According to Anurag Garg, Vice President, Solar and Energy Storage Business, Schneider Electric, technology has brought improvement in terms of performance, cost, and life of solar plants.
What is your outlook for the next three years for the inverter market?
If solar remains, then inverters are here to stay. Let us talk about the next four-year trajectory, as the government deadline for 100 GW capacity additions is 2022. The outlook remains positive and closer to the deadline we will see the speed pick up in the solar segment. It is tough to put a growth rate projection, since we are suddenly adding 6û8 MW in a year. But at this point, the 100 GW seems to be a bit aggressive. We have just four years left.
How challenging is it to achieve the target of 100 GW from solar by 2022?
The government is very aggressive and has announced various schemes. Though the announcements are happening, the tenders are not taking place as per the announcements. The auctions lack speed in terms of additions. The market is inclined towards utility-scale projects, though rooftop and micro-grids are also active. The awareness levels - even in the standalone rooftop solutions - are on the rise. Growth can definitely be seen in the rooftop segment in comparison to the utility-scale projects.
The challenges are sector-specific and do not necessarily pertain to balance of payment (BoP) players. There is still an impending issue of safeguard duty, various taxation problems, and non-grantee which is persisting. These challenges are left to be addressed, though some tenders are happening
What is the impact of the changed tax regime on the inverter segment?
Before the change in tax regimes, there were exemptions from MNRE like the geo tax on solar. Before GST, solar was entirely exempted from taxes, but now there is a 5 per cent tax on components that have some effect on the industry.
Technology is always changing. Where do you place India in the global scene in terms of technology?
The purpose of technology is to reduce cost and increase efficiency. When we speak about solar equipment, technology is still evolving, even as equipment is developing. The two major components of solar power are panels and inverters. Over the years, these products have seen a lot of improvement. Advances have been made in smaller-sized panels that produce good density of power. There is definitely improvement in terms of performance, cost, and life of solar plants. And, technology has contributed to the overall efficiency of solar projects.
Technology has enhanced the size of the inverter. Earlier, the maximum output of inverters was only in kilowatt. Now the size has gone up and we get 2 or 3 MW capacity inverters, which help in reducing and balancing the cost. Earlier, we had to use four inverters to generate 2 MW, but now only one inverter is needed to produce the same output. Currently, with four inverters, 8 MW can be generated and connected to the transformers. Even the efficiency of transformers has improved tremendously.
How adaptable are the available products to the Indian grid connections?
Our products comply with the grid code. Grid code is incorporated in the future evolution of the grid. This is possible because we supply both to the global and Indian markets. As the quantity of RE goes up in the network, it will be mandated to follow the grid code more strictly. Grid codes will help us know whether we develop products in line with the grid requirements.
- Renjini Varghese
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