Quality Manufacturing and Easy Financing Needs Serious Attention
Local manufacturing and the quality standards of local make has to be addressed and scaled-up as well, if we are to see any major boost as a manufacturing hub for rooftop solar. Quality manufacturing and easy financing are the two factors that have to be taken very seriously in order for the industry to grow, says Ashit Maru, Co-Founder, MYSUN, a leading player in the rooftop solar space. In conversation with Manu Tayal, Saur Energy International, Maru shared his views on various issues which the power sector is currently dealing with. Following are the excerpts from that exclusive interview
Q. Kindly tell our readers more about MYSUN and its products & offerings.
MYSUN is a technology backed rooftop solar solutions and services company and India’s largest online rooftop solar platform. With over 20 years of experience in the space of solar, the MYSUN team utilizes top-notch engineering, data and analytics to deliver the most suitable and customized solar solutions to residential, commercial and industrial energy consumers across India.
Founded in September 2015 by solar industry veterans Gagan Vermani, Ashit Maru and Gyan Prakash Tiwari, MYSUN announced its commencement of operations in September 2016 and has since expanded across several states in India, with over 60 projects across Delhi/NCR, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Telangana and Tamil Nadu.
MYSUN’s online platform – www.itsmysun.com has grown to become India’s largest online rooftop solar platform with over 40,000+ registered rooftops; creating a convenient and guided buying environment for consumers looking to go solar. Through advanced tools such as an online solar calculator that helps users determine their potential savings, and a site-survey app that helps consumers determine whether their house or property is suitable for rooftop solar.
Q. Government imposed 25% safeguard duty on imports of solar cells. What are your views on this?
India imports 90 % of its solar requirements, and the cost of solar has reduced considerably in the last few years mainly due to the availability of globally competitive solar panels in the country. By imposing a 25% safeguard duty on imported solar panels, the government is increasing the market price of solar panels.
The belief is that by levying this duty, domestic manufacturers stand to benefit and that this will give local manufacturing a boost. This may benefit some manufacturers in the short term, however, in the long run, the market dynamics will only shift and the cost of solar panels is just going to be more expensive for the end consumer. In the end, who is the government trying to safeguard?
Moreover, a policy roadmap for just two years is not likely to lure investors into setting up large manufacturing basis in the country. Instead, the government should look at developing a stable and long-term policy to incentivize local manufacturing.
Q. Is the government’s ambitious target of achieving 100 GW of solar energy by 2022 feasible?
From recent reports, it’s clear that India will not achieve its ambitious target of generating 100 GW solar power by 2022. This is despite the fact that the first half of the year 2018 saw just under 6GW of solar power installed in the country. 2018 has been a noteworthy year when it comes to installed capacity, however, a large majority of this has been large-scale onground solar projects. The rooftop solar segment has yet to see the required exponential growth to meet the 100GW target. Indian solar target of 40GW for the rooftop solar segment, only 6% has been installed, unfortunately.
Q. As 2019 is ready to kick-off its journey, what is your forecast for the New Year?
Although 2018 had a number of hurdles along the way, it was still a good year for the solar industry. In the past year, India surpassed 26GW of cumulative solar capacity and has now emerged as one of the world’s largest markets when it comes to Solar PV. However, the pace has slowed in the last quarter of the year and 2019 will have to prove to be exceptional for business to pick up.
As per current forecasts, India is expected to add about 10 GW of solar capacity in 2019, as technological innovation is at the forefront of solar development in the country. However, there are still a number of developments to take place in order for there to be any headway, such as four-fold growth of the entire structural framework, investment in resources and consistent and supportive policies that prioritize the interests and requirements of the Indian solar industry.
Installers play a significant role in providing high quality and reliable materials for workmanship, while the Government and Discoms have to make sure that the process of net metering and its benefits are clearly explained and passed on to customers, in order to make their journey to go solar easy and painless.
Q. Please tell us something about your client base?
At its inception, MYSUN has continuously focused on NCR as a market for Residential, Commercial, Industrial and Institutional solar projects. In our two and half year journey since, we have expanded our operations from Delhi NCR to Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and now Telangana. Our primary client-base are SMEs, MSMEs and Commercial Establishments and Institutions across the country. We have started making inroads in many of the target states where the grid tariffs are quite high and therefore consumers get the most value out of their solar system. We are looking to further expand our presence in Western and Southern states such as Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
Q. How do you ensure the quality of your products?
MYSUN is an end to end Solar Solutions and Services company that caters to the needs and concerns of end consumers. With this objective in mind, we always offer our customers some of the most premium and high-value solar systems, as we very carefully and selectively choose our primary partners when it comes to solar modules and systems. Our team of engineers follows strict quality standards when it comes to designing customized solar solutions for customers, and our on-site personnel is very particular when it comes to meeting their expectations and high standards.
In addition to premium high-quality products and top-notch design and engineering, MYSUN also offers customers an exclusive after-sales service package in the form of MYSUN Assured™ – a 25-year promise of continuous energy generation, regular system maintenance and savings by up to 50%. Most important of all, customers will have complete peace of mind for the next 25 years with MYSUN.
Q. In your view, what else should be done by the government to promote rooftop solar in the country?
Due to frequent policy changes and the recent safeguard duty on imported panels, buying solar has only become more expensive for the end consumer. The government needs to be more mindful of the consumer’s need and ability to go solar, and should look at helping consumers, who are aware of the benefits of solar, better afford it; while educating and promoting the necessity of solar amongst those who are still unsure or uninitiated.
Net-metering, for example, needs to be more viable and easier for consumers to access across states. For this to happen there needs to be more positive support from local discoms in embracing solar as an alternative energy source of energy while also being transparent with the end consumer.
There needs to easier financial support and solutions offered by NBFCs and insurance companies to encourage affordability of solar amongst consumers, as most see it as an expensive affair due to the initial capital investment involved.
Lastly, solar policies, although in place, need to be implemented and followed strictly by the government.
Q. Lastly, are there any hindrances in the rooftop solar space which needs to be dealt with?
Even though we have seen immense growth in the space in the past two years, there are still a number of hindrances that have to be tackled. While there is widespread knowledge about solar, there is reluctance amongst people to fully commit to making the switch.
One of the major factors behind this is due to the lack of financial support and options available. The uncertainty of government policies has also had a negative impact which has stalled consumers from committing to solar completely.
Local manufacturing and the quality standards of local make has to be addressed and scaled-up as well, if we are to see any major boost as a manufacturing hub for rooftop solar. Quality manufacturing and easy financing are the two factors that have to be taken very seriously in order for the industry to grow.
Consumers are also apprehensive about the net-metering processes that have been put in place, and should be addressed by the government, so as to make their decision to go solar easier.