“BIS Certification Should Be a Must For All Government Tenders”, Brijesh Prajapati

Brijesh Prajapati, Managing Director, SofarSolar, a leading inverter firm from China, is gung ho about the prospects for his firm in India. The 7 year old SofarSolar is a young firm like many others in the sector, but has moved quickly to grab emerging opportunities in solar, especially in Hybrid Inverters linked with storage. Recently the firm became one of the earliest to get BIS certification for its Hybrid inverters also, giving it a further advantage in India. A familiar name in the rooftop segment, the firm sees huge potential in storage inverter and related growth. We caught up with Brijesh for his views

Q. SOFARSOLAR has been successful in getting BIS Certification for its ES Inverters. How will that impact your India business expansion plans?

Brijesh Prajapati, Managing Director, SofarSolar

Brijesh Prajapati, Managing Director, SofarSolar

India’s energy storage market, largest around South Asia, is presenting a very active trend driven by the construction boom of large-scale renewable energy power generation projects and power grid infrastructure upgradation. In recent years, not only large-scale energy storage projects on grid side and user side have been started in India, but also a tremendous amount of PV power station projects have launched bidding and purchasing plans for energy storage system.

As the global leader of energy storage inverter and battery, SOFARSOLAR is leading the market development trend and rapidly rolling out its  offerings for India’s energy storage market for hybrid/energy storage requirements. Power Storage facilities are finding demand at Villa’s/Bungalow or Hospitality sector. Some coastal areas, undeveloped area, Hill area (North-East, Northern India region) are also opening up now. SOFARSOLAR HYD. Inverter is Compatible with Ongrid & Offgrid, Flexible configuration of Lead acid & Li-Ion Batteries. High end advanced technologies with better generation & BIS Certified tested Quality products.

Q. All tenders by state/central agencies have provisions in their tenders for accepting equipment that is BIS certified. Do you believe other certifications should also be accepted?

Yes, we strongly recommending to go with BIS Certified inverter. People will get certified quality products in the market from many labs whose only aim is to earn money by charging extremely high rates. In fact, we wish the government would regulate these non-BIS agencies more strictly. If Manufacturers/OEM companies are following BIS necessities on rules and regulation from Government then why not the same standards for private lab agencies? BIS certification in govt. tenders should be compulsory, and subsidies should not be provided, as is the case now.

In  some states, especially Karnataka the govt.agency BESCOM has a strange policy for acceptance into the BESOCM Approved list. As per my discussion with BESCOM team they said we are not considering approval based on BIS Certification & IEC certification. This  means BIS Certification has no meaning for BESCOM. They told me that our  agency person will visit at manufacturing place & they will inspect, post which they will see about BESCOM approval with BESCOM Fees/Charges. A big anomaly here is that the manufacturer seeking approval has to bear the cost of transportation, food, accommodation & other expenses. So if the  manufacturing unit is not in India then BESCOM person will visit out of India with all expenses paid by the manufacturer. That is simply not how it is done anywhere. There is an urgent need for all government agencies to abide by common standards like BIS here.

Q. We have seen the commercial and rooftop segment struggle due to various  reasons so far. Both segments where Sofar has a major presence. Are you looking to expand your presence in the utility segment to make up ?  

We are performing very well in India. Sofarsolar is the fastest growing product brand with good quality, low service issues  & prompt service solutions. That’s because we have made no compromises in quality to make a cheap product, wide display is one of our key features. Sofarsolar enjoys a strong presence in the rooftop solar business & also in EPC Sector. We offer one of the highest 8 years warranty on our products in the Indian market. As of now we have 80KW,100KW HV &LV,110KW,125KW,136KW with 1100V & upcoming 255KW product  series with 1500V system.

Besides we also have the first BIS certified Hybrid inverter. Booking have started for our upcoming 255KW with 1500V systems. So I don’t really agree on the growth challenge for Sofar Solar.

Q. What is next for the product now that it has become the first to be certified?

We will be launching the high voltage and low voltage series batteries of 4-20kW three-phase energy storage inverter in the near future. This is a product for the global market. Both grid-connected and off-grid systems can be built into a multi complementary energy generation microgrid system with the help of this new product to realize photovoltaic self-use and residual power storage, and arbitrage by combining energy storage peak and valley to maximize economic benefits and effectively mitigate the load impact on the distribution grid.

Four series of new products of “Photovoltaic Storage” are being launched worldwide, to strengthen our brand  positioning as the top brand in “Photovoltaic Storage and Charging”.

These four series of new products cover: large series of 80-136kW, 10-20kW three-generation inverter, 5-20kW three-phase grid-connected inverter and  HYD inverter , and high-voltage and low-voltage batteries.

The 80-136kW large series inverter, which is mainly aimed at large-scale industrial and commercial and ground power stations, is famous for its “High Quality, High Income”, with the maximum efficiency of 99%. It has IP66 protection grade, 12-channel MPPT design, advanced AC / DC dual power redundancy design, built-in high-precision intelligent string detection and other functions, which can better adapt to wind, sand, rain, snow and other complex and harsh environment. With its listing, the owners will have more choice space, and the income they care about will be strongly guaranteed.

The second product, the third-generation 10-20kW inverter has been appreciated by customers as “Key Tool in the Large-Scale Household Market”. The inverter has high cost performance. The appearance of the inverter adopts lightweight design, simple and fashionable, which is suitable for the home environment and is easy to install; the interior of the inverter adopts the industry-leading heat dissipation technology, and selects a new generation of international brand components, which has a longer service life; in terms of efficiency, it is also industry-leading, which greatly guarantees the income of users; at the same time, multiple protection is adopted inside, which can guarantee the service life of the inverter and greatly increase the time limit of users’ stable income.

Thirdly, the 5-20kW three-phase HYD 5-20KW inverter is a machine developed for energy storage system, mainly used in large household energy storage system and small and medium-sized industrial and commercial energy storage. This machine integrates PV and energy storage, and can realize multiple working modes of off grid and grid connection.

Finally, we have the low voltage and high voltage series batteries, as several heavyweight products launched by SOFARSOLAR to the global energy storage market. These batteries have built a good reputation in European markets such as Italy and Britain for their convenient installation, strong compatibility, long cycle life and rich communication. This strong return provides a broader space for domestic users in the choice of energy storage batteries.

Q. What are the key attractions of your Hybrid inverter? Besides being the first certified product on the market, what other advantages does it have?

We offer India’s first Hybrid inverter with BIS Certification (Compatible with Ongrid & Offgrid, Flexible configuration of Lead acid & Li-Ion Batteries)

What is HYBRID INVERTER?

The HYD-ES hybrid inverter is used in PV system with battery storage. Energy produced by the PV system will be optimized for maximum self-consumption.

Hybrid Inverter is combination of ON Grid Inverter + OFF grid Inverter.

Hybrid inverter will charge surplus PV energy into the battery & discharge battery to supply power to local load when PV energy is not enough.

In case of blackout, HYD-ES inverter can work in Emergency Power Supply (EPS) mode. HYD-ES inverter will utilize power from PV panels & energy stored in the battery to supply power to critical load.

Hybrid Inverter enable residents supply to be secured even in the event of grid failure and decrease the electricity bill. While you have this storage power station and HYD inverter, you may have non-stop energy 24 hours. 

Q. Can you please talk us through how SOFARSOLAR dealt with the COVID19 pandemic, the subsequent lockdown and financial impact (if any)?

The company has a total manufacturing capacity of 10GW with an Year on Year growth of more than 20%. However, currently with the impact of Covid-19, while everyone has been impacted, we have taken care to ensure that our teams are available to support our client requirements.

The Coronavirus impact was limited to our first-quarter growth mostly, as our manufacturing plant was located in Shenzhen. In India business was affected  in the second quarter when the lockdowns started. But from Third quarter business bounced back to almost pre-covid levels, and  we have seen strong growth in the fourth quarter. Supportive government policies that allow renewable energy work to continue have also helped. The Covid-19 outbreak has made it more difficult to achieve the targets due to the delays in land acquisition, grid unavailability, supply chain bottlenecks and a lack of project financing. In this pandemic situation Sofarsolar is doing good business with new innovation & upgraded technologies. We are thankful to all our supporters, who stood by us in this tough situation.

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