Rising Competition in India’s Solar Market has Cut Margins to the Bone: Interview

In a conversation with Mercom, GoodWe’s head of sales for South and East Asia, James Hou said that the heightened competition is not healthy for the sector


Mercom India’s news team recently had the opportunity to speak with energy solutions provider GoodWe’s sales head for south and east Asia, James Hou. Hou shed some light on the evolving dynamics of the Indian solar market.

Here are the edited excerpts from the interview:

Why India, how is India’s business important to GoodWe?

Thanks to the technology development in recent years, solar energy is well accepted and applied globally with a reduction in cost of whole systems, especially with the falling price of PV modules. As one of the major PV markets, India installed close to 9.5 GW solar projects in last year and 2 GW solar capacity is expected  this year in the commercial and industrial markets. We also note that the idea of energy-saving and emissions-reduction is becoming popular in India, which can further support GoodWe’s business.

We are happy to see the rapid development of India’s PV industry. However, when many PV manufacturers flooding into India, a vicious price war between manufacturers has cut margins to the bone. This will disrupt the healthy development of PV industry as well as provide opportunities for low-cost inferior products.

We are focusing very much on big projects, either in the private or government sectors. Such projects would have a higher requirement for quality and service, which would differentiate us from many other players in the market. A very good sign is that EPCs/Developers nowadays tend to care more about the overall strengths of a supplier, instead of just looking at the price.

What products do you offer in India?

GoodWe can offer a comprehensive portfolio of products and solutions for residential, commercial and utility scale PV systems, ranging from 1.0 to 75 kW. GoodWe also provides energy storage solutions, which give customers control of their power, by giving them the choice and flexibility in how they use the electricity grid. By storing excess power during off-peak hours, when electricity costs are at their lowest, clean energy can be enjoyed during peak times while benefitting from a reduction in monthly costs. In addition, the battery storage system provides critical back-up power during grid outages or blackouts.

Which inverters are in more demand and why?

Our MT Series string inverters (50-60kW) are the most popular for India’s C&I solar market, which can be successfully deployed on large scale commercial rooftops and ground-mounted solar PV systems. This can help further reduce installation costs while its boosting its power function, which can provide a higher yield and a faster ROI.

What do you think of the rupee depreciation and how is it affecting business?

Yes, the rupee depreciation has brought greater pressure on the importers. But thanks to the continuous price reduction of components, especially solar panels, projects can still be managed at a satisfying profitability level. The increase of demand for solar energy and continuous government support have been leading the market in a very positive direction, which has made India a standout as one of the most thriving solar market around the globe.

How are policy changes in India affecting the market?

We feel that the BIS certification could be a significant change.

What would you like our readers to know about GoodWe?

GoodWe is a leading, strategically-thinking enterprise which focuses on research and manufacturing of PV inverters and energy storage solutions. With an average monthly sales volume of 30,000 pieces in 2017, and 12 GW installed in more than 100 countries, GoodWe solar inverters have been largely used in residential, commercial rooftops, industrial and utility scale systems, ranging from 1.0 to 75 kW. GoodWe inverters offer reliable operation and excellent performance and are well recognized by customers worldwide.