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Interaction | December 2013

PV energy industry in India is very young.

In a group interaction with Pradeep Pandey, Ramesh Vyas, Director Solar Power, International Marketing Corporation; Albert Carrera, Consultant India for GPM; and Fernando Garcia-Alcala, Sales Manager at GPM; speaks on the popular plant monitoring system.

How popular is plant monitoring system in India?
PV energy industry in India is quite young. In the beginning, the companies were thinking that monitoring was not important, when they were having one plant, and they were mainly relying on a free software that the inverter manufacturer was giving to them to see what is the performance of the inverter. But at the moment, they get one step further and they have a number of plants with several vendors in different locations, then its where monitoring system is required. The system is able to communicate with different third party power generating units and integrate the information into one consolidated control room or main office of the company. In the beginning, the response of the companies were not good, but now that the companies are growing and they have larger portfolio and they are thinking of such system in place.

So, how is the scenario outside India where IMC is operating?
The owners of the PV plants are mostly high net-worth investors or investment firms. They manage a varied portfolio, spanning different countries and using different technologies. Sometimes they do have on-site different local state assistants. They want to have all the information at a glance on the same screen, even if the information is coming from the different countries. They would like to have a system in parallel with the local system of state because the local system is affected by the operation and maintenance component.

Is this monitoring system a part of operation and management?
Yes. It is also a part of management requirement. Initially when solar mission was launched, people thought that if you are giving an inverter it is good enough. Its fine for a small project, but if you go for a bigger one, there are many other things. If the requirement is for monitoring projects located over various places, then the things are not so easy. You would require a centralised system, which can collect all the required data at any point of time, facilitating the smooth operation of the plant as well as for management control.

Does IMC takes the contract of entire monitoring or installs the systems and instruct them how to operate them?
IMC is a service company so our aim is to be along with our customers and provide service. We don't do actual operations and maintenance. We provide tools, data management, formulation and collate all the data to provide information to the operations and maintenance committee. The aim is to help our customers to improve the performance of their assets.

What is the nature of JV between IMC and GPM?
The knowledge base and technology base is 100 per cent from GPM. IMC is the local partner for them to provide all the logistics support and other local assistance.

Do you have any participation in Indian projects?
There is one installation which is already done but that is at a smaller level. We are in the process of discussion with various companies.

Does IMC have any EPC business in other countries?
No we are not. There is enough business opportunity in India. But in course of time during the shows, we get visitors from abroad. We've got inquiries from Africa and Kenya. If such opportunities come up, we am sure GPM and IMC will be going together in other geographies..

In which countries do you have prominent presence?
With over 1.5 GW, our experience is spread almost across the globe. Our natural market has been Europe, where Italy with over 500 MW has been in the front. UK and Poland are becoming important for GPM in the coming times with new projects under development.

Overseas markets like North, Central and Latin America are also important for us with branch offices located in Chile, Mexico and the US and relevant projects in countries like Puerto Rico.

Upcoming countries such as South Africa and Japan are the future development for our company where we have had very good feedback from one of our customers and we will hopefully soon introduce our step in the market.

International Marketing Corporation
Been in solar business for almost 20 years, IMC offers solution using the most contemporary technologies right from the beginning to the complete PV value chain. The company offers solutions for silicon refining, followed by wafer, cell and module lines. Under MNRE guidelines, the company does off-grid as well as on-grid project installations.

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