SolarQuarter India interviewed Mr. Ankit Kanchal, MD & CEO, Enrich Energy. Mr. Ankit is a finance graduate with a Masters in Marketing and a professional turned entrepreneur. He has industry experience in Logistics & Renewable Energy. In the renewable energy space. He started Enrich and since then he has been leading it to achieve various milestones.
With SolarQuarter he shared his views on India achieving the 100 GW milestone of installed renewable energy capacity and the way ahead. He also spoke on emerging technologies and Enrich’s future plans.
Thank you Mr. Ankit for taking time out of your busy schedule and talking to SolarQuarter team
1. India’s renewable energy capacity recently crossed the milestone of 100 gigawatts (GW). How do you see the Indian story unfold into the decade ahead?
That’s a stellar performance by India. From my point of view the achievement is both remarkable in itself and as when compared to other countries. Let me cite the two aspects. First is the target setting itself. India’s RE adoption target chart is almost linear, making it challenging right from beginning, unlike some countries which have set their long term RE target chart with a hockey stick effect, wherein the initial targets are low and only rise sharply towards the end of the period. Next is the achievement against the target which is even more interesting. India has been so close to achieving the target that targets were revised upwards midway, which speaks volumes of the determination and confidence that India has shown.
To understand the shape of RE in next 10 years, it is pertinent to understand the power scenario during the past decade. India reduced its peak power deficit from about 10% in 2010 to about 0.2% now. Therefore, there is a subtle shift that is now emerging, wherein focus moves from addition in generation capacity to focusing on improving power Quality. While RE by nature has intermittency, a combination like Wind + Solar and other RE sources within themselves can help smoothen some of it. Further firming of output power can be achieved through energy storage solutions, which will play a vital role. There is also a shift emerging from dependency on power from DISCOM to captive RE generation or under Open Access, which is evident from an uptick on Corporate PPAs. More RE growth can be expected as our strong PSUs that are into energy generation or related to it, commit to changing their energy generation mix from fossil to more RE over the decade. Therefore there is strong tailwind to renewables and for good. Moreover, to develop India into a USD 5 trillion economy, stable and sustainable energy is vital.
2. Which technologies will provide the most impetus to sustainable growth of Solar energy?
The primary performance driver is the efficiency of Solar PV cells. The efficiency has significantly improved during the past couple of decades from single digit to close to 25%, and will soon achieve the next milestone of 30% which will be vital for crystalline silicon solar cells. In the decade ahead, multi junction and n-type material could be promising to reach higher performance levels. On the improvement in project performance, Enrich has adopted robotic cleaning for its large projects where the performance has been good and also provides a good way to reduce dependency on precious water resources.
3. What are Enrich’s plans ahead?
Enrich was incorporated with a vision to develop solar energy in India. This September, Enrich celebrates 10 years since its foundation. It’s a celebration of decade long service to the nation and supporting Customer’s sustainable energy initiatives. Enrich is grateful to the various stakeholders for their trust and support through the journey.
As we look ahead, Enrich is well positioned to support Private and Government clients for development of solar projects. Also it will bring in the Hybrid projects alongwith energy storage through tie-up with its industry peers. Enrich is also experimenting on other RE technologies like Wave and Tidal for which proposals have also been set afoot. Enrich is also expanding its geographical footprint to encompass ten key RE states, covering about 60% of the country within a year. As an organization, Enrich has embarked upon a transformational journey to be an Enterprise worthy of existence.
4. How challenging was Covid times and what were your key takeaway from these challenges?
The team at Enrich strived to maintain business continuity through the pandemic period and though there were major disruptions, we still managed to commission multiple projects through the period. One of the projects that Enrich commissioned was Maharashtra’s largest group captive project. This project took shape amid the peak of the pandemic and despite numerous challenges, it was commissioned on 31 Dec 2020. Key takeaway is “Tough times don’t last, Tough people do”.