many prospective visitors.
What are the major offerings of Gujarat Borosil?
We are first in the world to produce antimony-free solar glass (antimony is a highly toxic substance, two times poisonous than arsenic). We also have been producing the world’s first 2mm fully tempered glass used for making glass-to-glass modules, B.I.P.V segments and floating modules. The 2mm fully-tempered glass is the latest addition to our portfolio.
How do you define the USPs of the product – 2mm glass?
The fully tempered glass has 4x strength than the normal annealed glass and has 2x strength than heat-strengthened glass. Modules made with 2mm glass have higher life.
Low PID is another important characteristic of the glass. PID affects the life of modules. The glass has very low sodium, hence, it has very low potential induced degradation (PID). It has been proved by tests conducted at PI Berlin.
- When used in a glass-to-glass module, chances of getting damaged in sunlight are very small.
- Bi-facial modules deliver upto 30 per cent more power
- Increased module life upto 40 years
- Higher reliability – reduced rate of module failure
- Use laminated modules as a roof itself
- Easier installation
- Substitutes traditional roofing sheet
- Superior edge sealing
- Long term durability with no power losses
How do you gauge the current scenario of India’s power sector?
As far as India is concerned, we’re the only solar glass manufacturer. The installation of thermal power plants is gradually, if not drastically, decreasing. However, installation of PV modules is growing tremendously. We’re one of the pillars of solar PV market/segment. We have a capacity of about 1.2 GW now. We’re implementing schemes by which our production is expected to double. We’re rebuilding our existing furnace and we hope to achieve an output of 3 GW per year. With these additions, we hope to assist in nation building, as more and more PV module manufacturers will be able to produce with our help. We’ll be able to install more PV modules for electricity production in India.
How do you compete in terms of pricing?
As far as glass is concerned, we only compete with Chinese manufacturers. We’re able to provide glass at a price equivalent or lower than our Chinese counterparts. We’ve checked their labour, energy, land and operating costs, and we found that their selling prices in India are much lower. That’s why Indian government has levied anti-dumping duties. If we continue to progress in this direction, and provide a level playing field for Indian manufacturers, then there will be great growth in the Indian solar segment. It may also prove beneficial for the ‘Make in India; programme as well.
Any game-changing initiatives from Government of India?
We’ve been instrumental in assisting the government in its initiative to eliminate unfair trade practices. There were companies who just used India to dump their materials. Thus, the government’s anti-dumping duties for solar glass has been effective so far. But still, there are more to be done in this regards. We’ve been also working with many companies involved in rural electrification.
How do you visualise the future of Gujarat Borosil?
We have full confidence in this segment,not only in India, but in other countries as well. In the past, we were exporting 80 per cent of our production to Europe. But, due to the downtrend in Europe and the steady growth in India, we’ve modified that ratio. Now 70 per cent is sold in India and 30 per cent in other countries, including Europe. We’re also trying to expand to South American, African and Japanese markets and other countries. As mentioned before, we’re expanding our capacity. Our existing facility will also get upgraded. We’re going to double the capacity.