The best about the REI expo is the crowd it attracts; a mature crowd, a crowd which knows about solar and are here only for business
Krishnendu Mukherjee, CEO, Sova Solar
Delivering one of the best quality materials to the industry, Sova Solar participated in the REI Expo 2018 to showcase their state-of-the art products and for gauging market dynamics. Krishnendu Mukherjee, CEO, Sova Solar, tells us about what they expected and their take on the global and Indian market.
Tell us about your participation in the REI Expo 2018.
REI, being the largest Renewable Expo today in India, is a very good platform to showcase our company and the products in front of the world. Also, the expo gives the chance to understand the market and gauge the market dynamics. We, at Sova Solar, continuously strive to better ourselves and it differentiates us from the rest. We have been participating since the first time it was held. We have seen the REI Expo grow significantly, if not exponentially, over the last couple of years. The best thing is about this expo is the crowd it attracts; a mature crowd, which knows about solar and are here for business.
How do you evaluate the current scenario of solar sector in India?
The current scenario of solar market can lead to consolidation and expansion of the solar industry in India. Though China’s market capacity is huge, because of its bombshell policy suddenly cutting down the FIT had led to capacity redundancies there. As China has been the driver behind the growth of the sector, these redundancies would force Chinese companies to focus more aggressively towards any and all foreign markets available to them. India, being one of the most promising markets globally, until recently protected by a tariff wall, was their main focus. The US, being protected by tariff wall, is also a concern for the Chinese, though the European market has opened up. However, the European market alone wouldn’t be able to maintain sustainability of the sector as the European demand is not
so high. The drop in prices will lead to consolidation and rationalisation in the solar market.
What are your views on the Safeguard duty imposed by the Government of India?
The safeguard duty is a good initiative, I would say, from an Indian manufacturer’s perspective. This initiative would definitely support the Indian manufacturers, but the currency devaluation as well as the devaluation indemnity we service has certainly wiped out certain edges of the safe guard duty. But even then this one is a good step forward for protecting them and what I believe is that the government’s intention is to promote the Indian manufacturer so that they become competitive in this time period as well as we expand and also attract investments into the sector, which would further strengthen them. The Supreme Court has also removed the stay on the policy. So, now it’s implemented.
Global or Indian market: Which is more alluring?
Solar industry faces a huge mismatch in demand and supply. The Indian or the global market, neither of them is very easy to deal with. But, since we are in India and we are an Indian company, we are any time exclusively available for the Indian market. I feel it’s easier for us now at this moment to address the Indian market because in the western market or the global market, an Indian manufacturer with whatever capacity, they would always compare you to a Chinese one who is more often than not a larger company than us.
But yet, I would say that because in the last 10 years, what we have achieved is the customers’ faith on the company. So, we are pretty confident that we would be able to serve our domestic and global customers quite effectively, in the longer run.
What technological challenges do you face while catering the market needs?
Talking about technological challenges, the solar is a very dynamic industry. When we started out back in 2008, the average efficiency of cell was around 13 per cent. But, today, the standard efficiencies are around 19 per cent and the perc is 21 per cent and above; so it’s flinching and we have to keep adapting to all these changes. Last year, we started working on the 1,500 volts and perc modules. We have commercialised it and supply it in a mass scale. But, this year, we are working on AC models. So, that means we can implement it in a cost effective manner that would help our customers to do away with the inverter.