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Addwatt started with 100 KWp, it has now successfully commissioned 500 MWp. How has your journey been so far?
To be honest, I am not a great admirer of measuring success with the number of MWs of capacities installed. In fact, what matters more is the trust you create in the industry, the project execution strength of your team and the relationships you build with your vendors and all stakeholders. By keeping the above factors as yardstick for measuring success, I am glad to share that our journey so far has been quite successful. From bootstrapping a startup with a single employee and to make it an organization with global presence and about 100 team members in 6 years span is satisfying. At the same time, it offers a whole new set of challenges for which we strive to prepare ourselves every day.
What have been some of the recent developments at your organization?
We have been striving towards streamlining our internal processes to achieve efficiency and maintain the highest standards of quality delivery. We have launched an internal project management software- Addpro and an online inventory management app- E-store in this pursuit.
We have also started operations in Nairobi, Kenya and are keenly looking for projects in Africa.
What are the major challenges faced by you as an EPC while commissioning a project? How do you overcome those?
In India, apart from the engineering, logistics and project timeline related challenges, one has to be prepared to face hindrances in the form of local issues, slow Government departments and extreme weather conditions etc. For all such issues, our mantra is – Prevention is better than cure.
However, challenges are bound to come and involvement of top management as and when a major issue comes up is a must for stopping them in their tracks.
Most of the time solution does not consists of any rocket science, but a good project company is one who remains vigilant and have short response time.
Tell us a bit about the recent technology advancements in the sector which are driving the industry forward?
I feel that we have hit a plateau as far as major technological advancements in the sector are concerned. Some of the buzzwords like Mono and PERC,micro inverters, bi-axial trackers etc are still being evaluated both technically and commercially.
Solar floaters is the one bright segment being explored by the industry which holds the particular significance in our country with so many wetlands, lakes and reservoirs.
How do you ensure that the safety and quality parameters are met at your project sites?
We are adopting a zero-tolerance policy on safety and thankfully have avoided any major incident so far. Safety still remains a concern us primarily because of the fact that most of the farm scale projects are executed in the remote locations with local laborers doing much of the manual jobs. It is difficult to train them in a short span of 60-90 days which is the typical project cycle of a solar project. We are sensitizing our teams and have taken up QHS training programs at site..
One of the major challenges we face as an EPC contractor is the excessive pressure being exerted by the developers and the project owners to execute the project at an enormous pace. People need to understand that Quality and Safety comes when work is done at an optimum pace. I am glad that people are learning nowadays from their past mistakes.
Addwatt has stake in Electric Vehicle too, How do you foresee the synergy between solar industry and the EV sector?
There is a misconception in the industry that EV sector is the natural progression for solar industry, that’s not true. E-mobility offers a whole new set of opportunities and challenges. As per our assessment, it will take some more time before a lucrative revenue model can be explored with scalability. Currently, the EV market has limited players like commercial fleet operators, E-rickshaws in shared mobility. It will take more time before mass adoption of Electric Passenger vehicles happens. Government interventions like FAME and other tax sops have stirred up the sentiments of the sector but only time will tell whether these will give the desired results. For a solar EPC company like us, EV Charging stations offer a new opportunity to diversify, where upon we are currently focusing ourselves via our new business vertical Addwatt Electric.