New Delhi: The government must ensure availability of high efficiency solar modules with proven track record at competitive processes to increase capacity additions, said Sharad Pungalia, chief executive officer and managing director, Amplus Solar in an exclusive interview with ETEnergyWorld. Edited excerpts:
What is your larger growth outlook for the company in the coming years?
We will continue to serve the commercial and industrial (C&I) customers in their energy transition endeavor with reliable sustainability solutions and we believe our organisation’s growth will continue to come from such onsite or offsite renewable energy solutions.
Amplus Solar has plans to foray into the green hydrogen segment. Tell us about your plans for the coming years? How much capacity and investment are you targeting?
We are specifically targeting the distributed green hydrogen space, where we intend to undertake smaller size electrolysers within the customers premises and provide them an end-to-end solution coupled with green electricity and green hydrogen. In addition, we are also interested to be renewable energy partners for the large-scale green hydrogen projects, where we can manage round-the-clock supply of green energy to such facilities.
Your company has over 1.4 GW of operational and under-construction capacity. What are your expansion plans for the next financial year?
Our focus has always been to deliver befitting energy solutions that are customised to meet the specific requirements of each of our customers. We expect to carry on the same philosophy for the next financial year. Our quality-driven approach, along with our strong asset portfolio, ensures that we have always been able to achieve sustainable growth.
How much investment are you targeting for this? What will be the source of this funding?
We don’t follow a specific target or capacity and accordingly, investments will be driven by the prevailing opportunities. We are resolute in delivering solutions for the bigger cause of the net-zero future by providing innovative renewable offerings. For the growth investment, apart from internal accruals and sponsor or promoter funding we have relationships with local banks and FIs for long term financing at the project levels.
What is your perspective on the levy of basic customs duty since April, 2022. Do you think this will result in reduced solar imports and hence a fall in capacity additions?
Basic customs duty has led to a sharp rise in solar tariffs, as modules contribute 50 per cent to 60 per cent of the total project cost. This is in addition to the rise in module prices due to the hike in silicon prices, along with other raw materials and metals, globally. Beyond BCD, there is also ALMM, which is challenging the basic requirement of high-quality and high-efficiency modules, a necessity as rooftop space is limited. Yes, the growth has stalled due to such challenges and the government must ensure availability of high efficiency solar modules with proven track record at competitive processes to increase capacity additions.
What are your expectations from the government for the upcoming Budget?
The budget should focus on long-term policy stability to encourage investments in the renewable energy sector. We expect higher capital allocation towards upgrading the transmission and storage network to maintain grid stability and balance. Further, the government should consider providing tax cuts and concessions regarding reduced GST and BCD on components used for renewable energy generation. In addition, focused measures for specific segments like such as residential solar – loan guarantee plans to reduce credit risk and make residential rooftops more attractive. Lastly, for green hydrogen special concessions like GST, BCD waivers and generation-based incentives to enable affordable green hydrogen production should be provided.