EQ In Exclusive Conversation With Mr. Darshan Pandya, Managing Director – India – Foxess
Mr. Darshan Pandya, Managing Director, India- Foxess in a dialogue with EQ talks about FoxESS, the technology and pricing roadmap, current opportunities, major challenges, energy storage and more.
1. How many Inverters have you supplied to India till now? What is the target or expectation for this year and next year?
FoxESS was launched in India in mid-2020. Having experienced management, we have supplied good numbers in India till now. Now we have become a well-known brand in the Indian market in a short time. We are thankful to our business partners, end-user customers in India who trusted us because of which we shipped more than 100MW of inverters in India. We anticipate significant growth in this year as well as next year.
2. Please share your Road Maps – Pricing, Technology, etc.
We believe that for long term business, the market needs reliable and cost-effective products. Keeping that in mind, we have an experienced R&D team from the best-reputed university across the globe. They are working for reliable and cost-effective products. The 30% of our total employees are in R& D.
Already, we have made significant improvements in the areas of inverter efficiency and lifespan. Thanks to pioneering design features, including a unique cooling system design.
On pricing, India is always a price-oriented market, but the trends have changed now, and the market’s focus is on quality and service. Similarly, we would prefer to offer superior quality products and a strong service first and then join a price war with our competitors.
3. What are your views on Inverters – Make in India
It will happen in time, and we anticipate that India will be a key global base for inverter manufacturing in the long term, but that process will take time. We are happy to see our partners set up inverter manufacturing facilities in India, and we are happy to support them with any mode like JV, TT, etc.
But this is a long process, a progressive process, in other words. What we are doing now is helping more partners/friends grow up together in India. Only if our partners grow, we can truly be a big company.
4. According to you, what are the current opportunities and biggest challenges in the Indian Solar Market?
Currently, there are too many inverter companies in the market offering low-quality products at the lowest prices. It is a race to the bottom, which isn’t healthy for the solar and storage sectors, and it is ultimately short-changing for the consumer as they are receiving sub-standard products and poor service.
At FoxESS, we take a long-term strategic view and believe that product quality and longevity is the key to building a sustainable business and establishing a brand presence.
The biggest challenge now is the shortage and price hike in raw materials, especially the global shortage of semiconductor material, high shipping cost and another post-pandemic factor that seems very challenging for the solar market. But like we all passed this pandemic positively, this also seems to be accepted positively.
5. Please describe in brief your company, directors, promoters, investors, its vision & mission.
Tsingshan Group is a Fortune Global 500 company, and it is the largest producer of stainless steel in the world. It has more than 56,000 employees and the annual sales revenues in 2019 was around 37.6 billion USD.
Tsingshan Group controls the complete production chain including nickel-chromium alloy smelting, battery material production, battery cell manufacturing, battery pack assembly and supply of energy storage systems to global markets.
The move into the renewable energy industry is a natural progression for Tsingshan Group, and it represents a significant economic growth point beyond the production of stainless steel. As the world’s largest stainless steel company, Tsingshan Group is a great, visionary company. It has set up a full industrial chain for lithium-ion batteries, and FoxESS is an extended application of its battery business.
We have mature inverter and storage products and solutions, and with the support of lithium-ion batteries from Tsingshan, we are in a powerful position for cost control – so we have a competitive edge. In addition, we have been granted unlimited support from Tsingshan for exploring markets and global expansion.
6. What is the size of your company in terms of manufacturing capacities, growth chart, future expansion plans, revenues, shipments, ASP’s, financial figures?
Tsingshan Group is a Fortune Global 500 company and is the largest producer of stainless steel in the world. It has more than 56,000 employees and annual sales revenues in 2019 of 37.6 billion USD.
We have two battery cell factories providing 21 GWh of capacity and two inverter factories- one in WUXI and another in Wenzhou, which have a total of 11 GW capacity.
We have on-grid inverter range from 1 to25 KW for the Indian market. Soon, we are coming up with the range up to 100 KW of on-grid market by this year and early next year with a range up to 250kw, having a good market share and a familiar name in India for the solar on-grid inverter.
7. How much is your R&D budget as in percentage of your sales/profits?
A: We are a new company launching a new brand and range of products into the market. So we’re at a key stage in our development, and a lot of thought has gone into what we need to do to successfully establish ourselves in the market. The answer to that is simple – the products. Invest in product development and the rest takes care of itself. The proportion of R&D investment is around 15-20% of the total company sales. This investment is key to our future success and we continue to attract leading engineers from the industry to join our team
8. What are the top 5 markets for your company in the past, present and future
A: India is always a key market for the company. The other markets are China, the USA, Germany, Australia and Poland.
9. Kindly comment on Energy Storage as a game-changer, its technology, cost trends, etc.
Energy storage seems to be a market that is picking up in India. The trends towards the storage of energy have changed in recent years. Having in house facility for lithium battery as part of the Tsingshan Group will be a good opportunity, and the vertically integrated supply chain is ideally placed to take advantage of this growth.
10. Explain various guarantees, warranties, insurance, certifications, test results, performance report of your inverters.
We have BIS for our on-grid range 1-25 KW, which is the key requirement for the Indian market. Our products come up with 7 years of warranty which can be extended with some cost.
As we have supplied more than 100MW inverters till now, we can say that the products are highly reliable for the Indian market. We have received very good feedback for our products and customers are very happy with the performance of the products.
We always welcome any feedback from our customers for the betterment of our products and services. We are thankful to our business partners in India who trusted our long term relations believed in us and make the Foxess a very common name for the Indian market.