The rooftop solar segment is still far behind achieving its target. The main reason behind this I believe is resistance from Discoms and inconsistent solar rooftop policies in every state. There is high potential in erstwhile slow-moving solar rooftop segment. Already there is awareness among rooftop consumers. The cost advantage is also present. There is a need to grab this opportunity with the right policy structure which is win-win for Discoms and consumers, says Sushil Bansal, Founder & Managing Director, Novasys Greenergy, a part of Sangita Coal Group, and now a well-diversified entity operating in renewable, non-renewable, telecom, food & real estate sectors. In conversation with Manu Tayal, Associate Editor, Saur Energy International, Bansal shared his views on various topics which the solar sector is currently dealing with along with his company’s future plan of action in the renewable energy space. Here’re the excerpts from that exclusive interview published in the Saur Energy International Magazine’s October 2019 edition:
Q. What according to you is the potential for solar energy in India and do you believe it offers a viable solution to replace fossil-fuel-powered energy?
Solar energy has a huge potential in India. The quantum of solar energy received in India in a year has energy equivalent to a combined total of energy derived from all possible fossil fuel deposits in the country. India set a target of 175 GW of renewable energy which is set to increase up to 450 GW. So, there is tremendous scope for solar and other renewable energy to power the country.
Today, the prices of solar energy have dropped to a level where energy from fossil fuel seems more expensive. So, the viability in the adoption of solar energy is already there.
Q. Tell us a bit about Novasys’ current solar module manufacturing capacity? What latest technology is being used?
Our manufacturing unit is located at Nagpur which is right in the centre of India. Our manufacturing capacity is 100 MW per annum. We can make conventional polycrystalline/monocrystalline modules. We can also make new generation Mono Perc and Bifacial modules. We have plans to increase our capacity to 300 MW in the same premises within a year. We are also looking to grow by at least 30 percent in the next 3 years.
We have set up highly advanced, with full automation manufacturing unit for producing world-class solar modules. We are technically backed up with German engineering. We have stringer from Germany, fully automated Lay up, inline Pre EL testing machine with 8 ultra HD cameras. Our 4 in 1 framing machine is unique and first of its kind in India.
We are an ISO certified company and all quality standards set by ISO are followed in our manufacturing process. All machines and testing instruments are periodically calibrated with standards which ensure consistency in our product quality.
Q. How do you feel about the recent reduction of corporate tax by the government? To what extent can it help the industry grow?
I think it is a welcome move by GOI for catalyzing industrial growth, especially the solar sector where the margins are very thin. This is being taken as a respite for existing industries. It is also going to attract new investments as the tax reduction is even more for new units. This is surely going to boost our economy and help the industry to grow.
Q. As safeguard duty winds down to zero next year, and the MNRE recommending fresh duties, do you see solar equipment manufacturing finally expanding in India?
There is a need for a long term policy for the industry. Currently, the tenure of safeguard duty is so less that it is not possible to plan for a big investment. A policy term of at least 5-10 years is required to bring new investment.
I think the government knows it very well and is in the line of implementing with fresh basic custom duty for imported solar modules and cells. This is surely going to boost solar equipment manufacturing in India.
Q. What parameters do you follow to ensure the quality of raw materials?
Proven and tested raw materials from internationally renowned manufacturers are sourced and each raw material is tested and verified to meet all quality parameters. Our raw materials are first tested by our quality team and if approved, are used for production.
We follow more than 30 in house tests for testing of raw materials and our final products. Our modules are tested with inline Pre and Post EL machines which are equipped with very high definition 8 cameras which can detect even the tiniest micro cracks and defects. Our framing machine is fully automated with 4 in 1 feature integrated thus avoiding any manual intervention. Our process is optimized to minimize handling of modules thus eliminating the risk of any microcrack generation.
Q. How can the pace for installations in rooftop solar segment be increased?
The rooftop solar segment is still far behind achieving its target. The main reason behind this I believe is resistance from Discoms and inconsistent solar rooftop policies in every state. There is high potential in erstwhile slow-moving solar rooftop segment. Already there is awareness among rooftop consumers. The cost advantage is also present.
There is a need to grab this opportunity with the right policy structure which is win-win for Discoms and consumers.