Viz-A-Viz with Shravan Sampath, Founder, Oakridge Energy Solutions

Q. As an EPC how do you see the growth journey of solar in past few years?

Government of India has set an ambitious target of 40,000 MW of rooftop solar capacity to be achieved by 2022. While this is ambitious, it is not impossible to achieve either. The recent fall in the drop of module prices and the increased availability of capital subsidy has made it possible for large scale implementation of rooftop solar. As a country, we had a 100% increase in installed rooftop solar capacity last year (i.e. year ending March 2018). While this is encouraging, a lot more needs to be done to increase penetration over next few years to achieve our target.

Q. In next five years, what kind of opportunities you see in the domestic solar market?

Shravan Sampath

Shravan Sampath, Founder, Oakridge Energy Solutions

The present installed rooftop solar capacity is about 2500 MW (as on March 2018). The market broadly consists of three segments – residential, commercial and industrial (C&I) and government.

Each of these segments is about roughly 35% each. The C&I and government tenders market has been in growth mode for the past few years and has attained momentum.

However, it is clear to us that the residential market (both individual homes and residential societies) are the single largest opportunity in the rooftop solar sector over the next few years.

Q. In present scenario, are there any bottlenecks you face during the development process of a solar project?

Presently, there are two major issues in our business (rooftop solar) – obtainment of net-metering, as well as obtainment of capital subsidy. Once these issues are resolved, we can expect rapid growth in rooftop solar.

Q. How do you solve the issues related to finances?

In any infrastructure business, efficient financing is the need of the hour. In our specific vertical (rooftop solar), there are no ready frameworks for financing and no agencies have taken a lead in providing a financing framework for quick lending. We are working with leading financial institutions in creating frameworks for financing solar rooftop projects.

Q. While dealing with project owners how do you manage the cost factor?

Cost factor is a major determinant of success in rooftop solar projects. We have three mantras for cost optimization –

  • Efficient design
  • Large volumes in procurement to drive down prices
  • Turnaround time

By following these three mantras religiously, we work to keep costs down, while delighting the customer with the quality of our work.

Q. Do you find sufficient skilled manpower as per your requirement?

Skilled manpower is always an issue in India. We are working with leading skill development institutions to ensure availability of adequate skilled manpower. Considering limited expertise in the market, we are going to campuses to recruit and then we intend to train the manpower according to the requirements of the sector.

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Manu Tayal

Manu is an Associate Editor at Saur Energy International where she writes and edits clean & green energy news, featured articles and interview industry veterans with a special focus on solar, wind and financial segments.