This is because of the very high capital cost of solar equipment, Rajeev Gupta, COO, Birla Power, informs R Srinivasan.The company's focus on rural areas has been their driving force in the past 2-3 years. The company COO spoke to us about pressures that the industry faces due to vagaries of diesel prices, solar-powered gensets, emission and noise control measures and latest technologies. Excerpts:Kindly comment on the pressure that the industry faces due to vagaries of diesel prices and due to more stringent environmental restrictions in recent times.Recently, diesel as a fuel option for portable generator sets is being preferred over traditional kerosene and petrol. Kerosene has availability issues and running cost of petrol is higher. In the higher rating generator sets, diesel has been the primary fuel. Though an increase in the price of diesel puts pressure on running cost, however due to non-availability of practical economical alternative, it remains the preferred fuel. Although slowly compressed natural gas, piped natural gas and biogas are being talked about, for reasons of availability and awareness, they will take some more time to become the mainstream fuel. Environment restrictions call for investment in R&D, which is the only pressure on industry. But they need to be adhered to as they are customer and environment-friendly.Which sectors and regions witness the maximum growth in gensets?The retail segment remains the backbone of the industry. Newer opportunities are being thrown open by government initiatives in education, healthcare, rural development, e-governance, etc. At the same time, semi-urban and rural markets are becoming interesting with larger disposable income and the desire for a comfortable lifestyle. Defence applications remain an ever-green opportunity.Your views on the use of solar-powered DG sets to reduce running costs.Due to the very high capital cost of solar equipment, the usage of solar-powered DG sets is restricted to very few enterprises. It is certainly not for the retail segment, till the cost of solar cells reduce significantly.How do your gensets conform to emission and noise control norms?Emission norms compliance is driven by the design of the engine itself. For noise, generators have changed their look and feel from being open generators to canopied ones.Do your sets work on dual-fuel engines, permanent magnet and axial fuel technology or use new mechanisms for fuel injection, valve actuating and turbo-charging systems?Our range works on dual-fuel (kerosene and petrol). Permanent magnets poles are used in alternators to instantly start electricity generation even after long storage periods. Hydraulic tappets are used for valve actuation, which do not require any adjustment during the life of the genset.About Birla PowerThe company has always been a rural market-focussed company with its pumpsets. It has expanded its range from kerosene and petrol-run generators to diesel-run generators. About two years ago the company introduced 5 kVa portable generators.
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