Below are the excerpts of our recent interview with Mr. Mukesh Gupta, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Micromax Energy Limited
Let’s begin with a glimpse of your company’s presence and offerings in India.
We entered this sector in the month of August 2016. The reason why we ventured into this business was because solar prices were going down and we also saw a lot of opportunity not only for the industrial purpose but also for the residential houses. The company is promoted by the same group of promoter, who are well known to establish brand Micromax in mobile business & consumer electronics. Whichever area we have entered, we they have reached the top 5 position in a very short span of time. If we talk about the mobile phone business, in 3-4 years of time we have attained the 5th position and in the LED Television business we attained the same position. So these products are our strengths. Micromax Energy is a new business vertical created by the same promoter of Micromax mobile and consumer electronics. Micromax energy main focus will be on energy sector weather it is an energy generation or energy saving or energy storage.
What we found out in the solar business is that most of the dependency is on the product side. 60% of the solar panels are being imported and as far as inverters are concerned, there is no Indian manufacturing company & design available to work in 100% sync with Indian unstable grid conditions. Yes products are available and they work well when the grid is stable but can cause loss of energy generation, when grid is unstable. We have a very strong background in the power electronics field as well. Our team has got a vast experience based on which we can develop & fill this gap along with the contributions.
Using our strong manufacturing base & experience we are focused to deliver for the balance of system components including solar panel required in solar power generation at a competitive price with make in India.
When did you forehead into renewable energy sector? Can you tell something about your background?
Micromax started off with the mobile business. It then entered the consumer electronics area and now we have entered the energy sector. As far as the team of Micromax Energy is concerned, the engineers are from the energy sector with a vast experience of more than 25 years. We have worked from the designing of the inverters to the end product. We understand the electronics and the power solutions for India. Present solutions available in India are with solar inverter, which are designed for stable grid conditions & are imported with the technology developed according to the need of developed countries where the grid conditions are very stable. India Grid power condition are very unstable & Hence these inverters are more likely to enter into disconnect mode even when the solar power is available & cause loss of energy generation. We understood this gap and developing an indigenous design that will not cause the loss of Energy Generation even in Indian unstable Grid conditions.
I did my Graduation in electronics engineering & Masters in Instrument Technology from IIT, after which I have been in the power electronics industry. My first venture was with Sukam inverters which I co- founded in 1996 as Technical Director. I Co-Founded Microtek inverters in 2001 and involved in developing the various technologies as R &D Head. Then in 2010, I co-founded Micromax Energy Ltd with Micromax promoters. In between I Co- founded Bhagwati Products Limited to focus on building the manufacturing strength for Micromax Mobile, Consumer Electronics & Energy products. After building a strong base of manufacturing & designing in B.P.L. From August 2016 onwards I become focused on renewable energy side. I started with products related to solar Power generation & Solar system design. We recently signed a contract for the development of Indigenous Solar Inverter technology to work in sync with varied Indian power grid conditions.
What have been some of the recent developments at Micromax?
We have recently launched a series of off- Grid solar inverter for storage of solar power to be used under power failure conditions in house hold & commercial applications. We have launched make in India Solar Panel in the range 10w-330w at an affordable price. We have launched storage devices with 1st product range in lead Acid Battery from 120Ah- 240Ah capacity. We have launched first series of on grid solar inverter in the range of 1kw-40kw for roof top applications .The first Mega series roof top project of 1.8 Megawatt at Bhilwara is going to be commissioned on 26th March 2017 & will be followed by 1.5Megawatt & 2.3Megawatt in the same area before May 2017.The company has already installed many roof top solar power plant from capacity 3KW-30KW in last 3months. We have appointed 200+ Distributor & 3000+ Dealer network in 7 states of India with dedicated sales & Service team to promote solar product & solutions.
What are your growth plans for the Indian market? What are the milestones you wish to achieve by the end of this fiscal?
The market is growing at a very good pace. Solar market has just developed in 2016. Till 2015, the market was very slow. After the government’s new policies, announcements and motivation, the solar sector started developing rapidly. The Government has set a target of 100 Giga watts by 2022 and our aim is that at least 10% of this installation should be done using our solar products or technology that we have developed or will be developing. If everything goes well, next year we wish to be among the Top 10 players in the solar industry.
We are developing a design & support team to help the EPC or channel partner to generate higher energy outputs with the same cost, improved ruggedness & reliability. We are in process of finalizing the contract with various institutes & reputed designed houses for joint development of solar product with innovation & will apply patents also. In solar system, it is basically an investment which customer invest and expect to get the maximize his ROI. Micromax energy will focus to provide, develop, design & give support to their customer to achieve his dream of maximum ROI.
What have been the latest trends in demand for your products & services in India? Where do you see the next demand growth coming from?
India is a country with the shortage of power in its various parts. Customer are using the normal inverter with battery storage to get the power available to them whenever there is a power cut in their area. This existing normal inverter draw the power from grid only to store the energy in the battery. So that same stored energy in battery is converted back to grid voltage to keep continuous supply to their house. As a conversion efficiency of a standard inverter are generally in the range of 80%, Hence the cost of power to customer using normal inverter technology increases two times of the normal electricity cost, When customer will use stored energy in power failure conditions. This also cause extra energy requirement on the grid to store the energy in battery when power is available. This was the technology which was prevailing in Indian market since last 15 years. The customer focus was to have power backup availability in his house but most of them were not aware the higher the cost they were paying & wasting the precious energy for his comfort & indirectly the grid was getting overloaded further creating more shortage in electricity.
With the reduction of solar panel price in last few years, off grid solar inverter technology has become affordable and reduces the consumer electricity bill compare to the existing normal inverter solutions used for power backup.
This technology also give the advantage to free the extra energy requirement from grid to store in battery & the power cut time in that area will also reduce.
Micromax energy off grid solar solution is affordable & store the energy from the sun through the solar panel connected with inverter. With this technology the consumer uses of stored energy for backup in power cut condition receive free from the sun & not from the grid. This will reduce the electricity bill of consumer & grid power will also be saved. Micromax off grid solar solutions has huge potential of conversion of existing installed inverter & new market to replace the existing normal inverter market share.
With the further innovations & reliability in solar solution the cost of power generation is reducing day by day while the cost of electricity generation from the conventional method is increasing in addition to the increase pollution & fear of depleting the natural resources like coal, oil etc. Solar energy is non-polluting & is freely available for billions of year. Micromax energy on grid solar solutions are affordable & electricity generation cost is almost half of the present electricity cost available to consumer from the grid. So this gives the huge potential to all consumers to install Micromax on grid solar solutions to meet their day time electricity requirement & save big money on their existing electricity bill. This is also help to create a green environment in our country.
Micromax energy is working on next generation technology on storage along with solar to provide a complete solar power house without any grid connectivity.
Anything else you would like to add for our readers?
There was a time when solar was thought to be a costly affair and that it is not affordable. But today this system is not only affordable but also profitable. A per- son who installs solar on his roof not only saves a lot of money in terms of electricity consumption in his own house but also contributes towards green energy and a greener environment. This is the right time for those interested in solar. They should definitely analyse it properly and go for it as there has been a lot of cost innovation, improvement and development in last few years.