Solar Manufacturing In India Needs Risk Mitigation Urgently

Solar Manufacturing In India Needs Risk Mitigation Urgently

HQTS Helmsman (India) Quality & Technology Services Private Limited)  is a global supply chain solutions provider and third-party quality service provider, with a strong practice in the energy domain, including solar and wind energy. HQTS was founded in 1995 in China and is today known as one of Asia’s largest premier quality control companies. The company has, in recent years, rapidly expanded its global footprint and today has a regional office located in Delhi, India, dedicated to serving the company’s India and the rest of South Asia markets.

We spoke to Devnath Pillai, Assistant General Manager at HQTS (INDIA) to get a better picture on the firm and its operations in India.

Tell us about HQTS and its services for the solar sector.

HQTS Group has made its presence felt since 1995 and has efficiently managed its customers’ suppliers and supply chain processes for diversified industries worldwide. Our company is a one-stop supply chain quality solutions provider and a global third-party quality service provider with more than 4000 employees globally.

Mr PillaiAt HQTS, we strive hard to meet the personalized needs of its customers by providing flexible, efficient, and effective service. We are committed to performing duties in an independent, impartial and professional manner. While doing so, we consider the responsibility of the sustainable development of society and creating a better world for tomorrow.

We focus on the renewable energy domain that includes solar energy, wind energy, bio-energy, energy storage and electric vehicles and charging infrastructure. The relevant services that our company can provide in this domain include TPI technical service: that is supervision & inspection, factory expediting, port and container-loading supervision.

Additionally, procurement consulting services and supply chain management (Engineering Procurement Construction Management) for manufacturers, traders, buyers and importers in India.

With a major manufacturing push underway in solar manufacturing, where do you see the solar industry in India by 2025?

As of April 2022, India’s installed renewable energy capacity (including hydro) stood at 158.12 GW, representing 39.43% of the overall installed power capacity. India is targeting about 450 Gigawatt (GW) of installed renewable energy capacity by 2030– about 280 GW (over 60%) is expected from solar.

As per Union Budget for the year 2022-23, the Indian Government has allocated Rs.19500Cr (USD 2.57 Billion) for PLI Scheme to boost the manufacturing of high efficiency solar modules.

Additionally, the rising foreign investment in renewable sector (USD 75 billion investment from UAE) is expected to promote further investments in the country.

What are the biggest challenges in building a high-quality solar manufacturing supply chain?

The main challenges have to be raw material quality control, unskilled manpower, and poor installation practices, changes in technology, high project costs due to poor project design etc.

As most of the components come from overseas in bulk, Indian manufacturers have difficulties inspecting each component before dispatch due to various barriers they face when importing. The right material may not be received the first time around, requiring rework/replacement of material, causing a delay in delivery and increasing rework costs.

Inspections lead to support of a continual quality improvement philosophy, which results in increased productivity for companies, efficiency and profits by reducing rejection, waste, rework and customer complaints.

Are existing testing and checking facilities in the country enough to serve the capacity addition targets in solar?

There are approved test labs available in India, and they can expand further to support increased testing demand. However, there are a few professional service providers in solar supply chain ecosystem to support inspection and audits. HQTS has the expertise, and vast experience handling solar and related product inspection across the globe, and HQTS India is now dedicatedly expanding its footprint and Infra India to support customers in India.

What are the quality issues that HQTS has flagged most often when it comes to solar manufacturing?

It has to be the selection of low-quality products and products that do not meet the specified requirements. Quality control checks of all material and equipment purchased by contractual agencies at the manufacturing places before dispatch are vital. These can all be confirmed by pre-dispatch inspections through HQTS. After inspection of the consignment based on buyer or consignee requirements or standard/non-standard, testing results and all the details of the inspection activities are mentioned in a test report.

From polycrystalline modules earlier, to possibly 210mm cell,12 Busbar now. What are the risks of obsolescence for manufacturers in the sector. How can firms mitigate such risks today?

The technology in the renewable industry is constantly evolving. Because the industry is relatively new, many companies experience challenges like finding unskilled workers, selecting poor-quality products, and having poor-quality systems. However, it is important to note that these risks can be mitigated with proper raw material selection, a skilled workforce, foolproof manufacturing setup and a proper quality management system in place using the latest technology.

How critical are quality control measures in solar manufacturing?  What are the financial risks of making mistakes?

Quality control measures are critical. As you know, the PV module warranty is around 25 years, so the quality of performance is most important. Financial risk occurs while making mistakes as generation loss due to poor performance /breakdown. Rework, reinstallation, commission cost, operation and maintenance cost will be added.

How big is HQTS in India currently, and what are its future plans?

HQTS began its journey in India in the year 2008 as a liaison office followed by incorporation of Helmsman (India) Quality & Technology Services Private Limited in the year 2016 with Ministry of Corporate Affairs under RoC , Delhi.

HQTS India is on a mission to be the most competitive and trusted quality control provider in India and its core competencies lies in supply chain quality assurance services, which are constantly being improved to ensure that it provides the best-in-class services to its customers. Our passion to consistently deliver the highest in standards of service. Integrity, passion, and innovation are among the core values we continually strive for and which inform all aspects of our business.

Our future plans include increasing our physical presence across metro cities and tier-II cities in India.

What are the other offerings from HQTS in the renewable energy space?

HQTS provides a range of quality services according to relevant domestic and international regulations and standards, that includes:

  • Mass production management
  • Production technical support
  • Off-grid and on-grid power plant applications
  • Supplier assessment
  • Energy audit and management
  • Electrical safety and audits
  • Project risk assessment
  • Techno commercial due diligence
  • QHSE management
  • Factory inspection, port, container inspection etc.
  • NDT testing
  • Construction supervision
  • Risk-based inspection services

The key benefits of inspections are as follows:

1. Ensures the quality and quantity

2. Ensures the marking and packing of material as per buyer specification

3. Minimizes the risk of defective products

4. Ensures that prohibited goods are not used or sent by consignor in any consignment

5. Ensures that material is genuine and as per specified standards, which leads to minimization for costs incurred by the organization

HQTS is an exhibitor at the Renewable Energy India Expo 2022 booth number 7.217

To know more about HQTS India, click here.

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