Q. First and foremost, could you brief a little about Waaree’s current business presence in the Indian solar market?
Waaree has been a techno-leader when it comes to innovation in solar domain. Talking about company’s current business portfolio in the Indian solar market, Waaree has been ardently working towards delivering superior product line laden with advanced technologies. We have successfully made technologies like Merlin, Floating solar, and 5BB solar modules available worldwide. We now own around 150 centers all over the India to meet the ever increasing demand for solar solutions. With the expansion of our module manufacturing facilities across the country, Waaree is determined to become one stop solution provider not just for solar modules but major add-ons like inverters, mounting structures and data-monitoring & management solutions. We have also set up Waaree solar energy centers across the nation to make solar affordable and accessible to the masses.
Q. What are the technology progress and innovations added in the product line from Waaree for the Indian solar market?
As mentioned earlier, Waaree had already made its latest innovation – Merlin solar modules available in India. Said that, the US-based GT Advanced Technologies’ patented Merlin interconnect system has been incorporated into the production process of solar modules. The technology results in reduction in cost of modules by 10 percent. Merlin technology eliminates the use of expensive silver paste to string up cells. The result is 80 percent reduction in silver paste consumption, and a 10 percent overall reduction in the cost of producing the module. With this technology onboard, we have been successful in improving the efficiency and lower the cost of installing solar modules. The solar modules developed using Merlin interconnect system produce more power, are lighter and more durable & rugged. It also mitigates micro cracks and hot spots.
Waaree’s Merlin solar modules are being sought by Indian railways for rail coach rooftop installations and have found usage on e-rickshaws, which have aided in increasing the travel range and surging the battery life of the e-rickshaws. Currently, we are executing few orders in India and have started molding a small capacity of 20 MW, and expect more demand in future.
Q. With more and more global companies stepping in India, how does Waaree currently view the business opportunities shaping up in the Indian solar market?
No doubt, the global PV market is expanding and the competition is getting tough but there is still sufficient demand in India to match the supply. While most of the countries have entered the grid parity stage, India too is making itself prepared to reach the grid parity in next five years. On the other hand, India is a blessed nation with a good solar irradiation, and enjoys 300 plus sunny days in a year. This paves a path a for newer technologies and innovative products in solar PV in the coming years which will further lower the cost and provide better quality and efficiency to the market.
Right now, our main focus is on the Indian solar market, where we have not just diverted our operations towards delivering quality product line but are also focusing on the quality price ratio that fits the rigid PPA scheme announced by the government, benefitting not just the company but also the customers.
Q. Going forward, what does Waaree plans to achieve in next 12 months?
Waaree started its operations with a 30MW module manufacturing facility in 2007, which now has expanded to a 500MW capacity product unit. We now look forward to upgrade our manufacturing capacity to minimum of 1.2G and 1.7GW maximum capacity within FY 2017-18. In the last few years, we have invested considerable amount on Research and Development and have ensured that Waaree is laden with cutting-edge technology in order to manufacture highquality product line. The company is also looking forward to set up an inverter manufacturing unit in India.
We have raised $15.6 million funds in the form of structured finance and will infuse the much-needed capital for our expansion plans. The funding come at a crucial juncture, as we have partnered with Enphase Energy, a US-based solar microinverter company to develop AC solar modules for the Indian solar market. In next 12 months, we expect to see a boom in both commercial and residential solar. Our main focus is on the Indian market and we look forward to even redevelop our business strategies in order to be more fast and responsive to the new and growing demands of this thriving solar nation.
Q. With a growing competition from global companies, especially Chinese manufacturers- Quality, Costs and Performance have become crucial factors for the Indian solar module manufacturers. How are you addressing these concerns?
With our focus on efficiency and quality coupled with leveraging technology and innovation has helped us ramp up our business not just across India, but also worldwide. We, as a part of Indian solar industry believe in Price, Delivery on Time and Quality as our major strengths. Waaree has been engaged in R&D, engineering, innovating new & latest products and getting into more competitive businesses.