EQ In Exclusive Conversation With Mr. Rahul Bhutiani , Head of Sales & Marketing , Adani Solar- EQ Mag Pro
1. Please brief our readers about your solar journey.
In 2017, Adani Solar became the first company in the world to start a Greenfield Project of GW scale at Mundra, with its platinum-rated manufacturing facility of 1.2 GW of Solar PV cells & Modules. This setup was enhanced to 1.5 GW in 2019. This facility has been successfully catering primarily to the Domestic Markets – Residential Rooftop projects, Groundbased IPP projects, Solar Parks, and even the Agricultural Solar Pump projects under the KUSUM scheme. Adani Solar has been a consistent performer not only in terms of volumes in manufacturing but also in terms of Market Share – consistently being the largest and the most prominent Indian Player against the onslaught of Chinese manufacturers.
Adani Solar prides itself in having created a very robust Retail Distribution Network across all states of India that ensures Adani Solar Modules reach every nook & corner. We pride ourselves in holding a 50% market share in residential retail and KUSUM markets.
In 2022, Adani Solar expanded its capacity by adding a 2 GW line. With this capacity addition, Adani Solar has brought to India the state-of-the-art, contemporary MonoPERC technology that is capable of delivering highefficiency modules thereby making Solar projects more viable. With these, Modules Adani Solar is now serving the domestic and international markets very efficiently and effectively.
Adani Solar is the only Indian manufacturer to be awarded Top Performer by DNV-GL PVEL Global Reliability Testing for five consecutive years (2018 to 2022).
2. Which are the advanced technologies that have been adopted in your products and processes? / What kind of products and new technologies you are going to launch in this or next year
The capacity expansion of 2 GW that is already done is with the latest MonoPERC Technology that is capable of giving us high-efficiency Modules. The manufacturing set-up is flexible and can work with both 182 mm and 210 mm cells thereby offering Modules in the bin range of 535 -660 Wp. We are also setting up the associated Cell line which will again be flexible and capable of manufacturing cells of 182 mm and 210 mm.
Interestingly our MonoPERC lines are also capable of being upgraded to n-type TOPCon technology thereby further enhancing the efficiency of modules we can offer to the market.
Adani Solar has also set off an expanding capacity by another 2 GW by bringing to India, the N-type TOPCon technology with its futuristic technology and is capable of further enhancing the Module efficiencies.
3. What makes your product the best fit for any kind of requirement?
At Adani Solar, our attempt has been to have better control on the supply chain – which gives us the ability to ensure the best quality of the product. We have and continue to build out integrated Cell and Module capacities. We have also set up an ancillary eco-system to ensure supply chain independence for other critical components of the Module – like Aluminum Frame, Back-sheet, POE, Glass, etc.
Adani Solar Modules are ALMM approved and have all the requisite national and International Certifications for them to be accepted for any type of deployment – Retail, Commercial, Industrial, and IPP.
4. What are your growth and expansion plans for the next couple of years?
Adani Solar will be expanding capacities with the latest Technologies. With MonoPERC technology we have 2 GW of Cell and Module capacities. We are already underway with an expansion of another 2 GW which will be based on the n-type TOPCon technology. This facility will be operational by Mid-2023. As a vision, Adani Solar intends to have, over the next few years, a fully integrated capacity of 10 GW starting from Polysilicon up to Modules.
The ancillary eco-system will also be appropriately expanded to support the 10 GW capacity. Once completed, this facility will maybe the world’s only fully integrated 10 GW Solar PV manufacturing capacity with the entire ancillary eco-system co-located.
5. How do you see India’s solar sector progressing in the next 5 years? How do you see Adani Solar contributing to the sector during this time?
We at Adani Solar, believe that the Solar industry in India is poised for an orbital change. The Government, regulators, manufacturers, the developers are working in tandem to ensure India meets its ambitious (but achievable) targets for Renewable Power.
The solar industry is capable of taking India to Energy Security while helping decarbonize the Power Generation industry in India. India is currently the 3rd largest market for Solar Industry behind China and USA, and we will continue to hold our position in near future too. The solar installations in the country are expected to grow exponentially in the next 5 years and Adani Solar is geared to support this massive growth. Adani Solar will continue to hold a dominant market share going forward too.
6. What kind of pricing and technology roadmap do you see coming through in the industry?
The industry has seen unprecedented price increases last year on the back of an all-time increase in Polysilicon prices. With a lot of new polysilicon capacities coming on stream now, it is widely expected that there would be pressure on prices, and we may soon see a downward trend in prices for the industry. This will augur well and help boost the growth in the industry.
In terms of technology, the industry is gravitating towards higher and higher module efficiency. The current favorite, MonoPERC technology will likely rule the roost over the near future. TOPCon and HJT are the technologies that are maturing very fast and will be the technologies that the world and India will work with in times to come.
7. How has the rupee devaluation affected the solar industry and your business?
The Indian solar industry is reeling under pressure created by rising raw material prices primarily driven by the Polysilicon price spurt and commodity prices surge. The World’s geo-political situation triggered rises in Crude prices and that has led to an impact on our Rupee. This devaluation has resulted in a further impact on Module prices since a lot of the raw materials are imported and lead to a very strong linkage to dollar Rupee movements
To the extent a company exports its products, there could be a natural hedge against dollar Rupee fluctuations. However, for domestic sales, the impact of the dollar Rupee movement is Challenging.
8. What kind of growth do you see coming in the residential sector demand?
The Indian Government has been very proactive in creating a very positive environment for the Residential Rooftop Solar market. The schemes announced and implemented and also under implementation are very generous and should ensure good participation by the Residential sector. MNRE’s grid-connected rooftop solar program is aiming for residential installation of 4 GW and offers a 40% subsidy for the first 3 kW of generation capacity in residential rooftop systems. Estimates suggest that Residential Rooftop installations are only 17% of total rooftop solar capacity and just 2.9% of the nation’s total solar capacity. Only around 0.5% of independent urban homes have installed rooftop solar which clearly shows the potential for Rooftop Solar in the residential sector. The major deterrents till now have been consumer inhibition and low awareness about the technical, financial, and operational aspects of installations, and the industry and Government are addressing this appropriately.
9. What are the cost and raw material challenges for solar modules and solar
China’s share in the entire supply chain – all stages from Polysilicon to Modules is in excess of 80% and for wafers is as high as 95% plus. Economies of scale, supply chain integration, innovation, and significant government support for the last 2 decades have made China a formidable force in the Solar Supply Chain. As a result, India like most other countries around the world is dependent on Chinese imports (wafers, cells, etc.) for Solar Module Manufacturing. This dependence does not augur well for the industry – always susceptible to disruption in availability and prices.
Our governments intentions through the PLI scheme is clearly to slowly and steadily move away from this dependence on Chinese imports by encouraging the Indian Industry to create a domestic fully integrated supply chain that is capable of effectively meeting the Domestic Demand.
10. Adani solar has expanded its business from manufacturing to retail distribution. What is the company’s strategy for the domestic market? Please explain.
Adani Solar PV modules should be available to every individual customer across the country. In keeping with this objective, Adani Solar has built out a very robust Retail Distribution network comprising over 20 Authorized Channel Partners, over 50 Resellers, and through these partners, a reach of over 2500 Integrators across the country.
Adani Solar is committed to serving the domestic market wholeheartedly.
11. Shed some light on Adani’s plans of developing domestic supply chain/backward integration including timeframe, investment etc.
The major setback faced by the Indian solar industry is the supply side constraints like the shortage of polysilicon, and glass, basically, the supply of raw materials required for the manufacture of cells and modules, increase in steel prices, aluminum, copper, silver, shortage of containers, freight spiral. India has no option but backward integrate and build capacity for manufacturing the whole spectrum of Solar PV supply chain domestically to mitigate the risks arising from the supply chain constraints.
Adani Solar has ambitious plans for the same. The backward integration at Adani solar will start with starting with 2GW Ingot, 2GW Wafer along with cumulative 4GW cell and 4GW module by January 2024. And by January 2026, we look forward to becoming a 10GW Fully integrated Solar PV manufacturer from Polysilicon to Module. To support this massive upscaling and integration,
we shall also develop a comprehensive ecosystem of ancillary units like Glass, EVA, Backsheet, etc. to reduce our import dependency and ensure a seamless supply of all the key raw materials.