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Interaction | December 2013

We are seeing good growth in solar segment.

ABB India Ltd has started betting big in solar energy space with more than $1 billion turnover in 2012. Ajay H Kawdikar, Country HeadSolar ISI, ABB Ltd, in a tete-a-tete with Pradeep Pandey, speaks on various ´spects´ from government's key reforms to the company's growth prospects in India.

ABB has been largely into EPC and construc¡tion business; however, the company has started betting big on solar. How has the com¡pany excelled so far in this sector?
The solar energy sector is very promising and we are highly committed towards this space. Our approach is to make most of the products available to support the market, and at the same time we also do EPC or balance of plant (BoP). Our offerings are get¡t¡ing more comprehensive day by day. We offer a full range of services for photovoltaic (PV) solar projectsùfrom concept to commissioning and connecting to grid.

What kind of investor sentiments did you notice after meeting a number of people at the Intersolar event?
ABB India Ltd is quite bullish about this segment as there are lot of serious players around, who wish to make it big in solar. These players have been contributing in various capacities. All in all, we see solar as a market with huge potential and there is a good amount of awareness and people are getting into it. Solar will grow in time in India.

There are number of policies/reforms initiated by the government, however, most of them are not been implemented or awaiting approvals. What kind of reform will you put on priority to ensure expected growth?
We are witnessing a steady growth in the last few years. India has already installed 2 GW of plants. There have been some delays, but then I expect solar to grow considerably. In the renewable segment, solar will be the most promising sector, and we are already seeing it mature fast as people are able to do faster installations and are attaining grid parity. So these are all signs for growth. However, policy implementations are definitely important in a time-bound manner.

How much share does solar contribute to the group's overall business?
I would not like to comment on the actual numbers. However, in 2012, the growth has been phenomenal in solar segment. ABB India ventured into solar from 2010, and this was the same time when solar mission was commenced in India. Since then, we are witnessing a strong growth year-on-year (YoY) basis.

In that case, what would be the average CAGR growth?
In some of our products, we have observed a growth of more than 100 per cent, however, in the EPC segment, it was in the range of double digit percentage. We are witnessing good growth in solar segment.

The first phase of Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) did pretty well, but the second phase got delayed. What is your take on this?
It got delayed, but you've to take out positives from it. I take it this way: the installations have not stopped, and this is how we have now installed a capacity in access of 2 GW. Definitely it is growing and something is substituting for something else, which really shows how robust the system could evolve in time.

The delay, of course, hurts sometimes, but we have so many other factors attributing to it. Now with new proposals of integrated UMPPs, we still see more opportunities.

How much capex has company the planned for the current fiscal? How much are you planning to enhance it in coming years?
We are well versed to this growing demand in India. We have the capacity, which can be easily expanded and can meet the growing demand. We are not witnessing any constraint even on the supply side, and we can definitely meet and cope up with the demand. However, in terms of capex, I will not be able to comment; but definitely our management is focusing in this area.

Globally, we have invested in acquisition and we are very much prepared to take this growth on.

What are your priorities for the Indian market?
We are a global company operating in more than 100 countries. India remains a focused market and we see a lot of opportunities. As far as Indian operations are concerned, we are well poised to take up those opportunities and we have the capacity to meet the demand in the market.

ABB India Ltd
ABB is a global leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The product offering across voltage levels includes circuit breakers, switchgear, capacitors, instrument transformers, power distribution and traction transformers, as well as a complete range of medium voltage products.

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