Finding a niche as Solar EPC – Premier Solar
An Interview @REI 2016
With Solar power growing at a fast pace in India and the Government at the centre providing good impetus for the growth, many entrepreneurs and businesses are keen to enter this sunrise sector. And most popular choice for them has been Solar EPC – as it is a low risk game and requires relatively low investment than other solar business avenues.
As a matter of this fact, number of solar EPCs in the country has been increasing exponentially due to which there is a tight competition for most solar projects. This is a serious challenge for all the existing EPCs. That is why it is important to find a niche to differentiate in the market.
Premier Solar, a Hyderabad based Solar EPC company – is one of the best examples of solar companies to have understood this very well. Apart from the regular utility-scale and rooftop solar installations, they also focus on small niches within solar such as canal-top solar power plants and floating solar plants.
Premier Solar is one of the oldest solar companies in India operating for over two decades now. Premier was started in the year 1995 as a small scale assembly unit (3 MW) mainly for integrating solar home lighting solutions and other off-grid products. They steadily increased their portfolio by adding more capacity module manufacturing line, exporting solar modules, providing solar EPC solutions and more.
Today Premier Solar has grown to become a 100 MW/year Solar module manufacturer, 50 MW/year solar cell manufacturer and one of the leading EPC players in the country with a project portfolio of 10 MW Rooftop solar projects and 80 MW Utility-scale Solar projects, so far.
Recently, Bridge to India consulting has ranked Premier Solar as no.6 in turnkey Solar EPC execution in India. That says something, isn’t it? – Given that there are hundreds of EPCs in the solar market.
Solar Mango team was able to catch up with Mr.Nitin Mamodia, CEO of Premier Solar for a brief interview during the recent REI Expo 2016, held at Noida. A quick snapshot of the interview is given below:
Interview with Premier Solar
What are the key products and solutions Premier Solar provides to the Indian solar sector?
Solar Modules and Turnkey EPC solutions (AC, DC, Design and Engineering) are our major verticals.
Which are the key end user segments for your products and solutions?
As a Solar EPC, our focus areas are Industrial and commercial rooftop (both CAPEX and OEPX) and large utility scale solar power plants.
So the key end user segments are Commercial segment and Government utilities.
What are the highlights and USPs of your products and solutions?
We love projects with technology and financial challenges. This allows us to go after small niches within solar and become a leader. I will give you some examples:
We have done a 1.6 MW Solar Hybrid project in Uganda. This was for a small island which had no grid connectivity at all. We integrated the 600 kW solar plant with 1 MV DG and battery. This project was funded by the Euro Union.
We also have done many other challenging projects like a 60 kW floating solar power plant in Bihar, a 1 MW solar power plant with dual axis trackers and integrating with 1.25 MV DG and many more.
With respect to financial challenges – we assist the developer by unburdening some of the working capital issues off his shoulders and we take care some of it. This is a huge benefit for any developer.
Any future products and solutions you are coming up with for the Indian market?
We have recently signed up a canal bank solar project of 16 MW at Uttarakhand. Out of this 1.2 MW is going to be put up on a 40 m wide canal top – this is again unique in the industry.
We are in a signing spree of a variety of projects both in India and Africa.
What are the key learnings you have had from the Indian solar energy sector so far?
India Solar market is very dynamic with fast falling prices. So, it is better not to do any long term planning.
Innovation in design will be the one big differentiator for EPCs.
What, according to you, are the key challenges faced by the Indian Solar market?
Competition is a challenge. But if you are able to identify a niche where there is very little competition, then it is easy become a leader.