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Boosting local manufacturing for import substitution: use of technology and localized manufacturing

2020 has been a watershed year that saw the economy facing perils never seen before. All sectors be it banking, education, manufacturing, or retail, saw a shift in their production techniques and quantity output. Government of India’s aggressive push for ‘Make in India’ to bolster domestic manufacturing and make its economy ‘self-reliant’ in the post-pandemic era is a welcome opportunity for India’s solar energy sector. It has not only encouraged local companies to increase captive capacity but also boost manufacturing capabilities. It has compelled businessmen to look inward so that corporates are now looking for more indigenous products. The whole year shed light on the importance of being financially independent through manufacture of products made in India in boosting the economy and simultaneously transforming the local businesses.

The pandemic proved to be an eye opener for a lot of business owners. It exposed the weaknesses in the supply chains and many companies started reconfiguring their sourcing and manufacturing footprints. With the use of localised materials and reinventing technology to suit manufacturing, companies have come a long way.

Despite making significant progress in solar power generation and emerging as world’s third largest solar market, India’s domestic solar equipment manufacturing industry has not been able to capitalise on the opportunity thus far. India imports 80 percent of components required for its solar energy production from China. This raises an important question: does India have the core competency, capital and capacity required to offer domestic manufacturing of solar power equipment at a scale that could substitute for its massive imports?

There is an urgent need to devise a policy framework that aims at creating a diversified domestic manufacturing industry for solar modules as well as ancillary products, that could significantly reduce its import dependence, ensure a self-sufficient, sustainable, and affordable machinery access, and generate greater employment opportunities. According to a McKinsey Report, many of India’s manufacturing value chains enjoy advantages that could help power them to rapid growth. India’s natural resources (for example, iron ore, bauxite, high solar insolation, and cotton) and low-cost labour are a boon to makers of basic metals, textiles and apparel, renewable energy, and chemical products. Further, the country’s large numbers of well-trained workers lend strength to skill-intensive value chains such as pharmaceutical formulations, capital goods, and automotive components. The makers of fast-selling technology products, for example, enjoy ready access to millions of Indian consumers.

In the 2020-21 budget, our Finance Minister emphasised the need to push our flagship programme ‘Make in India’ by incentivising manufacturing and providing a fillip to exports. Even with the emergence of digital factories and E-commerce platforms, buying trends are shifting online which makes the markets bigger in terms of consumers. Additionally, to tackle this factor, more and more workforce will be trained to build a digital workforce.

COVID-19 has certainly pushed us to the fore. Amidst this, one of the sectors that have been impacted are the local manufacturers. Going forward, India is set to be a future powerhouse in terms of manufacturing and exports. Consequently, the economy is set to grow in the coming years.

Highlights:

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Priyadarshan

Priyadarshan Bhatewara, CFA

Chief Financial Officer

He has 15 years of experience in Corporate Finance, Project Finance, Project Management, Business Development, and Financial Analysis of Climate Change Projects. He has worked in Hydro Power, Thermal Power, Wind Power and Solar Power projects. He has expertise in closing Investment deals, Management Information systems, Data Analysis, Financial Modelling. He has worked with companies like Azure Power, ReNew Power, Asian Development Bank, Rattan India, SNC Lavalin and Mott MacDonald. Priyadarshan has been awarded Zee Yuva Award (2017) for best practises in water conservation, Water Crusader Award (2017) by Hindustan Unilever and Energy Conservation Award (2016) by Vigyan Bharti. He holds a Bachelor in Engineering from VJTI, Mumbai, M.Tech from IIT Delhi and has earned CFA Charterholder from CFA Institute, USA.

Kasturi Roy

Advisory Team

Ms. Kasturi Roy Choudhury is on the Advisory team at Premier Energies. She has over 3 decades of professional experience with ‘Consultancy for Change and Growth’ and specializes in the areas of Management Consultancy and Corporate Training. At CFCG, Kasturi works as a Senior Consultant anchoring key client relationships & accountable for deliverables.

In her personal capacity, Kasturi is associated with social organizations like Jeevika Development Society, Garbage Free India & Sanjeevani Life beyond Cancer. Her distinguished academic career includes:PGDM from IIM Ahmedabad (1988), DBF from ICFAI, Hyderabad (1990), BE (Electrical) from Jadavpur University (1986).

SURENDER PAL SINGH

Founder & Chairman

A visionary, Surender Pal Singh is an eminent energy expert and accomplished business leader with over 40 years of rich industrial experience. His work states achievements in both conventional as well as non-conventional power projects. Known for his resourcefulness and deep knowledge on Solar, he has been conferred with national and international awards such as the International Project of The Year from Renewable Energy World, USA 2013, National Awards for Excellence in Renewable Energy for Rural Electrification from World Federation Of CSR Professionals, 2015, Udyog Bharti & Udyog Patra awards from the Vice President of India. A mechanical engineering graduate from Dharwad University, today he oversees operations and finance of the organization in addition to mentoring the young leaders.

CHIRANJEEV SALUJA

Founder & Managing Director

He is one of India’s 100 Most Influential Solar Business Leaders and a visionary who transformed the company from a solar enterprise to an integrated renewable energy solutions provider. Steering the company from a 5 MW production capacity in 1995 to 500 MW in 2018, he is now leading Premier Energies towards growth by expanding the production capacity to 750 MW solar cells and 1.2 GW solar modules.

He is a Founding Member of Premier Solar Power Tech and has built over 650+ MW of EPC and 130 MW of IPP. He serves as a Director on board for over 10 companies in the Solar Manufacturing and IPP space and the All India Solar Industries Association (AISIA). He is a member of the Governing Council of Indian Solar Manufacturers Association (ISMA). He holds a bachelor’s degree in Engineering from Osmania University, Hyderabad.

SUDHIR MOOLA

Executive Director

A distinguished engineer from JNTU, Hyderabad; an MS from Colorado University and an MBA from ISB, Sudhir has worked with PwC, USA before taking on a directorial mantle at Premier Energies. He heads the EPC business, as well as the construction of our new state of the art manufacturing facility. Sudhir is actively involved in all day-to-day operations of the organization, from managing external relations to defining policies, supervising department heads, and working on strategies for growth and business expansion.

VISHNU HAZARI

Chief Operating Officer

He brings over 14+ years of rich consulting experience in BFSI, Pharma and Healthcare sectors, having worked at JP Morgan Chase, Anthem, Infosys, Cognizant and Deloitte. He holds a MS (Mechanical Engineering) from Western Michigan University. At Premier Energies, Vishnu is responsible for managing the entire spectrum of operations of the manufacturing division.

REVATHI ROHINI B

Director & CFO-designate

She has served the Government of Telangana for over 30 years and retired as an Additional Commissioner of Commercial Taxes. A graduate in Agricultural Sciences, she brings in with her a rich, on-ground experience in indirect taxation and government regulatory affairs. A trailblazer and an expert in legal and commercial taxes, she now leads all financial and government related matters of the organization.

NIYATHI MADASU

Director

She comes in with over 16 years of experience in Talent Management, Leadership Consulting & Organization Development. She is proficient in a variety of methodologies including leadership framework development, psychological profiling & assessment, and design of talent management frameworks.

Niyathi holds an MBA in HR from the Symbiosis Centre for Management and Human Development, Pune and an executive certification in organization development from ISB Hyderabad. She leads People Operations for the group and double hats as a member of the marketing & branding team. She recently joined the elite Business World People 40 under 40 2020 list.

Jasveen Saluja

Director

She’s been a serial entrepreneur and comes in over a decade of experience in running her own company specialising in interior design. With an astute sense of business, she is responsible for business development, procurement, project planning and government liaisoning. She has a degree in commerce and fashion designing.

Dhruv Sharma

Advisory Team

Mr. Dhruv Sharma, has been associated with Solar Manufacturing in India since 2008. As the CEO of Jupiter Solar, he has played a pivotal role in the transformational journey of the company. He is responsible for leading the development and execution of the company’s vision, strategy and plans.

His understanding of the business has been instrumental in evolving growth strategies and significantly contributed to implementation of the group’s expansion and diversification into solar power sector.

Additionally, as Chief Business Manager at Premier Energies, he holds the responsibility of leading the foray of the Company into Solar cell manufacturing, focusing on Technology, Vendor relationships, Project management, Organization building and Key Account Marketing.