Interview: Deepak Ushadevi

Managing Director & CEO at Ciel & Terre India

Ciel & Terre has been fully devoted to floating PV ever since

January 04, 2024. By Anurima Mondal

In response to the growing demand and in preparation for future endeavours, CTPS has expanded its manufacturing capacity from 250 MWp to 460 MWp in 2023.

Que: 2023: Unveiling Business Odyssey

Ans: Ciel & Terre has been fully devoted to floating PV ever since and its unique expertise and track record make the company the most experienced group in ‘floating PV’, thanks to ‘all-in-one’ solutions and high-quality services. Ciel & Terre’s teams are trained to adapt and respond smartly to the various needs in floating solar worldwide, as the demand is increasing each year. Bankability, reliability, proximity and flexibility are the key factors.

In 2006, Ciel et Terre embarked on a journey in the renewable energy sector, initially focusing on rooftop and ground-mounted solar projects.

In 2011, a pivotal moment occurred with the introduction of Hydrelio®, patented Hydrelio Classic, a floating solar solution capable of accommodating modules up to 300 Wp. Classic Hydrelio design with a Standard tilt 12°, and easy operations & maintenance are its major features. Building on this success, Ciel et Terre continued to push the boundaries of solar technology.

In 2015, we unveiled the Hydrelio Equato, designed to support 400 Wp modules, equatorial design with a fixed tilt 5° deg. It is designed for equatorial adaptation, anchoring control, providing cost-effective transport solution and optimised for 4 in a row configuration.

The year 2019 marked another milestone with the launch of Hydrelio Air 1280, a product capable of handling modules up to 500 Wp, demonstrating the company's commitment to staying at the forefront of solar energy advancements. Air Hydrelio design with 11° float with a racking system and extra ventilation was a cost-effective transport solution as well.

In 2019, Ciel et Terre once again raised the bar by introducing Hydrelio Air 1440, designed to accommodate modules with a capacity of up to 570 Wp. The company's dedication to innovation culminated in the ground-breaking release of Hydrelio Air Optim in 2023 which is capable of supporting modules with an impressive 670 Wp capacity.

Looking towards the future, Ciel et Terre is actively engaged in research and development, aiming to introduce solutions that can accommodate panels with capacities of up to 800 Wp by the end of 2024. This commitment to pushing the limits of solar technology underscores Ciel et Terre's role as a trailblazer in the renewable energy industry, contributing to the ongoing global transition towards sustainable and clean energy solutions.

With each product launch, Ciel et Terre reaffirms its dedication to driving innovation and shaping the future of solar energy. All these models have been tested to extreme wind at ONETA French aerospace, for wind tunnel testing and computational fluid dynamics, bending fatigue tested at IFP EB, UV corrosion test for 20+ years lifetime, and drinking water compliance with BS standards.

Some of the additional testing on the HDPE & colorant control, DQP, thickness control, cooling jig spec, dimension control, leak testing etc. have also been benchmarked in our design and innovation space.

In 2018, Ciel et Terre embarked on its Indian venture, and since then, the company has been making significant strides in the renewable energy landscape. The company's headquarters, situated in Manyata Tech Park, Bangalore, has been instrumental in overseeing the implementation of various capacity addition and expansion projects.

As of today, Ciel et Terre India (CTSP) has successfully commissioned projects across seven different states in India, boasting an impressive cumulative capacity of 120 + MWp. Moreover, an additional 140 MWp is currently under construction, with a flagship project of 120 MWp in phase 1 contributing to the ambitious 600 MW – phase 1&2, floating solar project led by RUMSL, solidifying its position as the world's largest floating solar initiative.

We have adapted the industry's best-known methods to ensure a smooth project lifecycle. We consider each project as unique and distinct and take it as a challenge to bring out the best.

We aim for a nation that is sustainable and efficient at the same time. To attain this, we believe the quality of work delivered plays an important role, followed by consistency and accuracy. We ensure that our team is committed to the quality and focuses on the project's requirements.

We developed SOP based on the BKM, available to enhance the best & safest practices which understands the reality perspective of site conditions, and adopts flexibility with numerous programs including internal quality mitigation plans and adaptive lean program and understand problems through multiple lenses.

The technology has evolved and is adaptive to the Indian market. We are developing different products to deploy in different site conditions and markets. We are the pioneer in the floating solar solution segment and we understand the competition. We do have market intelligence and we understand the dynamic of the market. Our strategy is to have a solution or product that can cater to the price-sensitive market and give a technical solution to any challenges. We want to excel in product distribution and market capturing. Product differentiation is the key here.

We have a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer's toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.

Que: 2024: Unlocking New Horizons

Ans: India's renewable energy sector continues to be a focal point for Ciel et Terre, as the company actively participates in tenders totaling over 2 GWp across different states, with expressions of interest (EOI) reaching a remarkable 4 GWp.

In response to the growing demand and in preparation for future endeavours, CTPS has expanded its manufacturing capacity from 250 MWp to 460 MWp in 2023. Looking ahead, the company has set its sights on a substantial 1.05 GWp capacity expansion by the end of 2024, signalling a commitment to fostering sustainable energy solutions and contributing to India's renewable energy goals.

India is the second most populated country, and we have a constant demand for energy and land. Considering this, we cannot depend on fossil fuels in the longer run and relying on green energy is the best choice the nation can make. There are also issues like scarcity of space, land disputes, legal issues, and acquisition delays, which is why floating solar turns out to be a better solution.

Floating solar is influencing the economic, environmental and social section better than other conventional renewable energy models. Being at the helm of a technology solution provider in the renewable energy segment for close to 2 decades and working on floating solar globally, opened the doors to a new market: floating PV, driven by a global need to produce clean energy in a more efficient and land-saving way.

Que: Navigating Growth: Ushering in New Trends

Ans: According to a recent report, the outlook for the Indian solar industry is generally positive. India has been actively working towards increasing its renewable energy capacity to meet growing energy demands, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and address environmental concerns. Here are some key trends in the Indian solar industry:

Corporate Renewable Energy Initiatives: Many companies in India, both domestic and multinational, have been investing in solar power as part of their sustainability and renewable energy goals. This corporate interest has contributed to the overall growth of the solar industry.

Foreign Investments and Partnerships: The Indian solar sector has attracted significant foreign investments and partnerships. International collaborations have brought in expertise, technology, and capital to support the growth of the industry.

Technological Advancements: Advances in solar technology, such as improvements in efficiency and storage capabilities, have played a role in making solar energy more competitive and reliable.

Falling Solar Module Costs: The cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules has been steadily decreasing, making solar energy more economically viable. This reduction in costs has been a key driver in the widespread adoption of solar technologies.

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