Removing All Subsidies on Solar Will Have Zero Impact On Demand

Highlights :

So Says Deepak Pandey of INVERGY, as the solar entrepreneur spreads out further with storage solutions and hybrid inverters

After years in the solar EPC and distribution business, Deepak Pandey of GPES has made his next big move. As Director of UK-based INVERGY, Mr. Pandey has set his sight on the emerging market for storage and linked solutions, which hold great promise in his view. We caught up with him to understand more about INVERGY, the plans, and expectations for the future

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Q. Tell us about your association with INVERGY.

Deepak Pandey, Director, INVERGY

Deepak Pandey, Director, INVERGY

INVERGY Power Supply is a firm focused on the new opportunities in the renewable supply chain and market. These include dependable and high quality inverters, batteries and solutions backed by a credible team. We see a huge opportunity in the residential, and C&I segment especially, where customers will start looking beyond the initial price at factors like ease of maintenance, overall life and efficiency and more. With my experience in the sector, the move into storage and related areas was a natural fit, and I am hopeful time will prove it too.

Q. What has held back the growth of solar in residential and C&I segment so far? We see that even in the overall national targets, the largest miss has occurred here. 

The primary reason has been inconsistent policies. When you invest in a solar system, you are looking at a 10 year life, and in most cases, even further to 25 years. Policies that have changed regularly mean that both owners and investors have struggled to adapt fast enough, or make enough returns to justify a push. On top of that is our obsession with costs, probably more at the government and grid level, which distorts expectations. Today, I believe removing all subsidies on solar will make zero impact on existing demand, and in the medium to long term, even improve demand. That is because we have struggled to manage subsidies well, right from targeting them at deserving segments, to disbursing them on time or making the process smoother for all stakeholders.

Q. Tell us more about your own range of offerings from INVERGY, and how you have positioned them in the market?

We have a range of inverters from 3 kW to 12 kW. These come in on grid, off grid and Hybrid versions. We also offer a range of storage solutions starting from 3 kW to 12kW range that can be scaled upto 100kW as per the demand. The Battery Management System (BMS) we bring in is one of the best out there, offering unmatched flexibility and data for users. Flexibility in terms of charging system configuration at a future date, and data that can help you manage and get the best out of your system.

Q. With smart meters slowly spreading out, do you see opportunities for batteries on a stand-alone basis with Time of Day (ToD) billings etc? 

Of course we do, and we believe that will be one of the growth drivers for a large storage market by the time ToD billings spreads out. Because in that case, even with dependable power supply, a well-planned battery storage system can help you wring out efficiencies and savings by say, charging when the power cost is lower, and using that power when power costs go higher.

Q. With a very ambitious target for 2030, and massive new manufacturing capacity coming up in Modules , do you see the solar marketing chain changing soon from its usual direct sales led model?

Well, even the biggest module sellers have usually had distributors in India. I see that trend is only becoming stronger, with the need for a stronger retail presence through more dealers, as domestic manufacturers seek more customers. The smaller the deal, the higher the price elasticity too, so we should see more efforts at creating strong brands too, be it for products, or even for EPC’s, as we have seen in other evolved markets like the US, Australia etc. At INVERGY, we are in the process of expanding our footprint pan India with a strong distributor channel, along with, a dealer network under that.

Q. What are the targets you have for your first full year of operations? Do you plan to make in India too?

As you would be aware, key battery components like cells are mainly imported for now. What we do plan to do is assemble the rest of the battery here from next year, and with time, explore manufacturing too. Our target for year 1 is to sell 3 – 4 MWh of storage solutions.

Q. How big is INVERGY in India right now? Which are the other markets the firm is targeting?

The company has 15 employees worldwide including India, and our key markets will be Europe, Australia and the middle-east.

Q. In an increasingly crowded market, how do you plan to differentiate from the competition?

So far, the battery storage market and linked to that, Hybrid inverters, has been a tiny market. That has enabled many firms to offer so called customised solutions, linked mainly to the price the customer was willing to pay. Many times, that has led to very sub-optimal results for customers, and for the long term growth of the market too.

invergy inverters

We plan to change that with high quality products that are standardised because we see a large ready market now. I have many use cases of clients who have tried battery linked solar solutions, who are today open to a completely off grid solution. Then there is the market linked to ToD billing opportunities.

Finally, there is a massive captive power market, where, even as grid power availability improves, the potential to shift away from say, Diesel to a lithium ion backed storage + storage solution is  improving every day. Be it due to rising diesel costs and falling storage costs, to the demand for greener, more efficient solutions that we offer now.

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