Being one of the leading power backup solutions provider globally, Su-Kam is pushing up its reach into solar energy product ranges. The company has targeted a business share of about Rs 100 crore from this segment by the end of this financial year, says Kunwer Sachdev, Managing Director, Su-Kam in an exclusive interview with Power Today.
Su-Kam, which was earlier mainly into conventional power backup systems manufacturing, is now focusing on solar power driven products and solutions. What kind of initiatives the company has taken and how much is the capex for the proposed expansion in next two to three years?
With a view on the present energy crises and the ever increasing difference between the generation and consumption of energy, solar energy is going to play a major role in fulfilling the gap in the energy demand. The government is also giving a lot of emphasis on the new and renewable energy resources to reduce the dependency on the fossil fuels. Su-Kam's thought is to make innovative solutions for the customers based on their requirement and empower them to use solar power for their application. In a wider perspective, it is supporting the government's efforts to promote ecologically sustainable growth while addressing India's energy security challenges.
The solar products market is evolving all the time and user requirements and needs also keep on evolving. It is very important to understand the market acceptance of the product before launching it. Su-Kam products are driven by the customer requirements and have evolved over a period of time based on the feedback from the users, service people and market requirements. We are offering complete solar solutions that puts us as being the leading players when it comes to solar electronics and solar power plant solution offering segment. We are constantly working on new technologies and products within the solar space to offer institutional, industrial, corporate and home consumers. We keep innovating and offering diverse solutions which make the experience enriching as we keep progressing. We plan to invest Rs 200 crore in the next three years.
How big is the market globally and in India?
The solar products market is evolving always and user requirements and needs also keep on evolving. With the nations around the world vying for clean energy leadership, India has taken a bold step towards becoming a leader in solar development. The solar industry is growing considerably in the global energy market. According to a report, grid-connected solar systems should increase to about 42 gw in 2012, reflecting a double-digit compounded annual growth rate.
The Indian solar energy sector has been growing rapidly in the past few years, mainly due to the government initiatives such as tax exemptions and subsidies. Due to technical potential of 5,000 trillion kWh per year to minimise the operating cost, solar power is considered the best suited energy source for India. Today, solar power has an installed capacity of 1,000 mw which is about less than 0.1 per cent, currently total installed renewable energy stands at 13,242.41 mw as per MNRE.
What kind of technological advancement the country has gained so far and where it stands today?
The major achievement has been in developing the advanced electronics for solar rooftop and grid tie MW projects.
As an Indian manufacturer, we have spearheaded the R&D in power electronics for solar charge controllers, inverters and grid tie inverters.
Who are your immediate competitors?
Our competitors can be classified into two categories:
Off grid/on grid rooftop - It is a highly competitive market prevalent with a lot of unorganised players. In the organised sector, we are competing with Mahindra Solar, Moser Baer, Tata BP, Lanco etc.
In Grid tie MW power plants, our competitors would be Lanco, Mahindra, L&T etc.
How competitive are you against Chinese manufacturers?
The inverter industry is dominated by Indian players and there are no key organised manufacturers from China.
How many products have you launched so far and how many are in the pipeline to be launched in near future?
Su-Kam has a complete range of solar products for diverse requirements of customers' needs right from the small solar powered home lighting solutions to MPPT-based solar charge controller, solar inverters, grid interactive solar inverter, solar power conditioning units, solar series batteries, solar charge controller, a monitoring software for its solar charge controllers and solar PCU monitoring.
We have recently launched "Brainy" - a solar hybrid UPS for the household application that operates on both solar as well as grid power. It enables a common user to install the complete solar system at his home and utilise the solar energy generated from the panel to charge the battery and reduce his consumption from grid power. Su-Kam provides the complete package to the end user.
Su-Kam is currently working on MPPT-based off-grid solutions, remote monitoring software for solar PCU and charge controllers, grid tie inverters, etc.
Apart from solar products, we plan to focus more on big solar projects both in rooftop and centralised street lighting solutions, similar to what we have done at Assam Rifles, Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency, and Assam State Electricity board to name a few.
How do you see the market growth for such products in next five years?
The market is diversifying with the introduction of solar related products and solar integrated systems. Alternatives like solar and wind energy and hybrid systems can address the challenge of power unavailability in semi-urban, rural and remote areas. Renewable energy will not only cut down the operational expenditure by 15-20 per cent but also address problems that arise due to power crisis. The subsidy provided by the government for solar power providers will offer major benefits to key market players.
Interest in alternative energy is growing across the globe to meet high demand driven by strong economic growth across the region. Alternate energy such as solar will play a major role in meeting the rising demand and there will be an increasing focus on this field over the coming years.
What will be the revenue contribution to the company's overall sales?
We are looking at a turnover of Rs 100 crore by this year-end from the solar segment.
Which are the other countries in which the company finds better scope?
Su-Kam has its presence in both domestic and international markets. A continuing focus on quality and strict adherence to international standards have enabled Su-Kam to export its products to various overseas markets across Asia, Africa, the Middle East and the Pacific region. Currently, 30 per cent of the company's turnover is made up of exports, and this is poised to rise exponentially in the years ahead.
Do you have any plans for organic growth in near future? If yes, in which product segment?
Going forward, solar would also be a key focus area for Su-Kam with a large number of investments already earmarked for development and manufacturing facility of solar products. Su-Kam already has an exhaustive range of solar products available in the market covering a wide range of sectors such as: residential bungalows, industries, hospitals, banks, commercial establishments, telecom, rural areas, corporate offices, state and central government offices and institutions.
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