Sustainability of the Industry is in Question
I feel its unhealthy competition, which is driving the entire industry into a black hole. It starts right from the developers, to goes down till the manufacturer of small components. Sustainability of the industry is in question, because if people start using sub-standard products to match the cost, it will lead towards an unsustainable future for the industry. In terms of technological innovations and advancements, such as bifacial modules, micro-inverters, energy storage systems, electrical charging infrastructure, sure, we are progressing towards a better future, believes Neelesh Garg, Director, Saatvik Green Energy, whose mission is to lead the global transition to solar energy solutions in India. In conversation with Manu Tayal, Sub Editor, Saur Energy International, Garg 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 February 2019 edition:
Q. Kindly tell us something about Saatvik’s manufacturing and R&D facilities of solar PV modules.
Saatvik employs the most advanced machines available to operate its 500 MW annual production capacity, which includes several in-line quality checking procedures to ensure the best final output. At Saatvik, we are engaged in R&D at the module level, constantly working on our BOM and process to reduce CTM, use new technology such as optimizers, MONO PERC, and have also tested Bi-facial modules on our machines.
Q. What are the quality checks that your company follow while manufacturing solar modules?
Since People are the most crucial part, and define the quality of the product manufactured, we conduct regular training and personal guidance sessions for all our staff, to ensure that they are satisfied both at work, and outside work. If processes are well defined and easy to understand, it leaves no room for error. Not only do we comply with ISO, but we have also implemented SAP H4 HANA which helps in automating a lot of manual processes, for superior records and quality implementation.
If your people and processes are sorted, precision comes naturally, and we are a very quality conscious company, hence precision plays a very important role. To assist our people and processes, we have all necessary quality control/ inspection equipment such as dual EL testers, sun simulators, visual check stations. Further, in the laboratory, we have all equipments to test our incoming raw materials, such as cells, backsheet, EVA etc. as well as various tests to reflect the quality and reliability of module produced. This ensures precision in our production for highest quality products.
Q. As government already implemented safeguard duty, now in present scenario, is there any module cost-price change you see in the domestic market?
The industry has not been able really understand the aftermath of the safeguard duty implementation, I am not sure about the cell manufacturers, as they are still not competitive in terms of price and quality. Most of them have shut their facilities. Developers are still getting modules from China, due to bank-ability issues, and favourable financing options. Module prices have gone lower, since China reduced its prices, to be competitive. If someone has benefited from this situation, it’s Vietnam and Thailand.
Q. In your view, what are the main challenges domestic solar industry is currently facing and where do you see the future of the Indian PV market?
I feel its unhealthy competition, which is driving the entire industry into a black hole. It starts right from the developers, to goes down till the manufacturer of small components. Sustainability of the industry is in question, because if people start using sub-standard products to match the cost, it will lead towards an unsustainable future for the industry. In terms of technological innovations and advancements, such as bifacial modules, micro-inverters, energy storage systems, electrical charging infrastructure, sure, we are progressing towards a better future.
Q. Can you highlight some of your company’s key achievements in the recent past?
As a brand, we are getting more visibility and acceptability among a larger audience, and the fact that we have already supplied over 150 MW in less than 2 years in a proud achievement for the team.
Q. What are Saatvik’s plans for 2019? Are there any new products the company is planning to launch in this New Year?
In 2019, as we will have a larger production facility, we aim to be more aggressive in the market, and have already started working on tieups and long term agreements with strategic clients and projects. We also plan on setting our footprint in the global market by capturing the export market.