Powered by Sungrow India, EQ presented a webinar on PV InverterTech….Inverters Pricing, Demand, Technology & Supply Roadmaps on June 24, 2021.
The panellist spoke on the topic in terms of the ‘Make in India’ initiative, AatmaNirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, future inverter pricing, LCOE, future scenario, storage, real-time monitoring, EPC, design and more. Speakers shared their thoughts on technology, innovation, cost benefits, challenges, concerns, solutions and opportunities from multiple perspectives.
Goutam Samanta, Head PV Technology, Juniper Green Energy participated in the webinar as moderator.
The other speakers of the panel were Goutam Samanta, Head PV Technology, Juniper Green Energy Pvt Ltd; Sudhir Pathak, Head- Central Design & Engg, Hero Future Energies; Deepak Saxena, Senior Vice President, Avaada Energy; Amresh Mahajan, VP (Technology/QA/EHS), O2 Power Pvt Ltd; Suvendu Lenka, Head -Sales and Marketing, Thermax Ltd; Sachin Agrawal, DGM- Solar – Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd, Namit Aneja, Key Account Manager, Sungrow India Pvt Ltd; Bimal Jindal, Director- SCM, SB Energy (SoftBank Group), Paintamilselvan M S, Product Manager – Larsen & Toubro; Mr. Rahul Ramteke, General Manager – Sprng Energy Pvt. Ltd; Sachhin Patra-Senior Manager – Enking International and Niket Shrivastava, AVP, Engineering -Ground Mounted Projects, Amplus Solar.
“There would be a huge opportunity for inverter manufacturing in India in future as well. We have a target of 450 GW by 2030 in renewable energy but out of which 300 GW is exclusively for solar.” said, Goutam Samanta. Talking about the overall scenario, he said, “15 GW will be kind of installations this year, and from 2023 onwards, the installations would be around 24GW to 25 GW every year.”
Speaking about AatmaNirbahar Bharat, Namit Aneja, Key Account Manager, Sungrow India Private Limited, said “Sungrow has actually been very vocal since last many years regarding our Make in India initiative. Since our entry in India, in 2014, we actually installed our first inverter in India, string and central both.
Since then, we were very sure that India is a very specific and strategic region for us. We also want to manufacture here locally and contribute to the economic sector by providing direct or indirect employment. Also, by providing skilled local manpower for the product.
We are happy to mention that we have already produced more than 9 GW inverter from the Bangalore factory.” The company supplied these inverters not only in India but also for global projects specifically to the US market.
He said that the successful execution of the initial phase encouraged the company to further scale it up to 10GW. “The 10 GW factory is already under execution and would be ready by this year in Bangalore. With an investment of more than 150 crores in India, we were very determined and focused to have a product here in India for both string and central inverter.”
“We are happy to contribute to the Prime Minister’s vision of AatmaNirbahar Bharat. Wherein, we can have State-of-the-Art manufacturing capabilities in India. We have been proactive in terms of our strategy specific to India. We planned the establishment three years before the announcement of the duties.”
“Looking forward, for the inverter pricing, the significance value is what model we have, what rating it has and what effect it has on BOS,” said Namit Aneja, Key Account Manager, Sungrow India Private Limited.
Central and String Inverters
In terms of ‘Central and String Inverters’, he informed, “The annual production of the central inverter would be around 6 GW. Whereas, the annual production for the string would be around 4 MW. The manufacturing line is flexible enough to expand.”
Indicating where we are going in the terms of pricing, Namit Ahuja said, “The inverter pricing is not significant. Looking forward, for the inverter pricing, the significance value is what model we have, what rating it has and what effect it has on the Balance of System, BOS costing.”
Considering the future scenario, he said that the rating of the inverter has gone up with an improvement in technology. This has helped to further optimize the prices. He further discussed Central and String inverters.
Sachin Agrawal, DGM- Solar – Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd introduced his company. Presenting the EPC perspective, he said, “We had done the cost-benefit analysis purely as the EPC player about whether we should go for string inverter or for central inverters. Still, the central inverter scores over the string inverter.
About Inverter Original equipment manufacturers OEMs, he said, “Probably more efforts are required from the inverter OEMs to keep the end-users up-to-date of latest happenings in the sector. The recommendations should be laid down very clearly on the inverter data or on the product manuals
Sudhir Pathak, Head- Central Design & Engg, Hero Future Energies, said, “There is a lot of R&D going on across the board for 2000 volt based system. There are two big challenges as far as design is concerned. First, the safety of human beings and animals which can enter into.
The second one is Balance of System, BOS. So, the default levels, the installation and the switchgear, available as of now, will be different. I think these things will be sustainable only with parallel R&D. There are three to four manufacturers that can provide that. Third, there should be proper standards which can align accordingly.”
Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) and Technology
Bimal Jindal, Director- SCM, SB Energy (SoftBank Group), said, “The inverter prices have gone down drastically unlike modules. Things have changed drastically in the last five to seven years.
If we look at LCOE, it talks about CapEx, OpEx and energy generation. So, energy generation is one of the key areas where inverter helps a lot leaving the value of CapEx. It impacts BOS cost dramatically.”
“The inverter efficiency is going high. Over the last few years, string inverter is picking up because of the technology. I believe, technology is really helping the industry. The inverter manufacturers are making sure the reliability level is also high. This is a good sign. The industry is doing well on the technology side.”
Rahul Ramteke, General Manager, Sprng Energy Pvt. Ltd shared a brief introduction of his company. Sprng Energy has a portfolio of about 2 GW currently. Out of which, 1GW is operational and the rest is under construction. “If some innovation is coming out in the market, we should take advantage of that for the development of the projects.”
Suvendu Lenka, Head -Sales and Marketing, Thermax Ltd said, “The primary focus of the company is energy environment. The internal focus of the company is to look for the best quality products and solutions that have been available in the market. Thermax is actively looking for an O&M portfolio also.”
“Customers are looking for higher capacity. With the optimum space, they want to fit maximum capacity. That has been aiding the entire industry as a whole.
The challenges are there but the market is growing good,” said Suvendu Lenka.
Niket Shrivastava, AVP, Engineering -Ground Mounted Projects, Amplus Solar shared his views on the topic from the design and cost perspective.
He said, “In the inverter point of view, I don’t see any challenge when we are looking into the tracker or a fixed-tilt because the rating of the inverter remains the same. It is designed in such a way that it can sustain the string power.
When we talk about the tracker, in my opinion, going with a string inverter is more beneficial because more power and losses are going to happen when we are going for the central inverter.”
Deepak Saxena, Senior Vice President, Avaada Energy, shared his thoughts on how we have gone ahead with time. “The development and the progress has been phenomenal.
There had been a lot of innovations. The industry took three to four years to migrate from a thermal mindset perspective to a solar mindset perspective.
We are developing and learning. The whole industry is learning.
Storage will replace the hydrocarbons because electricity in India is one of the cheapest rates. We have to reduce our emissions of carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. Storage will have to come.
Paintamilselvan M S, Product Manager – Larsen & Toubro, presented a gist of the company achievements. He said, “We have done about 2.5 GW of projects in India. We are constructing a 1.8 GW project with a private customer in Saudi Arabia.” He shared more information on the projects of the company.
Sachhin Patra-Senior Manager – Enking International, spoke on the carbon market and discussed it in detail. “Companies have taken up the carbon neutrality goals and net zero-emission goals seriously. So, the demand for carbon offset has grown significantly across the globe because of these kinds of initiatives. Various organizations and companies are working on this.
Inverters play a great role in carbon offset projects or renewable energy projects. That is where we come to know how much energy has been actually produced from a renewable energy plant. On the basis of that, you can get your emission reduction claims from a third party agent. And, then get your carbon credit.
Speaking on solutions from the perspective of the manufacturer of inverters, Namit Aneja said, “The inverter is basically a brain of a complete solar plant. So, it is imperative to opt for a smart and quality brain so as to run for a longer duration of up till the lifetime of the project, i.e. 25 years.
In the coming time, the module ratings are going high. So, accordingly, all the equipment be it-modules, inverters, transformers, everything should go hand in hand.
Then only technology and innovation can move ahead. So, all the respective equipment developed and gradually improved in terms of their technological outputs, ratings and parameters.
Accordingly, as we see right now, the module ratings are going up, so we are also coming up with a new inverter solution that is actually one of the largest in terms of the string inverter ratings.
So, my pitch to all the developers in the EPC players is that whenever we opt for any equipment in the solar plant, specifically inverter, then consider the aspects related to the bankability of the equipment you are choosing. That particular equipment brand should be sustainable for a lifetime of 25 years plus.
Also, there should be a sufficient team which works solely in the renewable section (not only in a particular small division of any of the major giant).
So, it’s really imperative to see for the right product in terms of quality and not only price, because considering the competitiveness in the tariffs falling down, there is a huge pressure on everyone to optimize the cost.
But, we have to understand that only optimizing the cost itself not a solution. We have to optimize the whole BOS design itself to cater to that tariff values.
Keeping in mind the quality aspects of the equipment being used, the bankability aspect and the team which is behind that product, to make sure the efficiency of the product supplied is as per the top-notch global standards.
“Customers are looking for higher capacity. With the optimum space, they want to fit maximum capacity. That has been aiding the entire industry as a whole. The challenges are there but the market is growing good,” said Suvendu Lenka, Head -Sales and Marketing, Thermax Ltd.