We would love to make in India but the skill sets required and Indian’s policy for manufacturing technological products is bit complicated to be easily available. Also, our global production unit is getting expanded for the world market, so no plans in near future of manufacturing in India, says Vishwanath Kamath, Managing Director, Fronius India Private Limited. In conversation with Manu Tayal, Associate Editor, Saur Energy International, Kamath shared his views on various topics related to his company’s product offerings, R&D infrastructure, future manufacturing plans for India, Fronius Smart Meters etc. Here’re the excerpts from that exclusive interview published in the Saur Energy International Magazine’s September 2019 edition:
Q. Tell us about Fronius’ latest product offerings for the Indian market.
Currently, our product portfolio covers from 3 kW – 8.2 kW Single phase, & 3kW to 27 kW 3 phase range. We have launched new products for the global market and they will be available in the Indian market from 2020. The product is named “Tauro” and it will be available in 2 ranges – 50kW & 100 kW. We are excited to launch the product for the Indian market and make it a great success.
Q. What is the total installation capacity sold by Fronius in India so far? What kind of inverters are in demand now? How do your inverters fare when compared to your peers?
Firstly, installation numbers in India in rooftop is controversial. Also, we are working in the niche market and our customers are those who value the product and its quality. Our segment is premium band and there are few of us here. Information on total installation is already available in the public domain. From our range, our 25 and 27 kW are in demand. Once Tauro is launched, there will be a more positive scenario.
As mentioned, we are quality players and worldwide we are number 1 for the same reason – quality, service offers and much more. We are happy to explain in detail about products differentiation in product training conducted free of cost at our HQ in Pune.
Q. Tell us about your manufacturing facilities and R&D infrastructure. A bit about the quality checks that are performed by the company before sending products to the market?
Fronius has a world class manufacturing unit and R&D Infrastructure in Austria. It’s a global production facility for our all 3 BU – Perfect Welding, Solar Energy & Perfect Charging.
a) Before sending Fronius products to the market,our inverters go through various tests such as a visual check, mechanical check.
b) Proper packing guidelines are followed.
c) Installation and operation manual are packed with the inverter.
d) Toll free sticker on each inverter.
e) Default parameters are checked on MTS.
Q. How important is after sales support in the solar market? How does Fronius stand out?
After sales support is most important in any product segment. Customer retention depends on this. We are known in the Indian market for best service support. Our customer testimony speaks for itself. We have also launched “Fronius System Partner Concept (FSP)” where in based on certain pre-set criteria, EPC can become FSP and they become our authorised & trained service partners. We are creating these networks for better and faster service.
Q. What do you feel about India’s move towards electric vehicles? Is the pace for adoption right? What’s the best case scenario for the 2030 timeline according to you?
EV shapes the future and it can help to make it compatible with nature. It can help us develop clean energy and transport possibilities with less emission. The Government of India is working towards developing a mobility option which is ‘shared, connected and electric. There is an increased need to prepare for a green future for Indian mobility. I believe it should be faster. We need to see very aggressively the ecosystem getting developed for successful launch of EVs in India.
I think as a country we will have the capacity, well-built ecosystem and mature products. We would have touched close to 30 to 40 percent electric vehicles. Majorly, I think shared mobility, rented vehicles and cab aggregators, B2B will be the early adopters. Later, we see down the line involvement of general public.
Q. Being an international player, do you see battery manufacturing in India taking off? Do you have any plans for setting up a manufacturing base in India too?
We would love to make in India but the skill sets required and Indian’s policy for manufacturing technological products is bit complicated to be easily available. Also, our global production unit is getting expanded for the world market, so no plans in near future of manufacturing in India.
Q. What is the market share of Fronius in India currently?
Currently, we are at 2.12 percent as per public domain and we will surely bounce back in the next 2-3 years with our new products and also our FSP concept.
Q. In which areas have Fronius Smart Meters been installed currently? How do you see the customers response for smart meters?
Fronius Smart Meters are installed a cross different locations, depending on the net metering policy. Our smart meters are really smart as they also give load analysis data on the Fronius web portal solarweb, so, many of our customers purchase the smart meter for these reasons.