In Conversation with Mr. Bhavesh Modi, Director, Sanelite
Tell us about the current installed capacity of the company.
We are seeing a sharp growth of sale this year with supply of more than 10 MW pv modules across the country and closing more than 5 MW EPC / rooftop projects in this year. We are in process of enhancing our production capacity and very soon it will be doubled. We also have a bit of supply overseas to Singapore and in Middle East Asian countries. From initial focus on Gujarat, we are now rapidly covering whole of India with our increasing sales and service presence.
Tell us more about the latest innovations in your product and solution offerings for the Indian market.
While the PV module manufacturing space is where we have seen a constant technological change ranging from number of bus-bars to merlin technology, we are striving hard to keep ourselves upgraded. We have already tested and embedded the latest technological innovations in solar PV modules space. We recently launched the highly efficient mono- PERC modules, bi-facial modules and binary modules – modules with half-cut cells.
2018 has been volatile. Can you give us an insight of the highs & lows of the company? How imposition of safeguard duty on import has helped the domestic manufacturing sector?
Definitely. 2018 has seen two major issues going to and fro between various parties – the implementation of Safeguard Duty and requirement of BIS standards. Clarity of safeguard duty was less detrimental than uncertainty on the safeguard duty. Since now it’s already there, what we have seen till now in the market is that safeguard duty is not impacting much of the bigger EPC players. On PV modules making front, the safeguard duty along with decline in prices of Chinese products, has reduced the overall prices and have made our products competitive.
On EPC or Rooftop front, being one of the leading channel partner for GEDA, we have seen the tides of the Gujarat market from close. While GEDA supported residential rooftop program boomed in 2017-18, the subsidy was stopped abruptly sometime in Dec 17. This has impacted the momentum of solar rooftop a lot. However, GEDA has again reopened subsidy for solar roof top system in Sep 2018, and we are expecting surge in the rooftop market.
Are you content with the progress of the Indian solar industry and the new policies being introduced by both state and central government? What more would you like to expect from the government policies?
What we like about the current government policies are that they are highly progressive in nature and made keeping in mind the Indian business. The recent examples we have seen are the enforcement of safeguard duty and the requirement of BIS certification. After lots of ups and downs, we finally see what’s there now, which helps up making better decisions for our business. Another policy issue that’s catching everyone’s attention now is the GST issue. Let’s hope it gets resolved soon in a positive manner.
On a different note, the policies adopted at national level are highly effective, but the implementation in true spirit is lacking in some states. Approval of captive and open access projects, reliefs for change in law, power curtailment/shutdowns of substations are few areas that the government policies should focus and provide relief to the developers. Government announced subsidies also take long time to materialize which is one more issue to be looked upon.
Rooftop has been a growing segment. Do you see more business from the off-grid market in India over the next 5 years?
Rooftop projects are beneficial to both – consumers as well as discoms, as the ever rising need of electricity can be catered from right where it’s needed. Off grid market has huge growth potential especially in remote villages, hills and farms which are still not directly connected to the national grid. The maturity of storage technologies and availability of cost-effective storage solutions hopefully will make off-grid applications more desirable. Additionally, government programs such as Saubhagya Yojna will help boost the momentum.
How do you plan to achieve national expansion of your company? Where do you think the major challenges lie in this expansion process?
We do have a strong 20+ franchisee network all over Gujarat. We are in process of replicating similar model across India. With an established sales presence in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra, we already have succeeded in adding some of the major centres including Delhi NCR, Bangluru and Jharkhand in our list. We are already geared up to cater to rising demands with our constantly improving products, new catered and specific product launches in the fiscal, stricter manufacturing processes and even better customer service experience for our customers.