Sunil Rathi: ‘Attractive policies and fair subsidy has made solar energy viable in India’
Sunil Rathi, director, Waaree Energies talks about the opportunities for solar energy solutions in the Indian automotive industry. He reveals his company’s plans for promoting and popularising electric mobility in India.
Current scenario of the solar industry? What kind of support are you receiving from the government?
The solar industry is on the brink of expansion. The solar industry is growing by more than 100 percent every year. Further, there has been a substantial dip in the prices of solar modules and the components used in the balance of the system. With the solar energy breaching the grid parity, utilizing such a source for our daily needs makes sense. Such immense growth coupled with the reduction in prices would have been impossible without the support of the government. The attractive policies formulated by the government in conjunction with the just subsidy ensure that the end customers opt for solar energy.
What is your opinion of the second phase of the FAME policy?
The implementation of FAME II scheme with a budget of 10,000 crore over three years from 2019-20 to 2021-22 depicts the dedication of the government towards e-mobility. While the scheme has initially planned to support 10 Lakh e-2 Wheelers, 500,000 e-3 Wheelers, 55,000 4 Wheelers and 7,000 Buses, we believe that with such huge funding, FAME II shall be a huge success.
A solar-powered electric truck with the special solar PV module from Waaree Energies
What is the speciality of the specially customised PV solar module that you have developed for the EVs? Is the technology developed by your in-house R&D team?
Well, each and every EV has a different aesthetic, power requirement (or more specifically current and voltage requirement) and the available open area onto which solar modules can be installed. This means that each variant from even the same manufacturer needs a different solar module. This is where our tailor-made customised module for EV comes into the picture. They can be manufactured as per the requirement of the EV. Further with its reduced weight coupled with the peel and stick application, the customer can be rest assured that the module stays intact over the EV.
Kindly describe the journey behind the largest solar PV module manufacturing facility?
Waaree started with the idea of developing solar modules in India in early 2007. Further, with the government declaring the National Solar Mission and setting up a target of 100 GW by 2022, our CMD Dr Hitesh Doshi was optimistic about the demand from the solar industry. Catering to such demand has been the goal of Waaree Energies. The largest solar PV manufacturer of India is just a milestone in our journey. Waaree Energies intends to become one of the global benchmarks for solar modules while ensuring that the end customers get the best, always.
How do you plan to entice or attract the automotive industry, especially the EV players of India towards your solar modules? Why should they adopt the solar modules and why should they adopt yours? Who are you going to target this to – the commercial vehicles or the personal vehicle owners?
We believe that solarising vehicle has been an already proven concept given the fact that it maintains the State of Charge (SoC) of the battery. Battery has always been a concern for EV manufacturer and the end user, given the fact that the life of battery could limit the usage of EV. However, the traditional solar module comes with an aluminium frame at its periphery and glass on its top side which adds to a lot of weight.
Furthermore, the traditional solar module are suitable only for stationery application as using it over any moving vehicle would generate micro crack which would result in drastic power reduction in module over mere few days or few months. Additionally, holding off such heavy weight at the vehicle top needs adequate support structure which also increases the drag over the entire vehicle thus reducing its efficiency. This is where our customised EV based solar module comes into play. They have already been tried, tested and trusted by global players. Thus the end customer can be rest assured that the product he is using is already operational at various parts around the globe. The solution is applicable to all the types of vehicle, be it commercial, public or private.
Are you planning to promote your solutions for the commercial vehicle industry or the passenger vehicle industry? Please justify your choice.
As mentioned above, each solution is tailor made. The modules are customised based on the vehicle type and not customer category. We are open to serving any/all the customer categories.
How do you plan to scale up the production of the special PV modules for vehicles?
Waaree Energies have a specialised line dedicated for manufacturing such modules, which makes us ready to take an order of almost any scale. The scaling up of the manufacturing line shall happen just in time when required. The end customer, however, can be rest assured that his timeline shall be met.
Which components are imported for developing this module?
This module uses patented technology with the component being utilised only from the globally trusted manufacturers. The end customer can be rest assured that the product he is using is from the best in class available raw material.