Challenge is to bring down the prices and still keep the product technologically advanced: Avni Energy

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G Gururaja, director, Avni Energy Solutions
G Gururaja, director, Avni Energy Solutions

The LED revolution is gripping the country at an accelerated pace in all the sectors, household or commercial. Keeping in mind the diverse needs of consumers, Avni Energy Solutions Pvt Ltd focuses on innovation and pricing model to bring out the best-quality LED products for the Indian market. G. Gururaja, director, Avni Energy Solutions Pvt Ltd, shares his views about the expanding LED industry in the Indian market and the company’s plans in conversation with Shweta Sengar of LED Bazaar

LEDB: How much has the demand for LED lights increased in the last two years?

A: The LED industry and LED market has grown extraordinarily in the past two years. As per estimates, the year-on-year growth in LED segment is not less than 50 per cent. The Indian LED market is projected to reach Rs 14 billion by 2016. With a lot of initiatives and schemes being launched, the demand for LEDs have gone up tremendously. LEDs are energy-efficient, environment friendly and last longer than conventional bulbs. These are energy-saving and therefore are much in demand these days.

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LEDB: How have recently launched schemes for LEDs helpful for the business?

A: The ‘Make in India’ campaign by the government has propelled LED business in India. The growth figures suggest that companies are now considering to manufacture LED components in India itself and are willing to procure components that are made in India. All the government moves are directed to make the best use of energy savings potential of LED lights. The recently launched scheme for making LED bulbs available at a heavily discounted price is an impressive move by the government. This will further provide impetus to the energy-saving mission of the government. The growing need for clean energy and energy-efficient LED bulbs is attracting lots of investments into the country. Increasing awareness about using energy-saving lighting systems and the subsequent demand is pushing the manufacturers to produce more.

LEDB: Are you satisfied with the initiatives taken by the government to boost the LED sector?

A: The schemes launched by the government are very satisfying. This kind of propulsion on clean energy and energy-efficient products was never given before. Few of the schemes for procurement of LED bulbs and LED streetlights by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) are proving to be very helpful. The ‘Prakash path’ initiative by the government to distribute LED bulbs, compulsory usage of LED lights in government offices and establishments, and other state government initiatives have boosted confidence in this sector. The LED sector is in its growth stage and will take a lot of time to reach maturity. During this period, a lot of technological advancements will be seen. LEDs have a long way to go.

LEDB: What are the challenges you face while doing business in India?

A: The technology in LEDs is changing rapidly. To keep up with these advancements is one of the biggest challenges that LED manufacturers face. The cost incurred and technology required is something that every manufacturer may not be able to cope with. Another challenge is the unavailability of skilled manpower and the training required to enhance their skill sets. On the financial front, bank requirement of collateral for loans, VAT structure variations across the country, requirement of bank guarantees for performance demanded even by government companies are a major setback.

LEDB: What kind of business and marketing strategies do you follow to keep ahead of the competition?

A: With the recent thrust on LEDs the competition in this segment has increased dramatically. The biggest challenge is to bring down the prices of LEDs and still keep the product technologically advanced. At Avni, we aim at the same. We follow business strategies that are largely technology-oriented. We focus on higher lumen bins, increased use of integrated chips drivers and taking measures to reduce the cost of LED casings. At the marketing front, the strategy is mostly about market segmentation and then focusing on its needs. We design products that are segment-oriented, like products for hospitality, retail, solar, and others. We obtain appropriate certifications from CE, MNRE and Lab-based LM 79 certifications, apart from maintaining consistent product quality. I believe, this is the best strategy to follow and keep ahead of competition.

LEDB: How do you contribute towards developing the LED product manufacturing ecosystem in India?

A: The LED industry in India is developing at a very fast rate, though we still lack in a lot of fronts related to lighting. There is a dearth of testing labs, supply-chain ecosystem, problems in obtaining quality LED components, among many other challenges. We are seven years old in lighting industry and we try to contribute as much as we can in this segment. A reliable ecosystem is a must for a booming sector in any country. Our suppliers are well- trained and offer quality casings, PCBs, MCPCBs, etc. We do not procure substandard components as we aim to keep pace with technological changes. We are a member of LED Products Manufacturers Association(LEDMA) and Electrical Lamp and Component Manufacturers Association (ELCOMA) and follow all BIS standards in our products. We strive to provide best quality products at competitive prices.

LEDB: What LED products do you manufacture?

A: We manufacture almost the entire range of LED products ranging from indoor products such as bulbs up to 14W , 1.2m tubelights 20W to 22W, commercial products such as panel/workstation lights to AC street lights of wattages from 10W to 200W for outdoor applications, to high baylights and floodlights for industrial applications. We also manufacture LEDs for special applications including underwater lights, operation theatre lights and architectural lights. We have a strong presence in the solar market with products ranging from solar lanterns, home lights to solar street lights etc.

LEDB: What focus does the company put on R&D for LEDs?

A: Research and development in LEDs focuses on complex issues that limit the efficacy and performance of LED products. R&D aims at simplifying package design, tuning the spectrum, and addressing stability for light output and colour along with a check on costs. At Avni, at least 20 engineers are working on projects related to design of new drivers, heat sinks, new products or on testing of these parameters. The R&D team at Avni focuses on choosing the right components, product customisation, etc.

LEDB: How much share of components is procured from India and how much is imported?

A: At present, we only import LED chips and electronics components from other countries. All other components are sourced within the country. Expressing in terms of percentage, the value of imported components at Avni stands at around 30 per cent. We wish to procure all the LED components within India but it may not be possible to go ahead with this plan.

LEDB: Do you plan to launch more LED products this year and do you have plans to diversify in to other segments as well?

A: We propose to offer value addition to customers who are interested in them. Intelligent lighting system, dimmable lighting products and Centrally-Controlled Monitoring Station (CCMS) are some of them. As of now, we want to focus primarily on our core area i.e., LED lights. We are interested in exploring other segments too but perhaps this is the time to focus on LEDs.

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