INDUSTRY JEWEL: Gyanesh Chaudhary, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Vikram Solar

Mr Chaudhary founded Vikram Solar in 2005 and successfully led the firm to become a leading photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturing, EPC solutions and Operations & Maintenance (O&M) services provider globally.

December 15, 2022. By Manu Tayal

Education and Background:

Mr Gyanesh Chaudhary is a business graduate from the University of Wales, UK & studied Business Transformation and Strategy and International business from Harvard Business School, the USA. He has studied Marketing and International Trade from The University of Boston.

Work experience across the industry:

Mr Chaudhary founded Vikram Solar in 2005 and successfully led the firm to become a leading photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturing, EPC solutions and Operations & Maintenance (O&M) services provider globally. His vision and business leadership has been instrumental in enabling the global clean energy transition.

Under Mr Chaudhary’s leadership, Vikram Solar has become one of India’s largest solar module manufacturer and a leading solar energy solutions provider. His entrepreneurial zeal has also given shape to VSL Ventures and VIKI AI, two key areas of business under the Vikram banner, dealing in futuristic businesses such as - Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

He holds prominent positions across various industry bodies. He is the Co-Chair of the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) National Expert Committee on Energy and is a member of the ICC Hydrogen Mission. He is also a member of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Atmanirbhar Bharat Committee, National taskforce on One Sun One World One Grid (OSOWOG), QUAD and the CII India CEO Forum for Clean Air.

Company’s Work Goals and Achievements:

Vikram Solar commenced its manufacturing operations in 2009 with an annual rated production capacity of 12 MW. The company has increased its capabilities to a cumulative annual rated production capacity of *2.5 GW (as on 31st December 2021 and inclusive of trial production i.e. which is not yet commercially available) across our factories located at Falta SEZ, Kolkata, West Bengal and at Oragadam in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

It has also expanded its global footprint through a sales office in the USA and a procurement office in China and has supplied solar PV modules to 32 countries. It is among the top five EPC players as per installed EPC base in India, with experience in executing over 300 projects of 1.42 GW cumulative capacity. The company also has an established sustainable O&M practice covering projects of over 900 MW, with an increased focus on predictive maintenance through real-time analytics and artificial intelligence.

Over the years, it has received various awards including India’s Leading Brand Rising Star award in 2020; CII Award for Customer Obsession in 2019; Tier 1 manufacturer classification from BloombergNEF in Q1 2014; ranked 32 on Fortune India’s Next 500 list (2020 edition); ‘Top Performer’ in the PV Evolution Labs (PVEL) PV Module Reliability Scorecard 5 times in last 6 years; etc.

First achievements in the solar sector in India:
• In 2013, Vikram Solar became the 1st company to contribute to the solarisation of the World’s 1st fully solarized airport in Kochi, Kerala.
• In 2014, Vikram Solar designed, installed and commissioned India’s 1st ever floating solar plant in Kolkata, WB.
• In 2017, Vikram Solar became the first company to feature in the PVEL report.

The company is also planning to establish a new 2 GW facility in Gangaikondan, Chennai (Tamil Nadu) for the manufacturing of solar PV modules with backward integration with solar cells of 2 GW. It has also submitted a bid for setting up an integrated capacity of 3.6 GW of solar modules and solar cells under the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for High Efficiency Solar PV Modules to Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Limited (IREDA).

Industry Outlook:

The outlook for solar sector both in the Indian and global markets on the back of government’s policy push, climate action commitments and carbon-neutrality goals coupled with China+1 strategy to diversify supply lines offers immense opportunity for indigenous solar PV module manufacturing. India is expected to play a larger role in the global supply chain.

The target of 500 GW renewable energy by 2030 and India’s net zero emission target by 2070 announced at COP26 brings incredible new opportunities for green energy growth. Over 60% of this 500 GW target capacity i.e. 280 GW would come from solar. Considering India currently has 57 GW of solar installation, we need to install 25 – 30 GW/year of solar energy in the next 8 years.

A key enabler to achieve this target is to scale-up and build and robust domestic RE manufacturing ecosystem. This will have a multiplier effect on the economy in terms of creating jobs, increasing exports, and achieve India’s Energy security. The Government’s consistent and focused policy initiatives to strengthen India’s RE manufacturing sector, boost the domestic solar eco-system and reduce India’s import dependence will accelerate the clean energy transition.
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