KN Sreevatsa, Head - Power Conversion and Electric Vehicle Infrastructure, ABB feels that achieving 100 GW by 2020 is a definite possibility considering that India added 3 GW in solar in the first quarter of the current year.
What changes did we see after the 100 GW capacity addition was announced?
After the government announced its plans of 100 GW addition, a high level of traction was perceivable in the market. This is because of the policy-level push from the central and the state governments. India already has a 20 GW plus capacity added to solar countrywide, and has an excellent vision of plans till 2022. There is a renewed vigour in the market with the proposal to add 100 GW by 2022.
What are the major challenges faced by equipment manufacturers like ABB?
Though there is a very good Make in India policy in place, there are gaps. In the current scenario, the benefits are not extended to the solar equipment manufacturers from the electrical and automation segments. The policy is supportive of the panels and the structure. We witnessed a lengthy de-bate on the anti-dumping duty recently.
But for inverters, transformers, and SCADA to promote manufacturing locally, we await some positive traction on the policy from the government.
As a manufacturer, we import components from overseas and pay customs duty, which is a cost to us. Alternatively, if we could import finished inverters, customs duty would be reduced. There is an ambiguity in terms of promoting local production vis-a-vis fully built inverter imports. For any sector to achieve its growth potential, consistency and clarity of policy are of paramount importance.
Comment on the new notification of BIS certification for inverters in India.
All counties follow the global certification. Though the ministry has notified, there are no laboratories which can test and certify equipment as per the Indian requirement. In the absence of a lab, BIS certification notification can prove to be a hindrance for local manufacturers. In a lot of other countries, the local authorities verify global certifications of the entire product and of cer-tain components, and then certify it locally.
What according to you could have led to this haphazard notification?
The intent is well-meaning as they envisage vast volumes of equipment coming in future in view of sectoral growth. However, one has to take cognizance of the capacity and number of testing labs in India. In such circumstances, a relaxation period of even up to a year might not be sufficient to add capacity to support such a programme. All manufacturers go through rigorous testing for four to five months for their products, before getting them certified by global bodies. While there is no harm in that, repeating the process will result in loss of precious time, considering the rapid growth and traction in the market.
What are your growth expectations in the near term?
The MNRE forecast for the country is to add 10 GW this year. According to the data from the first quarter, we have added 3 GW already; so, achieving 10 GW seems a reasonable goal for the nation.
As for ABB India, we have remained a market leader in solar for the last six years, and we would continue to look at retaining the position. We are taking necessary steps with investments in terms of adding technology and increasing production.
- Renjini Varghese
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