EQ In Exclusive Conversation With Mr. Prashant Mathur, Chief Executive Officer – Saatvik Green Energy Pvt Ltd
1.What are your views on the proposed BCD on Module/Cells Import in India?
The proposed imposition of BCD on modules and cells is a welcome step by the government because it gives an environment for manufacturers like us to look at expanding our capacities. And, also to bring in a lot of global manufacturers interest in setting up manufacturing in India because the market is already there. If the government policies are promoting manufacturing, then it creates an ecosystem for manufacturing as well as selling modules in India.
2. Please share your Product Road Maps – Pricing, Technology etc.
Currently, we are a 500 MW manufacturing company, and our manufacturing is in Ambala, Haryana. We are adding another 500 MW manufacturing in Ambala. So, it will be 1 GW in Ambala by September 2021. We are also coming up with Greenfield integrated cell and module manufacturing in Gujarat. That will be 2 GW manufacturing, and the first phase will be 1 GW. So, that is the plan in terms of capacities.
In terms of the product roadmap, currently, we are doing Mono and Poly and our new capacities which we are doing on Multi Bus Bar cut cells is 550 W panels and also 600 W panels. Going forward, our new capacity will also be 600W panels, and we want to bring in the latest technologies which are available globally and the latest products. So, we are very much on that.
3.World Market Scenario and its impact on pricing and availability of modules this year. Expected Pricing & Availability in this year and next year?
If you see, the world market was a little subdued in the last year because of the pandemic. In 2021, what we are seeing is that not only 2021 projects are being executed but also the projects of last year which got pushed into the year 2021.
So, what we are seeing is a huge thrust in demand globally. What we feel is that this year will be about 130-150 GW of installation globally which is quite a huge jump which means that demand will outstrip the supply, which will push the prices of cells and modules up to some extent (I will not say to a large extent).
Next year also, we feel it will continue because the USA also rejoined the Paris Climate Summit and also there is access liquidity because of the pandemic and enrollment issues. Globally, every country is looking at renewable energy much more actively than what they were doing earlier. We see that demand is going to increase year on year. We see the same for India as well.
4. What is the likely price trend, availability trend of solar modules in upcoming quarters?
We feel that because of availability and higher demand the prices will continue to be up or stable. We don’t see that going down until the next financial year. Probably, it may not go down next year as well, but what we see is that 2021 will be little on the upper side.
The availability of solar modules is going to be challenged because so many new projects have been declared in India that availability will become a little difficult. Demand will be much more than what we can supply from India.
5. How much modules have you supplied to India till now, what is the target/expectation for this year and next year?
Up till now, we have done close to around 300 to 500 MW. This year, our expectation is that we are going to double our sales. Also, with the expansion, our expectation is that we will be doing close to 80-90 per cent of using our capacity.
We expect around 350-400 MW of module supply this year. Next year again, we would be doubling because of the new capacities and the new facility will be coming in Gujarat. So, next year target is definitely close to 1GW modules.
6. Kindly enlighten our readers on the performance of your modules in India in various geographic locations, customer feedback.
Our performance of the modules, if you see radiation level, Gujarat, Rajasthan and some parts of Madhya Pradesh have fairly higher radiations, so obviously modules perform better in these areas. Our modules have very strong capabilities against high temperatures.
So, the temperature coefficient performance is quite good on our modules. Actually, customer satisfaction is the foremost part of our ethos. We feel that a happy customer makes a happy or growing company. We take customer feedback very carefully. And, after-sales and customer satisfaction is our prime importance.
7. Kindly comment on policies and regulatory aspects like BCD, BIS, ALMM etc.
Post-SDG, there isn’t much clarity on policies from August 1 until April 1, 2022. Everybody has a different point of view on that- what is going to be the policy and regulatory aspect in the next nine months. Going forward, the announcement of Basic Customs Duty is a very welcome step.
BIS and ALMM are also very welcome steps because I have always said that solar modules are electrical products. And you cannot buy a product that has to last 25 years from a manufacturer who may not be able to give you after-sales support or warranty claims if you have quality issues. So, ALMM is a very welcome move from the government.
I think the scope of ALMM should be even wider- that all net-metered projects should be from ALMM manufacturers. In some way, net-metered projects are also, the government is indirectly subsiding the energy there as well. So, I think that government has to ensure that ALMM and BIS are mandatory for any net metering project in India. We welcome that. Also, the PLI scheme is a very welcome move from the government because we need to have our dependency going off from China from Wafer and Polysilicon.
8. What are your plans to ramp up or set up or grow your manufacturing base in India in light of the Proposed BCD?
Before BCD comes, we are going to be ready with our new greenfield project manufacturing in Gujarat, where we are setting up a 2 GW integrated cell and module manufacturing. The area which we have taken, we will be ramping it up to 5GW in future.