Demand For Solar Trackers In Indian RE Market Rising: Chintan Patel, Sunchaser

Demand For Solar Trackers In Indian RE Market Rising: Chintan Patel, Sunchaser

Sunchaser is a Gujarat-based single-axis solar tracker manufacturer. These mounted structures help the solar panels rotate toward the sun’s direction to maximize energy generation. The company has the experience of supplying its product in around 30 countries across the globe. 

Chintan Patel, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) from Sunchaser, in a short interview with Saur Energy at the sideline of RenewX exhibition in Hyderabad, spoke about the technology, its relevance and demand in the Indian solar industry market. Excerpts from the interview:  

How has been the journey of Sunchaser till now?

We are an Indian solar tracker manufacturing company. Until 2021, we were mainly export-oriented. We supplied our products to more than 30 countries across the globe. In 2021, we started broadening the base in India. Our entire focus is to cater to the needs of Indian solar developers. We released that an unorganized sector largely drove this segment. We tried to bridge the gap and create an organized market for this. We started offering customized solutions to ground-mounted solar projects based on the actual demands of the solar developers. We also ensured a timely after-sales service on the ground when needed. 

How do you see the response of solar trackers in the Indian RE market?

The Indian solar market is growing exponentially. There is now penetration of more high-power modules up to 540 KW. There are also advancements in designs, like the availability of bifacial solar modules. Therefore, there is a need to reap the maximum benefit of solar energy to improve the efficiency of solar panels. With increased awareness levels, the demand for solar trackers is thus rising. 

What are the different types of solar trackers available to you?

There is a horizontal single-axis solar tracker where the panel moves from east to west. There is also a tilted solar tracker where the panels are tilted with an angle varying from 10 to 20 degrees. In India, tilted solar trackers are more popular. Here mostly, these panels face south. 

Which segment of solar consumers mostly get benefit from it?

One of the most significant limitations of these solar trackers is that it is confined to ground-mounted solar projects. Large vendors and big brands generally use it only for projects above 20 MW scale. But we cater to even medium and scale projects where the capacity ranges from 1 MW to 100 MW. So, it is fruitful for the captive and Independent Power Producers (IPP), especially for their ground-mounted projects. 

What is the additional cost of solar trackers on solar projects, and what are the estimated benefits?

It adds around 7% to 8% of the overall costs of MW-scale solar projects. In return, these solar tracks help increase energy generation by an average of 15 percent. However, the overall change of output depends on the geography too. The output increases if we move towards the south. In some tilted solar panels, the additional energy generation can even touch 25 percent. However, with the increased generation levels, such projects are likely to recover the extra cost incurred in installing solar trackers within two years of its operation. 

How important is the selection of a solar tracker vendor for any projects?

Finding the right vendor for using their tracker services is significant. The technology involves expertise in mechanical drive components, control electronics, and project management skills. Such services involve layout, onsite installation installations, and after-sales services. All solar project developers need support on the ground when using such products for a hassle-free experience. 

How much has India’s adoption levels for solar trackers compared to other countries?

India is one of the latecomers in technology adoption. We saw this trend in adoption of solar modules too. The poly modules were phased out in the US in 2018, and India relied on them until 2021. The same thing goes well for trackers as well. It started getting traction in the US and other European markets in 2018. Now 2/3 of the total projects in such countries have solar trackers. But in India, the installations and inclusion in solar projects have started recently and gaining traction. Now the demand for such technology is rising, and I expect a brighter future for this in the days to come. Several project developers in India are adopting it to increase the Capacity Utilization Factor (CUF) and Performance Ratio (PR). 

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