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EQ In Exclusive Conversation With Mr. Sahil Kejriwal  – Managing Director – GSE Renewables India Pvt. Ltd

EQ In Exclusive Conversation With Mr. Sahil Kejriwal – Managing Director – GSE Renewables India Pvt. Ltd


Company Specific Questions

1. How much business have you done last Financial year in India?

During the fiscal year 2023-2024, GSE Renewables (GSER) achieved a noteworthy turnover of INR 72 Crores (Unaudited), marking an impressive 360% growth compared to the preceding fiscal year. Specifically, in FY22-23, GSER reported a turnover of INR 20 Crores. This upward trajectory underscores the company’s strategic advancements and its ability to adapt to market dynamics, positioning it for sustained success and growth.

2. What’s your target or anticipated business for this FY for India?

With our upcoming Open Access Parks along with our existing Rooftop portfolio, we are expecting to cross 80Crores in our turnover. Our target for the current fiscal year in India revolves around the strategic expansion of our business operations. GSER is shifting gears to broaden our offerings from On-site Solar to Off-site (Open Access) Solar, aligning with favourable regulatory conditions and market opportunities. This shift represents a proactive approach to fueling the growth of our business. Our primary focus this year is to consolidate our presence in the Off-site Solar segment and capitalize on the increasing demand within the Renewable Sector. To support this expansion, we are planning to strengthen our team, ensuring we have the necessary expertise and manpower to effectively meet the rising demand and deliver value to our clients.

3. What are your current product / technology / service offerings?

At GSER, our offerings span a wide spectrum of services within the renewable energy sector, tailored to drive the development, construction, and operation of sustainable energy projects. Our core services include:

i. Investment Banking and Management: We provide strategic financial guidance and management services to support the investment and financing needs of renewable energy projects.
ii. Project Development and Execution: GSE specializes in all aspects of project development, from initial site selection and feasibility studies to the turnkey construction of renewable energy installations.
iii. Asset Management and Advisory: We offer comprehensive asset management services aimed at optimizing the financial and operational performance of solar assets, including monitoring, reporting, optimization, and compliance management.

Our focus is on delivering efficient and innovative solutions, utilizing advanced technologies like drones and robotics for project maintenance and optimization.

4. What are the product launch plans for this year?

I would say that our current focus at GSE Renewables is directed towards Offsite (Open Access) Solar Projects, leveraging the favorable policies by DISCOM. We’re excited about our upcoming Solar farm dedicated to C&I customers, offering sustainability solutions with minimal investment requirements. Moreover, GSER has strategic plans to further expand our business operations.

5. What sort of pricing road map, demand – supply gap you anticipate for this FY?

In terms of pricing roadmap and demand-supply dynamics for this fiscal year, the renewable energy market presents a promising outlook. Globally, the market size has been growing significantly, with India ranking 4th in this sector. Projections indicate substantial growth, with the market expected to reach USD 3114.73 Billion by 2030, driven by a compound annual growth rate of 16.8% from 2023 to 2030.

In India, approximately 42% of total electricity consumption has transitioned to renewable energy sources, a trend that has been steadily increasing. The government’s focus on sustainability further reinforces this shift, with favorable policies from DISCOM encouraging the development of renewable energy infrastructure.Moreover, there’s a notable trend among businesses towards embracing sustainability, which aligns with the increasing demand for solar energy. Recognizing this trend early on, GSER has been proactive in accommodating the surge in demand for solar energy, recognizing its reliability as a renewable energy source.

6. Tell us more about your own professional journey, key learnings, key message from yourself.

Our journey started with a deep passion for renewable energy and a vision to contribute to India’s energy transition towards sustainability. We recognized the immense potential of solar energy in India and set out to harness it to drive positive change.Building a startup in the solar sector comes with its fair share of challenges, from regulatory hurdles to market fluctuations. We learned to be resilient in the face of adversity and to adapt quickly to changing circumstances. Flexibility and the ability to pivot when necessary have been crucial to our success.We place a strong emphasis on understanding and meeting the needs of our customers. By listening to their feedback and building strong relationships, we have been able to deliver value-added solutions that exceed expectations. Customer satisfaction is our top priority, and it drives everything we do. Lastly, Our success would not have been possible without the dedication and expertise of our team. We have assembled a talented and diverse team of professionals who share a passion for our mission. Investing in our team’s growth and development has been instrumental in achieving our goals.

7. Please tell us more about your company, directors in detail.

Our company is led by two directors, Sahil Kejriwal and Ajay Kejriwal. Sahil Kejriwal brings a wealth of expertise to the table with a B.Sc in Mechanical Engineering and Business Administration from Carnegie Mellon University, USA. He has further enriched his knowledge through executive education programs at renowned institutions such as Wharton, IIM, Flame, and ISB. With over 17 years of experience as a Consultant with McKinsey & Co. USA.

8. What Products are you displaying at REI this year?

– NA as we are service based company.

Market Specific Questions

1. What is the Opportunity in India Currently…in Terms of Projects in Tender, Pipeline etc…Opportunities in Manufacturing etc…?

Currently, India presents significant opportunities in the renewable energy sector across various fronts. In terms of projects, there is a substantial pipeline of tenders and projects in the renewable energy space, particularly in solar and wind energy. The government’s ambitious renewable energy targets and supportive policies, such as competitive bidding mechanisms and incentives, have spurred investment in renewable energy projects across the country. Additionally, there are opportunities in manufacturing, with initiatives like the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme aimed at boosting domestic manufacturing of solar modules, cells, and other components. This presents an opportunity for India to enhance its self-reliance in renewable energy technology while creating jobs and driving economic growth. Overall, India’s renewable energy sector offers a promising landscape for project development, manufacturing, and investment, positioning the country as a key player in the global transition towards clean energy.

2. What kind of market do you anticipate in 2024 in terms of Utility / C&I / Residential?

As of 2024, the Indian solar market is anticipated to see significant growth across utility-scale, commercial and industrial (C&I), and residential sectors. With increasing emphasis on renewable energy and sustainability, utility-scale solar projects are expected to continue expanding, driven by supportive government policies and declining solar module costs. The C&I sector is likely to witness rising adoption of solar power as businesses seek to reduce energy costs and meet sustainability targets majorly their ESG goals. Rooftop solar installations, both in commercial and residential sectors, are expected to gain momentum, aided by favorable net metering policies and improving technology. Overall, solar energy is poised to play a pivotal role in India’s energy landscape, providing clean and sustainable power solutions to meet the growing energy demands of the nation.

3. Which regions or states looks most promising to you for 2024?

For 2024, when considering solar energy prospects, Maharashtra emerges as the most promising region. This is attributed to several factors, including high tariff rates and favorable policies supporting both Onsite and Offsite solar projects. Particularly noteworthy are the recent policy developments such as the Green Energy Open Access Policy, 2022, and the MERC Open Access (Second Amendment), 2023. These policies have made it feasible for companies, even smaller firms, to opt for Open Access Solar with a minimum requirement of just 100 kWp. This accessibility is opening new avenues for smaller businesses aiming to adopt renewable energy practices and go green.

4. What’s your view on the Emerging Green Hydrogen Sector and Possible impact on Scalability of Capacity Addition of RE Assets in India?

As a CEO of a leading solar company in India, I see the emerging green hydrogen sector as a promising opportunity to enhance the scalability of capacity addition of renewable energy assets in the country. Green hydrogen like solar and wind power, offers a sustainable solution to store excess energy and address intermittency challenges. By integrating green hydrogen production with existing renewable energy infrastructure, such as solar and wind farms, we can optimize resource utilization and unlock new revenue streams. The adoption of green hydrogen has the potential to drive further investment in renewable energy capacity expansion, while also contributing to grid stability, decarbonization efforts, and economic growth in India.

5. How much manufacturing capacity India has in terms of Solar Modules, Inverters, Cells etc. and what’s your anticipation in capacity addition in 2024?

In terms of solar manufacturing capacity, India has made significant progress, boasting an annual installed high-end solar module manufacturing capacity of 60 GW.

India’s manufacturing capabilities have evolved rapidly, transitioning from less than 10 GW of low-wattage polysilicon modules in the financial year 2020-21 to the current 60 GW capacity, featuring high-wattage and technologically advanced Mono Perc, Topcon, and HJT modules.

As the demand for Indian modules, especially those listed under ALMM (Approved List of Module Manufacturers), continues to surge, new companies are entering the market. This influx of new players suggests a promising trajectory for manufacturing capacity growth in the upcoming year.

6. How does export market out of India looks like to yourself for 2024?

I anticipate a robust export market for solar products out of India in 2024. With the country’s growing manufacturing capacity and expertise in solar technology, coupled with favorable government policies promoting renewable energy, India is poised to become a significant exporter of solar modules, inverters, cells, and related components. By facilitating a conducive policy environment, including export incentives, trade agreements, and streamlined regulations, we can further stimulate the growth of India’s solar export market. Additionally, fostering collaborations with international partners and promoting Indian solar products through trade missions and exhibitions will enhance market penetration and competitiveness. Leveraging India’s strengths in solar manufacturing and project development, we aim to position the country as a leading exporter of solar solutions, contributing to economic growth, job creation, and global efforts towards sustainability.

7. What could be the major changes in market in terms of major policy and regulatory announcements in 2024 like New Open Access Rules etc.?

Major changes in the Indian Solar Policy shall be the ceasing of extension of ALMM rule and lowering the threshold of open access eligibility for consumers. Further Maharashtra is expected to release their circular for increasing the rooftop net metering limited to 5MW.
Also, GOI may raise the renewable purchase obligation (RPO) targets to further boost companies to go green

8. What’s the total installation in India for Zero Export Solar Plants, Open Access Plants and what is the market size in 2024?

– The cumulative installed solar capacity in the open access segment stood at 3.2 GW in 2023, making it the highest open-access solar capacity addition in a calendar year. Expectations are this size will experience a two-fold increase in the upcoming financial year.
– The extension of the Approved List of Models and Manufacturers (ALMM) order until March 2024 and falling module prices drove commercial and industrial (C&I) consumers to commission pending projects and sign new PPAs. Factors such as declining system costs, favorable policies and the green energy open access Rules in several states fueled solar installations through the open access market in 2023
– The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to introduce the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme in High Efficiency Solar PV Modules for Enhancing India’s Manufacturing Capabilities and Enhancing Exports boosting the manufacturing and developing capabilities

9. What kind of Solar Tariff Trends do you see coming?

The solar tariff trends are expected to continue their downward trajectory, driven by several factors. Firstly, advancements in technology and economies of scale are leading to lower manufacturing costs for solar panels and related equipment. Additionally, increased competition in the solar industry is driving companies to offer more competitive pricing to secure contracts.

Furthermore, supportive government policies and incentives, such as tax credits and subsidies for renewable energy projects, are further incentivizing investment in solar energy, potentially leading to more competitive tariff rates.
Overall, the trend suggests that solar tariff rates are likely to become more competitive and affordable, making solar energy increasingly attractive as a viable alternative to traditional energy sources.

10. Visible Changes in RE Industry w.r.t. Energy Storage, RTC, Hybrid RE Projects, Floating etc. and their likely impact.

I recognize the visible changes in the renewable energy (RE) industry, particularly in areas such as energy storage, real-time control (RTC), hybrid RE projects, and floating solar. These advancements, as highlighted by Mercom India, signify a transformative shift towards enhancing the reliability, efficiency, and versatility of renewable energy integration. Energy storage technologies offer the potential to mitigate intermittency issues, improve grid stability, and enable round-the-clock power supply. RTC solutions facilitate better grid management and optimization, ensuring seamless integration of variable renewable resources. Hybrid RE projects, combining multiple energy sources, maximize resource utilization and enhance project economics, while floating solar presents innovative opportunities for utilizing water bodies for solar power generation. Embracing these trends and technologies can unlock new avenues for growth and innovation in the solar sector, driving India’s transition towards a sustainable energy future.

11. What kind of growth do you see coming in the Residential Sector Demand?

DISCOMS have maintained their pattern of increasing their tariff every year. Along with introduction of National portal for rooftop solar by MNRE and subsidies from the government for this purpose, the demand in the residential sector is not much behind industrial and commercial sectors. With proper awareness of importance of use of renewable energy and monetary savings through use of rooftop solar system after considering our immense population, Indian residential market for Solar is experiencing an exponential curve towards self sufficiency in electricity.

12. What’s your expectations from the Government, Policy Makers and Regulators?

Our Expectation as a significant player in the rooftop C&I market from our respected Policymakers is of streamlined approval processes, transparent regulations, and consistent policies that promote investment and ensure a level playing field for all market participants. Additionally, initiatives to enhance grid infrastructure, promote domestic manufacturing, and provide incentives for renewable energy adoption will be instrumental in driving the continued expansion of the solar sector. Collaboration between industry stakeholders and policymakers is crucial to address emerging challenges and capitalize on opportunities for sustainable development.

13. What’s your expectations from the Industry Stakeholders?

I expect industry stakeholders to collaborate closely to drive innovation, efficiency, and sustainability in the solar sector. This collaboration should include sharing best practices, fostering partnerships for research and development, and advocating for policies that support the growth of renewable energy. Furthermore, I anticipate industry stakeholders to prioritize transparency, integrity, and ethical business practices to build trust and credibility within the sector. By working together towards common goals, we can accelerate the transition to a clean energy future and maximize the positive impact of solar energy on India’s economy and environment.

Anand Gupta Editor - EQ Int'l Media Network