Economic Slowdown Has Taken a Toll on Indian Rooftop Solar Market_ Solis Interview

In August 2019, Mercom reported that in the first half of the year, the top five solar inverter manufacturers in China accounted for 36.44% of inverter exports globally from China according to the latest trade data. Huawei, Sungrow, Solis, GoodWe, and Growatt came out as the top five inverter companies in China in 1H 2019.

According to Mercom India’s 2019 Solar Market LeaderboardSolis is also one of the major string inverter suppliers in India. Earlier this year, Solis was listed as a public company on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. According to the company, it was the first string inverter company to be listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

At Renewable Energy India (REI) Expo 2019, Mercom had a chance to interview Honey Raza, sales head (India) at Ginlong Solis, to discuss market trends, opportunities, and challenges that they face as an inverter supplier in India and around the globe.

 How is business globally and in India?



 Globally, we have shipped inverters of a total capacity of more than 10 GW, so the global business is going strong. Our India business has slowed down a little, but we are expecting a pick-up in sales beginning in the third or fourth quarter of FY 20.

 What is happening in the Indian market? What sort of challenges is Solis facing here?

There is definitely a slump in demand in the Indian solar market. We believe this has been caused by many factors, including a slow decision-making process from various authorities. Further, getting the Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS) certification is very expensive. If you compare this to getting IEC certifications, the cost is almost double. We have been in touch with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), and we believe that the issue related to the application process for the BIS will be ironed out. We have supplied inverters of around 176 MW capacity on a year to date basis, and we think we will be able to achieve around 400 MW of capacity by the end of the year.

Which parts of the Indian solar market are you focusing on?

Our string inverters mainly cater to the rooftop market, almost 90% of our installations (which is more than 500 MW) is across the rooftop segment. However, by early next year, we are launching a 1,500-volt product for the utility-scale market.

Has the economic slowdown impacted your business?

The rooftop market is highly dependent on industrial installations, so with the slowdown in industrial growth, there will definitely be an impact on the markets that we cater to. We were also doing many projects with automobile companies, and since last year we are seeing that these projects are being put on hold or canceled. Therefore, yes, the economic slowdown in India has taken a toll on the rooftop market.

 What sets you apart from the competition?

Other than providing quality products to our customers, we are focusing on creating consumer awareness about the inverter component. We believe that inverters are an integral part of solar energy projects and have to last for a long time. Therefore, the customer needs to understand what a quality product is and what is not. We are also very flexible, for example, the Uttar Pradesh government has been debating rolling back the net metering policy. We have launched a product which is a zero net export solution, which means that it can work without net metering, so as an equipment supplier we try to be as accommodative as possible.