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Renew | January 2017

Investing in technology and quality is the differentiator

Ashish Khanna, ED & CEO, Tata Power Solar

Why has manufacturing in India not picked up?
There have been many new policies in solar recently and GoI has set a target of 100 GW by 2022 and as such the perspective is that there is a lot of scope and potential for Indian solar manufacturing. However, the ground reality is that not much has happened. There are limited investments taking place even though there are plans. The primary reason for this is that there are less expensive, low quality products coming into the country and being a very cost conscious society, this is the one thing that has a significant impact. It has hindered the local manufacturing industries from taking advantage of the potential that is there.We should be conscious that while importing, we also ensure that the quality of the products is good. Manufacturers need a pipeline to be convinced that they will have customers, as they can´t simply walk away if there are no takers. This is why people think a lot before committing themselves. So, unless there is a clear pipeline and guarantee for sale of products, it will hinder competition with imported goods and we will have to bear the inequality of being compared to low quality products. Thus, quality and pricing are one factor and demand also has a big role to play. GoI should thus ensure and impose standards in these regards.

What are the prospects of solar manufacturing?
The potential is immense. The current 100 GW is bringing that thrust that was required. But, having said that, the total manufacturing capacity in India is very less compared to the opportunities that are arising. It is very important for manufacturing capacity and capabilities to invest in technology. The future of solar is not limited to 100 GW, let us not forget that in this country there are 300 million people without power and grid connectivity. hence, there is an immense potential and that is why we as an organisation invest a lot in technology, which will be a differentiator.

What is the future of solar manufacture in India?
I feel that in the particular fields of distributed generation and rooftops, which do not need any added infrastructure additions in terms of grids, will be crucial for India. My belief is that for those consumers who are buying these products-not big organisations who have quality parameters -after spending money from their pockets for their own needs, it is all the more important that the government create a policy mandating quality and guarantee. I believe that rooftop solutions will be endorsed by consumers and it is critical that the government comes up with policies to ensure that they get only quality products as they are not as knowledgeable about the technicalities of the field. This will give the benefit of good quality Make in India products and ensure guarantees by the service providers. My belief is that it will be good for the country and all the manufacturing industry if rooftops for consumers are completely Made in India products.

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