Tata International holds a significant and critical portion of the solar value chain

Interviews & Talks

Below are the excerpts of our recent interview with Mr. Sayan Roy, Senior Manager- Business Development, Tata International

To begin with, we would like to know a brief on your growth in the past year and some milestones you wish to achieve this year.

Tata International ventured into the solar business in the year 2012. In this brief span of four years, the company has established itself as one of the market leaders in module mounting structures and turn-key DC solutions for solar projects in India. Since the inception of this business, Tata International has successfully installed close to 700 MWp of solar projects across the country.

Last year we commissioned close to 200 MWp, and our plan this year is to double our volumes – with a target of 500 MWp. Over the years, we have focussed on developing our capabilities and capacities in order to meet this ambitious target. As part of our expansion plan, we have successfully set up an enhanced vendor basket (for fabrication and site installation contractors) with special emphasis on strategic sourcing options and a robust internal team across functions to suitably deliver on the key market demands (from order to delivery).

Tata International are leaders in module mounting systems. What are the different services Tata International offers in the Indian market? 

Tata International holds a significant and critical portion of the solar value chain i.e., module mounting structures and DC package. Our products and services span across (a) design, supply and installation of module mounting structures (including civil foundation designs and services at the project site), (b) turn-key DC solutions / packages. 

Our products for module mounting structures range from fixed tilt mounting structures to adjustable tilt mounting structures (with assisted tilting mechanisms). Tata International is also in the process of launching its tracker solutions for solar projects – which will help customers maximize their return on capital (with higher generation against the ever decreasing tariffs). 

As a mounting structure company, how interesting is the rooftop solar opportunity? 

The rooftop solar market is an increasingly growing market in India with lot of potential in the future. Realistic assumptions indicate at least 4 GW of new rooftop installations till 2019. The rooftop market is very different from utility solar market, especially in its scale and spread. Rooftop projects are significantly smaller in size and are vastly distributed / de-centralized. To effectively cater to the potential of the rooftop market, we would need a very different business model and team structure. 

We are already planning and developing the necessary rooftop capabilities and will soon launch our rooftop portfolio in the market. 

Any top few distinguishing factors you would give to a project developer in India while choosing your products for its Solar PV plant? How does Tata International stand out amongst its competitors? 

The Indian solar market has many identifiable and reliable sources for PV modules and AC side project solutions / products. However, the MMS & DC solutions portion of the solar value chain is still to witness reliable players with credentials, strong fundamentals and a higher degree of innovation to make reliable products that constantly cater to the needs of the customers across the life of a solar project of 25 years. 

Tata International’s key USP for the solar market include innovative, economical and reliable solutions, impeccable quality of products and services, integrated team with best in class on-site project delivery capabilities and trustworthy partner in progress to associate with (hallmark of Tata brand backing the product warranties that are so critical in this market). 

A word about current cost trends in this sector?

Ever decreasing solar tariffs exert immense cost and margin pressures across the solar value chain. This is forcing solar companies to always be on their toes, with constant need to find innovative solutions to reign in the costing pressures. 

However, one should be weary of solutions / services that try to cut corners to meet the incessant costing demands. Developers should hence, weigh the risks of the projects against the commercial impact of going with a particular solution today (given the life of 25 years envisaged for a solar project). Ideal is to tie-up with key suppliers / brands in the sector and collaborate to successfully meet the ambitious demands of the sector. Need is to develop a solar eco-system that stays with the project developer, right from the bidding stage to commissioning and O&M stage.



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