Dr. Someshwer Dutt Sharma talks about Sun Renewables experience in the solar industry, technological advancement that they are working on and more.
Sun Renewables has a decade of experience in the industry, having commissioned and operated more than 2 GW of solar projects in India, How has the experience been?
SUN Renewables is a JV between a diversified Indian group, SUN Group, and one of the largest Japanese conglomerates, ORIX Corporation. It is headquartered in NCR with offices in Gurgaon and New Delhi as well as a regional office in Bangalore with pan-India coverage. SUN Group is a leading principal investor and private equity fund manager in India, Russia and other emerging markets. The founding shareholders of SUN are part of an Indian family group (Khemka group) that has been active in India for more than 100 years. The group has been active in areas such as Aerospace, Oil & Gas, Mining, Real Estate, Infrastructure, Food & Beverage, Technology and Renewable Energy. ORIX is one of the leaders in the solar power generation business in Japan and has solar portfolio more than 1 GW in Japan.
Our core objective is to be market leading player in the “Distributed Generation” sector of Solar Market (Projects< 50 MW) serving Commercial & Industrial (C&I) clients’ clean energy requirements. Our core team which is based in Delhi, Gurgaon and Bangalore has best-in-class industry experience and track record, having collectively designed, commissioned and operated more than 2 GW of Solar Projects Worldwide. We have strong sponsorship from both its parents and a range of industry partnerships to create differentiated long-term partnerships with its clients and to mitigate risk. We have fostered blue-chip channel partnerships locally with global real-estate services giant Jones Lang LaSalle.
What technological breakthroughs can we expect from your company in the coming years?
We are working on following technology for improving energy yield, prevent PID effect and storage etc.
- Integration of Reflectors in both the Brownfield as well as greenfield projects to enhance the incident radiation on the PV Panels. We envisage a gain of 8 – 10% in the generation by integration of reflectors based on the site-specific ray optics. This concept is not new, but we need to develop accurate and flexible design for reflector positioning and size. This concept will lead to reduced payback period and help us to be competitive in India. We had filed a patent application and its in process.
- We may prevent Potential Induced Degradation (PID) effect & losses by implementing anti PID device at the string or inverter end. By doing this at the very outset, when the plant is designed, we can prevent the non-refundable losses PV Plant suffers due to PID effect, especially now, with the 1500V Modules being used in the Plants.
- PV + Storage Solution to C&I Customers to mitigate the DG running hours and creating a win-win situation.
We are offering PV + Storage solution for our C & I clients to reduce DG operation hours and peak power shaving applications. It’s important to design right system to cater to specific application requirements. It has been observed that very less no of installation is available presently for right application despite so many advantages which can be accrued from solar + storage solution. Major obstacle is the overall price of the Storage system, which includes Li battery, Racks, PCS, EMS and BMS etc and clear understanding of right application needs.
- PV Solutions for EV Charging.
Do you think India needs to pace up in its technology adoption to be at par with the world leaders?
Yes. We are lagging in the technology race and this is impacting big time in the viability of different renewable projects. For instance, India’s adoption of Floating Solar Technology has been quite slow looking at the potential (approx. 100 GW+) that the country has adequate large reservoirs available. Govt. needs to come up with specific guidelines for safety, floater quality, anchoring & mooring etc. Floating solar provides energy enhancement of around 7 % due to water cooling effect, reduce ~ 60 % evaporation rate and save most precious land bank.
For Solar Plus Storage Solution, most of the OEMS in India are basically importing the Lithium Cells and assembling it in India due to which the inflection point to make the ESS commercially viable is difficult to achieve, especially due to the duties and taxes imposed on the import of cells. We envisage the ESS market to grow at a rapid pace as there is a huge potential and demand in the Indian C&I and EV industry subject to having indigenous Lithium Battery Manufacturing.
We may expect advanced technologies implementation in the near future. Few of them are IoT based monitoring solutions, Blockchain for P2P microgrids, Drones mapping and AI/Data Analytics based services etc
Solar project should be designed for a life of 25 years. What quality parameters do you consider while procuring equipment for your projects?
There are many quality parameters which are skipped most of the time during solar PV power plant development. In my opinion, the strength of the weakest link determines the strength of the complete system. For example, quality of PV Modules and selection of BOS and method of execution plays a key role for PV Power Plants operating satisfactorily. We had evaluated around 500 MW portfolio for acquisition and found out that most of the PV Plants underperforming due to defects in the PV modules, poor execution of cables laying and serious cable faults, improper conduct, no drainage network, electrical equipment placement without proper clearance at front and rear side of the equipment and poor data monitoring of the plant.
Can you share any case study of an interesting project undertaken by Sun Renewables?
Yes, in one of our projects, we had designed a control loop wherein we ramp down the Inverters to meet the curtailed load requirement at Client’s premise. On weekends, being an Institution, the Client’s Load requirement comes down to 50% of the total generation capability of the Solar PV Plant. So, we had integrated the Solar PV System with a control functions wherein we ramp down the Inverters to meet the curtailed load requirement and thereby inhibiting any spurious tripping of the equipment in the institution.