Interview: Manish Gupta

Manish Gupta,
Managing Director at Insolation Energy
 

“We have plans in place to double our capacity to 200 MW by next fiscal”

There is a clear need for restricting cheap imports and boosting domestic manufacturing. Apart from cells and modules the Govt. Should support setting up of silicon ingots and wafers manufacturing units hence achieving vertical integration. The total self reliance can be achieved only by having complete control over the entire value chain. We also need to invest in the research and development of new technologies so as to come with new highly efficient innovative products. To capitalise on this opportunity we have plans in place to double our capacity to 200 MW by next fiscal, believes Manish Gupta, Managing Director, Insolation Energy Pvt. Ltd., in an exclusive conversation with Manu Tayal, Associate Editor, Energetica India. Gupta discussed on various topics including the impact of various policy initiatives taken by the govt, his company’s plans under Make in India initiative, suggestions for the policy makers etc.

“Being a domestic solar module maker how do you brace yourself amidst government’s call for Atmanirbhar Bharat?”

As per the Ministry estimates, the current capacity of the domestic solar cells and modules manufacturing meets only half of the country’s demand. Presently, the solar cell manufacturing capacity is 2.5 GW and another 5 GW is under construction. A further 3 GW has been approved. The solar modules manufacturing capacity is comparatively better at 8 GW. There is a clear need for restricting cheap imports and boosting domestic manufacturing. Apart from cells and modules the Govt. Should support setting up of silicon ingots and wafers manufacturing units hence achieving vertical integration. The total self reliance can be achieved only by having complete control over the entire value chain. We also need to invest in the research and development of new technologies so as to come with new highly efficient innovative products. To capitalise on this opportunity we have plans in place to double our capacity to 200 MW by next fiscal.

“As still the significant market share has been enjoyed by overseas players, what will be your strategy to expand the market presence?”

As of now we were focusing on the Domestic Market through capacity expansion, now we are also upgrading and incorporating new equipments for technology upgradation to expand the market presence. We have one of the best testing equipments for quality assurance and product upgradation. Along with this, we regularly organize the Product and process Training for our staff by internal and external agencies. As with international trends the Indian market is also seeing a trend shift from poly to mono perc modules. Keeping an eye on this our new expansion plans are already braced up for new technological introductions. Further we are already exploring export opportunities and are in touch with few overseas clients for this. We are planning to enter into mid East Asia, Africa & selected European countries.

“Recently, government included solar manufacturing sector as well under performance linked incentive (PLI) scheme. How do you evaluate this step?”

This is a welcome step in the right direction not only for solar but for other sectors as well. These kinds of policies will help in up gradation of existing manufacturing set up and will also ensure investment in new technological advancements. This is going to improve efficiency in productions as well as product quality, further bringing down the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE).

“Also, the scope of PM-KUSUM scheme has been expanded by the government. Do you feel it will help domestic module manufacturers in expanding their market reach?”

The renewable energy ministry has expanded the scope of Pradhan Mantri-Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM) scheme to enable greater solar energy generation in the farm sector. The ministry has amended the guidelines of the scheme based on the learning from its implementation during the first year. The Union Budget 2020 has laid a major emphasis on use of solar energy for farming under the ambitious PM-KUSUM scheme with Finance Minister extending the scheme’s implementation with new targets. These kinds of initiatives will definitely give boost to domestic manufacturing sector. We strongly believe that domestic manufacturers are fully capable of meeting this demand through the supply of quality products.

“Besides PV modules, which areas have significant manufacturing scope in solar sector within the country? Explain.”

As Indian solar industry is heavily dependent on Chinese imports and COVID-19 outbreak has severely impacted installations, it is necessary to focus on improving domestic manufacturing. As much as 80 per cent of the demand for solar cells and modules are being met by imports from Chinese. The need of the hour is to have domestic manufacturing setup for entire value chain from silicon to wafer to cell and then to modules. As of now we don’t have any manufacturer of silicon and wafers in India. To make India self reliant in solar we need to have complete domestic manufacturing set up.

“What is Insolation Energy’s production capacity till date and any further expansion and investment plans?”

We have already doubled our manufacturing capacity this year. We plan to add new machinery of 200MW by next fiscal capable of manufacturing MBB high wattage Panels, Bifacial and twin Peak. We already have separate set up for cut cell modules and full cell modules.

“In your view, on which pointers now government need to focus amidst Covid-19 scenario to provide further boost to the solar energy sector?”

COVID-19’s impact on our lives and economy has been earth shattering. The lockdowns and restrictions have sent the global supply chain in disarray and have halted industrial growth.
The present scenario perfectly reflects the Government of India’s bold and decisive initiatives to make India a manufacturing hub and claim the export market, while satisfying the in-house requirements. Initiatives like Make in India, the introduction of SEZs, increasing export incentives, launching phased manufacturing programme (PMP) and Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme will help India in becoming a manufacturing hub. Rationalisation of tax structure, long term clear cut policies and restrictions on cheap imports will further give fillip to domestic manufacturing. India’s best chance for a phenomenal revival is also within one of these initiatives.

Interview 16/12/2020 by Manu Tayal
 
 
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