Radite Mulls Entry Into Electric Vehicle Charging Segment
We have serious plans for entering the EV charging segment, and have already done a lot of groundwork in this regards. We are very hopeful of establishing our first station in first quarter itself, says Pawan Pandey, Director, Radite Group, one of the fastest growing companies in the solar space. In conversation with Manu Tayal, Associate Editor, Saur Energy International, Pandey shared his views on various issues which the power sector is currently dealing with along with his company’s future plan of action in the renewable energy segment. Here’re the excerpts from that exclusive interview published in the Saur Energy International Magazine’s April 2019 edition:
Q. Kindly tell us something about Radite Energy and its growth journey in a short span of time. Any further expansion plans?
At Radite, we have been blessed to have entered the solar sector at a good time, and got the support of developers who were aligned to our own belief in delivering quality at a competitive price. With developers facing their own cost pressures, it was important for us to focus on delivering quality work, while keeping cost in check, and this is something we are very proud of having done.
Looking ahead, we have serious plans for entering the EV charging segment, and have already done a lot of groundwork in this regards. We are very hopeful of establishing our first station in first quarter itself.
Q. What is your take on Safeguard Duty? Currently, what impact do you see on the domestic solar industry after its implementation?
As it turns out, we haven’t really observed any significant difference that the Safeguard Duty made for domestic manufacturers, while delaying projects that had been planned keeping imported panels and cells in mind. To that extent, I don’t think the safeguard duty, which will start falling soon as per plan, will really help domestic manufacturers. What they need is a clear visibility on the policy front, and orders, as the PSU driven solar push has tried to do. But even that has its own limitations, so we feel that eventually domestic manufacturers need to possibly consider deeper tie-ups with international players for technology and price competitiveness, and then push for support. I always think that the auto sector template has been very good, with a dominant firm (Suzuki), despite being a foreign firm, doing a massive amount of manufacturing in India.
Q. What is Radite’s total cumulative capacity installed as of now? Are there any operational hindrances faced by you from these solar plants?
Radite has been part of more than 750MW of solar projects in India till now and we are very proud that all the projects are running at full load without any operational problem. All the projects have been implemented with high quality norms and great workmanship. The only challenge that we can foresee in terms of availability of finance and skilled manpower, that we faced among some of our current projects.
Q. In FY 20, what are the few major projects that Radite will come up with?
Radite is working towards providing solar solutions to homes. In this aspect, Radite is working with different state governments to brand the solar projects and state government policies at various locations which will make solar a need for each house. This will not only help country to grow by reducing power requirement from conventional sources but also help people to generate additional income and save money on their overall monthly budget. This is win win situation for both government and public and also helps us to save the environment.
Q. We heard that Radite is planning to enter into the Electric Vehicle (EV) charging sector. Kindly shed some light on it.
We believe the EV charging sector is where the solar sector was, 5-7 years back. There are issues of price, sourcing, awareness and regulations. But like the solar sector, a boom seems imminent, especially with enough global learnings available now. On top of all this is the international pressure to change, which means a lot of the global auto firms will have EV options in their portfolio soon. Thus, the EV sector could actually have a smoother expansion than solar in some ways, as government role in this will be limited. State government’s have also worked hard to create progressive policies, which gives a lot of optimism about the future for the sector.
Moreover, we are planning to make local people and our clients as a stake holder into this which will be win-win for both of us.
Q. Initially, in which areas have you planned to install your EV charging stations?
We are aggressive in our plans and looking for pan India operations of our charging stations. To start with we are working aggressively in Maharashtra and NCR to start our operations. Our unique plan is to make partners for charging stations for operating and managing the assets. Anyone having land and power connection can partner with us to set up the charging station and they can be partner to us for the charging station.
We are at present carrying out the survey for the locations which will be near to the commuting zone of Electric Vehicle owners.
Q. As Government has set its ambitious target of 30 percent EVs by 2030, what do you think the government should do on top priority to achieve this target?
The top priority has to be ensuring we don’t miss the bus in manufacturing as solar did. That means a special focus on areas like battery manufacturing, which will help ensure cost competitiveness of vehicles built here. Government has done the right thing possibly by focusing subsidies on commercial vehicles and two wheelers.
This will ensure a serious pressure on EV sellers to be competitive, helping create an open market for the regular market in 3-4 years time. It would be fantastic if a global major like Tesla, or Volkswagen was to set up storage plants here of course.
Apart from this it will be most important that government should incentivize the Indian manufacturers and startups by giving them special considerations in the upcoming tenders so that they can progress fast and can compete with the bigger international manufacturers in quality and price. The steps taken now will help them to grow fast and make India self-sufficient in this sector without looking on imports.