Mercom’s Most Impactful Interviews in 2022 – Here’s What Clean Energy Experts Said

The interviews dwell on companies’ outlook and their market insights


Mercom India conducted a series of exclusive interviews with top executives from the renewable energy sector, bringing out their insights and opinions on the industry and the way forward.

Here is a look back at some of the impactful interviews covering solar inverters, robotic cleaning, the grid, the short-term market, and the evolving Commercial and Industrial (C&I) segment.

The Growing C&I Segment and Green Hydrogen Ambitions: Vibrant Energy

In a video interview, Srinivasan Viswanathan, CEO of Vibrant Energy, spoke about the company’s contribution to the growing renewable energy transition in the nation’s C&I segment, recent developments, key trends, and the company’s plan to pivot towards a green hydrogen ecosystem.

Viswanathan said that helping the C&I segment adopt renewable energy is in the company’s DNA. The company aims to work with corporates across India to support their decarbonization agenda by developing a significant pipeline of project capacity at a state level to deliver Intra and inter-state transmission systems connected to clients. He said that one of the company’s key strategies is to provide round-the-clock renewables and green energy attributes through wind-solar hybrid projects.

He spoke about Vibrant’s green hydrogen ambitions, “We are actively exploring opportunities to deliver green hydrogen and green ammonia to our clients. The interesting part is that almost 75% of the cost of green hydrogen is power, which we offer, providing us the advantage of delivering green hydrogen at competitive rates.”

Short-Term Market Trading: Hindustan Power Exchange (HPX)

Naveen Singh, Head of Business Development & Policy Advocacy, HPX India, shared insights on how the new platform would contribute to the growing short-term exchange market.

Singh said that HPX would help promote market efficiency through the use of advanced technology and by maximizing the power market value.

According to him, the cutting-edge technology solution, efficient price mechanism, and quality of service offered at HPX would act as the differentiator in the Indian power market.

About the evolving demand in the market, he said, “We have witnessed a shift wherein the traditional supporters of long-term contracts are shifting more towards the short-term markets and power exchanges, which gives a more real-time flavor to the entire procurement, rather than a long-term contract which may have lost its relevance. We feel this trend would continue, and more and more procurement would happen through longer duration tradable contracts over power exchanges as against the fixed long-term legacy contracts. Besides this, RE integration challenges and the technological breakthroughs in storage would also necessitate a higher dependence on short-term markets, particularly exchanges, in the coming years.”

A Smarter Grid for Efficient Transition of Clean Energy: GE

Deepak Pandey, Director of Business Operations for GE’s South Asia ‘Digital Grid’ Business, discussed the key technology innovations driving the future of the electricity grid.

Regarding the grid stability situation due to the planned 500 GW of non-fossil fuel-sourced power, Pandey said, “Renewable energy, especially solar and wind, is not constant, controllable, or predictable, and there may be a sudden increase or drop during the day. This poses a big threat to the grid’s stability and resiliency. Smart grid management systems are available to address these challenges with accurate generation forecasting, controllers to govern energy fluctuations, alternate energy resources for dampening variations, and provision for storage (battery/hydro/thermal storage).”

Pandey also spoke about GE’s contribution to the grid evolution in the country. “GE is a key stakeholder in providing digital grid solutions for all segments of the electric grid, be it generation, transmission, distribution, or consumption. More than 50% of the transmission of power in the country is being monitored and controlled by GE’s technology. GE has established more than 80 control centers in India and neighboring countries for monitoring and managing the power transmission network.”

The Need for Robotic Cleaning for Solar Modules: Ecoppia

Nalin Kumar Sharma, the President of Ecoppia for the Asia-Middle East & Pacific regions, in an exclusive video interview with Mercom India, spoke about the application and the future of robotics in the Indian solar sector. He also laid out in detail Ecoppia’s products and their plans for the coming years.

Sharma said, “With the labor costs increasing by 9% to 10% yearly, project costs in India have seen a considerable rise, leading to more Independent Power Producers (IPPs) opting for robotic cleaning. Another driving factor is water scarcity across the country, as water for basic necessities will always be prioritized over cleaning solar panels. Over time, robots have also managed to provide a better return on investments within five years and manage costs over the project’s life. Our clients have been able to offer competitive tariffs post the adoption of robotics in their operation.”

Solar Inverter Market: Sungrow India

Mercom spoke to Sunil Badesra, Country Head, Sungrow India, to discuss the company’s plans and his perspective on the growing solar inverter business in India.

Badesra said, “Sungrow achieved over 4.2 GW supply in 2021 and a cumulative shipment of more than 12 GW with a market share of nearly 35%. We expected the Indian market to operate somewhere around 7-8 GW per year when we put up our 3 GW plant four years ago. However, due to various factors affecting the solar sector last year, we saw that figure exceed the 9 GW mark. We are optimistic that India’s solar market will do much better in the coming years. We have decided to increase the factory’s capacity from 3 to 10 GW. “

“The past two years have seen more and more string inverters with enhanced technology coming into the market, and the share of string inverters has gradually increased to 50%. Even with recent technological advancements, solar efficiency still has a long way to go. Despite its recent rise, the industry still has many obstacles. The efficiency, dependability, environmental implications, and reliance on government regulations require improvements. An inverter is also one of the significant components which we cannot ignore, along with the other BoS items. This kind of motivation is crucial for suppliers like us,” he further added.