COVID has seen a growing acceptance for the RE sector in India. How has the RE sector fared in the last year, in your opinion? Could you elaborate on how the last year has been for your business in particular?
The RE sector in India was adversely impacted by COVID-19. The resultant lockdown hit imports from China, where almost 80% of solar cells and modules were manufactured. Again, with the RE sector being attached to the power grid, a drop in consumption meant restrictions put on power generation, thus adversely impacting the RE producers. The pandemic also impacted investments in the RE sector, making it even more vulnerable to a lack of funds.
Our business, spearheaded by ATUM, the world’s first electricity-generating roof, was also impacted. However, we have managed to bounce back on the back of strong sales, and we continue to see strong demand from enterprises and the B2B sector.
The government has set agenda to achieve 450 GW RE by 2030. What should be the target achieved by the next year to ensure we are on the mark? Can you delve a bit into the plan of action instilled by your company to ensure your contribution?
We think that the target is achievable, and the government should be able to meet its target of 450 GW RE by 2030. This is because consumers are beginning to understand RE and its commercial advantages in the long run. This can be widely seen in the slew of RE products, such as cars, bikes, scooters and charging stations, which have been launched in the last few months.
At Visaka, we continue to focus on RE-related products. Apart from ATUM Solar Roof, we have also launched ATUM Charge, our 100% green, solar-powered EV charging stations. We are well on our way to installing ATUM Charge stations across cities in India.
How can the government offer a helping hand to companies to ensure that India lets go off the dependency on fossil fuel and starts utilising its RE sources?
The government has been proactive in driving the RE sector. Whether it is FAME-2 or other policies implemented, we believe that the Indian RE sector will play a significant role in the coming years. It will help to augment our capabilities in manufacturing components, batteries, solar cells, etc, so that dependence on other countries/markets is minimised.
We believe that there should be a concerted effort to develop a national EV charging infrastructure, support R&D related to RE and provide ample subsidies to companies introducing products and services related to the RE sector.
The government recently released a new set of rules to protect green energy investment allowing RE generators to sell power in power exchange. How does this impact the RE businesses in India for the coming year?
It augers well. Substantial peak and energy shortages prevail in the country. This is due to inadequacies in generation, transmission & distribution which will now be taken care of with the advent of power exchanges. RE generators are no longer at the mercy of the grid but have the autonomy to sell their power in exchanges. This will lead to a fair exchange fair and market-driven pricing, which will encourage other enterprises to enter the RE sector.
What does India in 2022 look like for the RE sector, according to you? What strategies have to be instilled to ensure your organisation is a key contributor to the Indian economy?
COVID was a hiccup, but we are of the firm opinion that the RE sector in India will continue to grow and flourish as it has the support of the government, and many sizeable enterprises are very keen to enter the sector. We are looking at reaching out to various parts of the country and ensuring that we are introducing new and innovative products that will boost RE use.