EQ In Exclusive Conversation With Mr. Amit Barve, Business Unit- Head of Solar At Panasonic Life Solutions India Pvt. Ltd.
- Proposed BCD on Module/Cells Import in India…What are your views on this
The proposed announcement of applicable duty on solar cells and modules w.e.f. from 1st April 2022 well in advance has been a welcoming change. For the stakeholders, this window is very useful especially, for ensuring strategic planning and being mindful of the impact duty on imports post 1st April 2021. In the short term, we would see a spike in the import of solar cells and module in a big way to secure imports for the projects which are already planned with imported components. Also, would like to see that these components are in India before the duty is levied. In the mid-term, this is a tremendous opportunity for Indian stakeholders who have been sitting on fence of a decision whether they should invest in the manufacturing of solar components now or at a later stage.
Currently, we have perfect conditions making choice for investing in the manufacturing very easy like:
– Market with the huge pipeline (in GWs) of projects in various stages of execution
– Tremendous commitment and support from the government of India for market growth in the coming years
– Long term visibility of market &
– Long term Policy and commitment for the deployment of solar energy
We have already seen a spurt of investment announcements in solar manufacturing in India and, this trend will only go upward in the coming year ahead. In the Long term, this would help the sector with the growth of the ecosystem related to the solar industry getting established in India reducing our dependence on imported components to a larger extent.
- Please share your Product Road Maps – Pricing, Technology …
In the solar business, we would continue to expand our business in two broad areas
- Firstly, expand our footprint in offering solutions to C&I customers for behind-the-meter projects PAN India basis using our locally made high-quality solar modules over and above our imported offerings.
- Secondly, we would continue building on product business by expanding the range of solar modules from Poly to Mono PERC and high wattage options thru half-cut Mono Cells. We are also expanding our product basket beyond modules to other solar products like Solar String Inverters, Street lights, and DIY Residential kits. All these products would be launched with Panasonic assured quality as well as services.
- All products being serviced currently and would be introduced in the coming days would be in the “Value for money” category.
- World Market Scenario and its impact on pricing and availability of modules in this year. Expected Pricing & Availability in this year and next year?
We foresee that solar installations worldwide would continue to rule the energy mix in newly added power generation capacity y-o-y for the coming years. As more and more countries are getting are on track and getting aligned in fighting climate change and working towards reducing carbon emission demand for solar energy would remain a priority for growth. With the rapidly changing technology roadmap and time required to adopt them commercially, demand and supply would remain unbalanced in coming months keeping prices of solar modules higher throughout the year including that for India. We expect prices to remain strong and firm in the current year.
- What is the likely price trend, availability trend of solar modules in upcoming quarters?
As compared to last quarter, availability of solar modules has improved substantially and would remain good in coming quarters. However, prices of solar modules would remain up and strong throughout this financial year on account of increased cost for raw materials and high shipping costs.
- How much modules have you supplied to India till now, what is the target/expectation in this year and next year?
We have been supplying and installing various types of solar modules in India like HIT, Poly-crystalline, and Mono Crystalline. So far, we have installed more than 200 MWp and, we plan to keep doubling our installed base y-o-y for the next few years.
- Kindly enlighten our readers on the performance of your modules in India in various geographic locations, customer
We are glad to share that our solar modules combined with various technologies have been installed across the length and breadth of the country including our neighboring countries. The performance of these modules is as per our set expectations and all our customers/partners are happy to work with us on a long-term basis.
- Kindly comment on policies and regulatory aspects like BCD etc.
In order to encourage, domestic producers of solar cells and modules on the government projects front the schemes like BCD, BIS, ALMM will definitely help in strengthening the local manufacturing efforts in India. For example, we already have the DCR scheme that ensures stakeholders use solar modules and cells Made in India. However, this is restricted to government projects and is not a criterion for private players. For the adoption of large-scale locally made solar components, there are several production-linked incentives in place that are getting enormous commitments from large corporates in India who are bidding for these schemes and winning large capacities of allocation in solar manufacturing. Therefore, the proposed imposition of BCD is beyond some of the key initiatives which are already implemented in India. Going forward, to strengthen local manufacturing initiatives we can introduce incentives related to R&D in advanced solar technologies, where there is a good scope of improvement. With an aim to focus on localization for production through “Atmanirbhar Bharat” we equally need to focus on capabilities, ecosystem and robust infrastructure for strong R&D to expand and elevate these initiatives.
- What are your plans to ramp up or set up or grow your manufacturing base in India in light of the Proposed
We would keep enhancing our local delivery capability every year with our OEM strategy well in place. This will be a great opportunity for Indian solar component manufacturers to consolidate their position not only in India but start building world-class manufacturing setups which can start exporting solar components across the globe. Also, this is the best time for Indian manufactures to collaborate or partner with international solar technology companies to give them access to the Indian markets through their local manufacturing routes. This can lead to a win-win situation ensuring that world-class technology can flow in India for creating state-of-the-art manufacturing setups and give access to technology companies to participate in the Indian market. With cost competitiveness and sustained access to the market, our local manufacturers would be able to scale organizations and soon can become world-class suppliers.
- Please describe in brief about your company, directors, promoters, investors, its vision & mission
Over half a century, Panasonic Life Solutions India (earlier known as Anchor Electricals) has managed to capture the minds of every consumer in India. Anchor and Panasonic Brands are committed to delivering products for the better safety and comfort of Indian citizens. The ideology of holistic quality management to improve product offerings has been a part of Anchor’s core business. Since 1963, Anchor is ‘Making in India’ and providing services that deliver social, economic, and environmental sustainability. Brand’s experience and understanding of the Indian market are unmatched in the field of electrical products.
With the innovative Japanese technology, today the brand delivers a seamless and extensive range of innovative products in electrical, lighting, and power segments. Apart from Solar, we are present mainly in six product categories, which include switches and wiring devices, wires & cables, lighting, IAQ, EV Chargers, switchgear, housing, and kitchen solutions.
Over the period, with a constantly expanding product range and growing market share, Anchor/ Panasonic is one of the largest domestic manufacturers of electrical construction materials. For over five decades, Anchor is a preferred solutions provider; winning flagship projects in Energy Management, Real Estate, Smart Cities, Intelligent industrial and residential infrastructure.
In 2007, Anchor and Panasonic’s collaboration resulted in advanced products that deliver a seamless customer experience and a vast range of innovative electrical, lighting, and ventilation solutions that exceed global standards. With extensive knowledge of the electrical construction material industry, Panasonic Life Solutions India has made substantial investments in channeling information that links to the company’s range of products. The aim is to drive customer centricity through increased focus on enterprise strategy, corporate culture, operational processes, and enablement of technology & performance measures that delight customers.
Over the years, Panasonic Life Solutions India has transformed into a business that provides complete solutions and services to its customers. In recent years the organization has also increased its operations in other categories like housing and solar. The alteration and synergy of Anchor and Panasonic articulate its vision to “Make a better, comfortable life with human-oriented solutions”.
- What are the top 5 markets for your company in the past, present and future
Mainly our focus is commercial & industrial customers in EPC projects and smaller system integrators in the trade space. We have been active only in quite a few states in India. Notably, the top performers for PLSIND are Maharashtra, Gujarat, Kerala, Karnataka, and NCR belt. Over and above these focused states, we are increasing our focus now on Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and soon we plan to expand our footprint in the Eastern part of the country.
- Explain various guarantees, warrantees, insurance, certifications, test results, performance report of your modules
Our solar modules carry industry-leading 12 years of warranty against manufacturing defects and 25 years of linear guarantee on power performance. Our modules are not only BIS certified but also certified for IEC and complaint to CE Mark as well as RoHS.
- Kindly highlight your product, technology & company USP’s, distinctive advantages etc
Solar business has been an integral part of Panasonic Life Solutions India Private Limited (PLSIND) since the year 2015. We initially started our Solar business in India for the distribution of imported Solar modules (HIT). Over a period, we started building our capability related to system business to deliver full turnkey solutions for setting up solar power projects. Till date, we have worked with multiple high-profile customers in India and have already completed the installation of over 65 MWp. We are amongst only Japanese solar EPC service producing company in India as well as only International solar module manufacturer having local manufacturing capability.
On the product side over and above HIT modules, we also introduced Poly as well as MONO solar modules to the Indian market followed up recently by even launching the “Made in India” offering and in DCR variant too. Going forward we are expanding our distribution network across the country and in process of adding multiple solar-based products to augment strength to our channels. With the successful launch of “Made in India” solar modules contributing to the “Atmanirbhar” initiative of the Government of India, we added another feather to our cap by starting exports of these solar modules to European countries and soon would add ASEAN countries to our list of exports.
Apart from our business of Solar unit, PLSIND also believes in sustainability as one of its core philosophies and we have been installing rooftop solar plants at our various manufacturing units in India.