The overall sentiment of solar project installation is very upbeat, however, on the manufacturing front, it is still slightly down. Going ahead, with rise in solar capacity addition, local procurement and sourcing is expected to grow, says Rajaram Pai, Business Leader, DuPont Electronics and Communications and Photovoltaic (PV) Solutions, South Asia, in an interaction with Pradeep Pandey.
India has set a huge target of about 20,000 MW for solar by 2017. Is this target achievable?
The industry is quite optimistic that the targeted solar capacity would be met by the end of this year. In fact, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has targeted to increase the capacity by 4,000 MW by 2015. However, going forward, these indications seem to be saying that most of the states will come up with conducive policies in line with what Gujarat or Rajasthan have at present. The prospective growth in the sector is going to be enabled through collective renewable purchase obligations (RPOs) by each of the states. Being one of the largest solar photo voltaic manufacturers in the world, we have a very strong focus in India and this has essentially come from our very strong belief that the future will be very bright.
...but the investor sentiments are yet to improve due to lack of clarity in policy reforms. Don't you think so?
I would rather like to say that this is just a temporary phase. If you see 2-3 years down the line, solar installed capacity was not more than 100 MW but now it has expanded to over 1,700 MW. In the last two years, it has multiplied by 17 times, but if you look at the overall sentiments, there has been definitely some impact on the manufacturing sector due to various reasons. However, installations are still happening.
The overall sentiment at a project installation level is quite upbeat, however on the manufacturing front, it is still slightly down. I believe it might improve once the installation starts picking up. And, there is a obvious merit in being able to source and procure equipment and other materials locally because there is always some benefits of having local supply chain versus imports. When the overall industry thrives the local industry, we will also be able to participate in that through manufacturing. It´s going to definitely benefit everybody. What we are witnessing is just a short-term blip, but in the long term, it will definitely improve as we move forward.
Where are your manufacturing footprints?
We don't have manufacturing footprints in India as we get everything manufactured outside.
Don't you think importing from other countries would have an impact on your profit margins?
We've been supplying materials at the most competitive rates. We look at the current market and find out what strategy fits our overall plan. We intend that the customer receives the best value at the end of the day.
ow much is the total revenue of the company?
DuPont globally is split into different verticals. There are about 12 business segments. If you take the total photo voltaic (PV) business, it is about $1.3 billion worldwide.
What's the percentage in the Asian market?
I won't be able to share the exact details. We are the world's largest suppliers, so the share keeps on changing.
How is the situation in India when compared to overseas?
The pull for PV is different in different countries. For example, if you look at Japan, their market is very small but the pull for PV has happened because of what has happened on the nuclear side. Japan's pricing module is very different (priced at premium) as compared to other countries. If you look at European markets, their markets were driven because there was a strong push to move away from non-renewables. In India, the push is essentially coming because the demand for power is acute in India. And, solar itself can be a better option to meet the electricity requirements here.
Do you have any plans for setting up any manufacturing plants in India?
DuPont is always open to looking at the possibilities that really works best for the Indian market. So if tomorrow, there is a huge demand, which necessitates that we have to set up a plant, we will consider it appropriately.
DuPont India is a subsidiary of US-based $27 billion E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, a 204-year science and technology company. DuPont's association with India is since 1802, when the first shipment of raw materials for black powder for explosives was imported from India into the US. Today, DuPont India markets a wide range of products in varied market segments including agriculture, food and nutrition; health care; home and construction; electronics; safety and protection; and transportation and infrastructure. The company has production facilities in India for DuPont Engineering Polymers (at Savli near Vadodara, and at Madurai), DuPont Crop Protection products (at Savli), DuPont Liquid Packaging Systems (at Savli), DuPont Refinish (at Savli) and Pioneer« seeds (at Medchal near Hyderabad).
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