India's solar manufacturing industry has seen only lows in the past decade when solar energy came to the fore in the country. On one side there were cheap Chinese imports eating into the domestic market, and then there were multiple policy flip flops. It is now that the sector is having its moment in the sun with big names venturing into it - from Adani to Reliance Industries. Even the government seems to be offering a steady policy environment and several sops.
To talk about the journey of the sector and what awaits in the future, we talked with Gyanesh Chaudhary, founder and managing director, Vikram Solar. Vikram Solar based in Kolkata was one of the foremost manufacturers in the Indian solar industry and now claims to be the largest. Gyanesh who founded the company comes from manufacturing lineage and started Vikram Solar 15 years ago. The company opened a new unit in Chennai recently.
0:00 - Podcast intro
1:19 - Introduction of Gyanesh Chaudhary
2:12 - About Gyanesh & journey of solar manufacturing
10:43 - Places, people & events that shaped Vikram Solar
16:40 - About China's manufacturing might in solar & their ultra low cost
21:18 - India's push to renewable power generation without manufacturing ecosystem
23:04 - Business plan of Vikram Solar sans policy support
27:14 - WTO regulations & its impact on Indian manufacturing
29:24 - Comparison between China & India vis a vis financing, government support, sops etc.
33:05 - Is focus now on manufacturing because it makes business sense or there is a policy environment in the country?
35:42 - Ever thought of entering wind manufacturing?
37:24 - Did India miss the bus on solar manufacturing due to initial missteps, pre-2014?
39:49 - Tariff wars in solar and wind and how it impacts manufacturers
43:53 - Future plans of Vikram Solar
45:15 - Entry of conglomerates into solar manufacturing and how it changes the sector's dynamics?
48:18 - Land, Finance, Protection from Imports and Govt Sops. How would you rate these in priority?
51:31 - Weak financing instruments in India for solar manufacturing
56:39 - Contribution of manufacturing to meet 450Gw renewable capacity by 2030. What share of the market is Vikram Solar looking at?
01:02:42 - Podcast outro