In Conversation with Mr Ivan Saha- BU Head -Solar Manufacturing & CTO, Vikram Solar
1) Let’s begin with a glimpse of your company’s presence and offerings in India?
In just a decade’s time, Vikram Solar has contributed to shaping the solar revolution, not only in India, but across continents. With presence across 5 continents today, the group is further expanding at a rapid scale.
In India we have presence in West Bengal, Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, and Karnataka.
As a fully forward- integrated Solar EPC contractor, we deploy world-class technology to design, install and commission benchmark solar projects worldwide. Our total EPC capacity portfolio exceeds 750 MW (commissioned + under execution) (Rooftop + Ground mounted) in India. With projects as unique as India’s first floating solar plant to benchmark projects like India’s largest rooftop airport solar plant, we have an impressive portfolio in a short span of 11 years.
We offer solar PV modules within the range of 10 Wp to 350 Wp to our customers. In 2014, we introduced PERC technology-based modules. Our products are mostly high-efficiency polycrystalline silicon PV modules.
A few of our polycrystalline modules are-
- ELDORA Grand
- ELDORA Grand Ultima Silver
- ELDORA Ultima Silver
- ELDORA Ultima All Black
- ELDORA Prime
However, in 2017, we introduced a Mono-Crystalline module with higher energy generation capacity (at least 10% more than poly crystalline modules). It is named ‘SOMERA’.
Besides providing modules, we offer comprehensive EPC services ranging from conceptualization, execution, commissioning and acquisition of developed sites.
We also offer O&M solutions providing preventive and corrective maintenance services for solar plants.
2) Tell us more about the latest innovations in your product and solution offerings for the Indian market.
Our latest innovative offering is SOMERA. This Mono-crystalline module works with 1500V System voltage, has extremely Low Light-Induced Degradation, MC4 compatibility and features Passivated Emitter Rear Contact Technology (PERC) cells, offering highest efficiency up to 19.05% (for 60 cells) & up to 18.45% (for 72 cells).
The new monocrystalline modules are conditioned to withstand 2400Pascal Wind load, 5400Pascal Snow load and Dynamic Wind load, which makes them the best option for all geographical locations. Standard tests have revealed that ‘SOMERA’ line can offer 10% higher energy generation output than that of any industry average polycrystalline modules.
3) What exciting opportunities do you see in the Indian and global markets?
With awareness growing and more developing countries like- Africa, Philippines, Bangladesh, Brazil, Chile etc investing in the renewable energy mix, we see huge potential for solar in the future within both national and global markets, forwarding solar revolution to new heights.
With US president Mr. Donald Trump focusing on fossil fuel, it is best time for India to claim the demand gap left by US and become a largest solar contributor globally, thus increasing demand for domestic manufacturers like us.
India’s leadership in ISA will help the country and its domestic manufacturers to access virtually untapped solar markets in 121 countries (members of ISA).
Solar growth in India is also expected to grow and overtake EU within 2022. And we believe, this is a great new for domestic manufacturers in India.
In 2017, India overtook Japan and became the third top solar market. Within the country, policy developments, developing solar parks (approving Rs 8,100 crore for 50 solar parks), new projects like- 20 GW capacity solar project planning, and India finally thinking about imposing anti-dumping on imported solar modules will help domestic manufacturers in supporting India solar dream.
4) Please could you shed some light on your plans for India over the next 12 months.
India reached from 5 GW in 2015 to ~16.6 GW in 2017. It shows incredible and consistent growth rate. To match the pace, and to one day become the largest contributor of Indian solar revolution, we made aggressive plans. Our plans revolve around expansion and innovation, as we believe that following these two components will help the industry to evolve and lead Indian solar revolution to desired heights.
Vikram Solar has made elaborate plans to facilitate the growth. The company has expanded its solar manufacturing capacity from 500 MW to 1 GW in 2017. We have addressed more than 750 MW EPC projects in India (commissioned + under execution) (ground mounted + rooftop) and for the next year we will focus towards increasing our contribution level to many folds.
Focusing on innovation, we have signed MOUs with international tech leaders like teamtechnik, Finwind. In addition, we believe that the alliance will help us reduce the learning curve and innovate new solutions to the world. Recently we have introduced a new line of mono-crystalline module ‘Somera’ that offers at least 10% more energy generation than industry average poly-crystalline modules.
We have already invested more than INR 70 million in R&D. And for the next year, we will heavily focus on not just supporting the Indian and global solar growth but revolutionizing it through innovation.
5) Quality, Costs and Performance are key concern areas for Indian project developers. How would you like to address these issues for your offerings in India?
Quality, performance, and customer centricity are the core ideals of our business. Moreover, since we understand the responsibility we bear as a leading solar manufacturing company we make sure to offer assurance within product and service offerings to our clients.
Our modules have global certification standard:
- ISO 9001:2008 for manufacture of solar photovoltaic modules and systems; EPC and O&M of plants
- ISO 14001:2004 ensuring globally benchmarked environmental management system
- ISO 18001:2007 ensuring safe work environment
- We are UL 1703 certified, MNRE certified and CEC listed (60 & 72 cell modules), JETPVm certified (Japan) and CAN/CSA certified (Canada)
- We have IEC 61215, IEC 61730-2, IEC 61701 and IEC 62804 certifications
- We also offer 27 years of linier performance warranty for 60 & 72 cell modules
We also have in-house R&D facility that continuously developed test protocols to validate
long-term reliability of the modules manufactured. Our products are further tested by world-class, accredited testing facilities, such as UL – PTL labs, TuV Rheinland and DNV-GL product test labs.
Our modules are one of the best options for developers to build sustainable green energy projects. Our modules offer compromised quality and performance over imported modules.
6) What differentiates your company’s offerings from your peers?
Our dedication to offer quality, performance, and innovative solutions separates us from our competitors and peers.
We are India’s second largest module manufacturing capacity holder (500 MW to 1 GW in 2017). We utilize finest machinery and equipment imported from United States, Switzerland, Germany and Japan in our manufacturing factories to uphold the quality and performance promise that comes with products and services of Vikram Solar.
Our proven capacity to handle utility scale projects (e.g:130 MW, 80 MW, 50 MW), rooftop projects (over 190 projects commissioned), innovative projects (India’s first floating solar), our portfolio of conservative clients, and airport installations (Calicut, Kolkata, Kochi) testifies our capability and uniqueness in the sector.
Recently we have introduced a new line of mono-crystalline module that lower LCOE compared to poly-crystalline modules. It is fair to state that we are one of a kind solar module manufacturers and our offerings and achievements separate us from our competitors.