Upsurge in demand for solar products

0
1196

Energy saving is the buzzword these days and solar power is a feasible option to achieve it. Though its efficacy has been acknowledged, it will take a few more years for solar power based products to be adopted by the masses in India. Unlike in developed nations like the US, China, Europe, South Africa and Australia, where people are aware about the benefits of using solar energy and where there is a significant market for solar powered gadgets, in India demand has just started picking up, though the sector has a huge potential in the coming years.

By Sandhya Malhotra

Friday, November 12, 2010: The demand for solar products has been curtailed so far due to lack of awareness, poor visibility, high costs, lack of financial support and service points.

Rising demand

Despite the odds, solar products industry seems positive. “Things will change soon,” says K Subramanya, CEO, Tata BP Solar India Ltd. “Demand for solar products in India has traditionally centred around off grid solar products such as solar lanterns, solar home lighting systems, solar street lights, solar power packs and solar water heaters. Solar energy can also be used to power signboards, streetlights and light emitting diode (LED) displays,” he adds.

Sunil Bhatnagar, director, sales and marketing, Artheon Electronics

Sunil Bhatnagar, director, sales and marketing, Artheon Electronics Ltd, says, “The domestic market for solar products has started moving forward. Earlier, the price of the solar panel was a big concern and it posed a challenge for solar products manufacturers. Fortunately, the scenario is changing as solar panel prices have reduced by more than half their earlier costs.”

Moreover, with the introduction of LED based technologies, there is a sudden surge in the demand for solar products. Along with the price of solar panels, cost of solar battery have also reduced due to less wattage consumption of LED. This has made solar products more accessible to the masses. Apart from this, the demand for solar products is growing fast due to efforts made by Ministry of Non -renewable Energy (MNRE), The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and other NGOs.

According to G Satish Kumar, manager, Marketing and Sales, Aditya Energy Systems, “Demand for solar and other renewable energy products will catch up fast in India due to the low or total non-availability of grid power in many parts of the country. However, due to high pricing, the number of people who could avail these options is low, as of now. But with prices dropping, the demand will grow manifold.”

What major players offer

K Subramanya, CEO, Tata BP Solar India

The Indian solar gadgets market is still in a nascent stage but there is a wide range of sophisticated solar products available in the market, including solar streetlights, lanterns, home lights, water heaters, garden lights, irrigation pumps, inverters, torches, road studs, traffic blinkers, DC fans, luminaries, radios, mobile chargers, signboard lights and many others.

Among all the products, solar streetlights, home lights, lanterns, torches and small solar power plants are more in demand. Says Satish Kumar, “Most solar PV products are being sold in rural India and in areas where the grid availability is poor. Besides remote areas, there is also demand from the government, PSUs and corporate houses because of the subsidy programme.” Sunil Bhatnagar adds, “Solar lanterns are also sought after, followed by solar home lights and streetlights.”

Says Naresh Goel, CEO, E-sharp Solar, “We offer solar water heaters and solar PV systems, including solar streetlights, home lights, lanterns, torches and small solar power plants, mobile chargers, LED bulbs, LED tubelights, charge controllers and inverters. We have designed our products to cater the harsh environment conditions for rural and urban areas. We are exporting our products to Asian, African and European countries. Our main focus is to provide rugged, reliable and efficient energy products using the state-of-the-art technology and high efficiency LEDs.”

G Satish Kumar, manager, marketing and sales, Aditya Energy Systems

“We also cater to a vast array of solar products starting from solar lanterns (LED/CFL), home lighting systems (LED/CFL), streetlighting systems (LED/CFL), power packs, water heating systems and many more,” says Satish Kumar.

Says Sunil Bhatnagar, “We manufacture the maximum number of solar products through our associate companies. We sell mainly solar lanterns of 3 watts and 7 watts. Apart from this, we have solar systems based on parabolic for solar power based air conditioning and cooking.”

Gautam Polymers has an innovative and extensive product range of solar and LED lights that are sold under the brand names ‘Solid Multilight’ and ‘Solid LED Home Light System’ .

Tata BP Solar is a leading manufacturer of solar photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules in India. “We manufacture and market solar products such as solar lanterns, home lighting systems and water heaters, apart from engineered solar power solutions for the railways, telecom towers, defence forces and rural banks. We also install rooftop solar power plants that could be stand alone or be grid connected,” says K Subramanya.

Sunil Rathi, CEO, Waaree Retail

According to Sunil Rathi, CEO, Waaree Retail Pvt Ltd, “As of now, we are seeing a huge demand from the rural market, with increasing demand from the semi-urban sector as well. We manufacture solar PV panels and have solar streetlights, lanterns and charge controllers, which are certified and approved by MNRE and DGS&D.”

Rajesh Soni, proprietor, Radha Energy Cell, a company that has been manufacturing and supplying solar products for the last 13 years, says, “We have 60 solar powered products specially designed for rural markets. Moreover, we have installed our products at large industries and educational institutes. Soon, we will add solar powered weather station solutions to our portfolio.”

Technological innovations

Since the rural market is the major consumer of solar products, buyers are not aware of the technology. They are more interested in their features. Hence, manufacturers are putting more effort into making these solar products more user friendly, by adding multiple features and lowering costs. Companies also feel that aftersales support for solar products is a major concern and to address this, they are developing products that are more reliable and rugged, as per customers’ requirements.

Naresh Goel, CEO, E-sharp Solar

Says Sunil Bhatnagar, “We have been introducing a lot of innovations in our products. Like in the case of solar lanterns, home lights and streetlights, CFL bulbs are being replaced by LEDs. This is a major step towards getting better quality of light at the lowest cost. By using LEDs, we could reduce the size of the lanterns to half their original size. Other innovations include a mobile charger or a night light being added to lanterns.”

Sunil Rathi adds, “We are coming up with an advanced research lab, which is one of its own kind in India for testing and comparing solar modules of all makes. This facility will be used for various product innovations.”

“At Aditya Energy Systems, we continuously undertake R&D activities to introduce better products and also to improve the existing product line. One of the best features of our solar energy products is that they are easy to install and require minimal maintenance,” informs Satish Kumar.

Limitations for buyers

Since the buyers are not very aware of these products, they need to be much educated and exposed to solar technology and solar products, as such. “Buyers should ensure that the product is from a reliable company and that it comes with good after sales service and support. For some of the products like solar water heaters, the quality of installation is almost as important as the product itself. Therefore, the buyer has to ensure that installation and commissioning is undertaken by trained and experienced staff,” says K Subramanya.

Satish Kumar emphasises, “Solar products are sizeable financial investments, so price is the biggest challenge for the customer. Although these systems save energy during their lifecycle, due to the high initial cost, customers are hesitant to go in for these products.”

“These products are not very accessible to end users, who also know little about the latest developments. They have to depend completely on the distributors. Moreover, after-sales service is another area where buyers face problems,” points out Sunil Bhatnagar.

Buying tips

  • Buyers should check if the product is already moving well in other areas and make enquiries about its efficiency levels where the products are already in use.
  • The product should be certified by some agency like MNRE, SEC, TERI, DGSD, etc. The warranty on the product is another important parameter.
  • Buyers should analyse their needs, decide on the budget, and look for a reliable company with a proper warranty and after sale service programme/network.
  • Buyers should check the technical details of the product and the credentials of the company.

PRODUCTS AND THEIR FEATURES

Name of manufacturer Types of solar products Price range Two important features Contact details (Mob No, e-mail, website)

Aditya Energy Systems

Lanterns, home lights, street lights, power packs, garden lights, water heaters

Rs 1,000-Rs 3,000,
Rs 4,500-Rs 22,000,
Rs 16,500-Rs 50,000,
2.5 lakh/KW, 2,000-6,000, 18,000/100LPD

Reliable clean and green

Mob: 9818433153;

Ph: 01204232127;
Email: satish@adityasolar.in; Website: www.adityasolar.in

Artheon Electronics Ltd, Delhi

3 watt LED and 7 watt CFL lanterns

Rs 700-Rs 2,000

Good quality LEDs used, along with most suitable SMF VRLA batteries

Ph: 011-40516480; Fax: 011-40516479; Mob: 9999119490; Email: smf@artheon.in; Website: www.artheonelec.com

E-Sharp Solar Solution Pvt Ltd

Water heaters, LED tube lights, LED bulbs and street lights, garden lights, etc

Rs 1,250-Rs 50,000

State of the art technology, design based on Indian climatic conditions and life style

Mobile:09313104202;
Email: sales@esharp.in;

Website: www.esharp.in

Radha Energy Cell

LED lanterns, inverters, charge controllers, submersible pumps, garden lights, dryers, weather stations

Rs 475 – Rs 3,500,000

 

Email: Radhyasolar@ymail.com; Website: www.radhasolar.com

Tata BP Solar India Ltd

Solar home lighting system

Margadeep solar CFL light

Solar PV solutions for telecom, railways, defence, etc

 

Easy to use, negligible maintenance

Rugged design to operate in harsh conditions

Customised solutions as per requirements

78, Electronic City, Phase-I, Hosur Road, Bengaluru;
Ph: 080- 40702000;
Email: tatabp@tatabp.com;

Website: www. tatabp.com

Waaree Energies Pvt Ltd

PV modules

Rs 90-125 per watt

Screw less modules, internationally recognised high quality PV modules

Mobile: 9930932549;
Email: chintanvalia@waaree.com; Website: www.waareeenergies.com

Note: The names of companies are in alphabetical order

Electronics Bazaar, South Asia’s No.1 Electronics B2B magazine

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Are you human? *