Gautam Mohanka, Managing Director, Gautam Solar

Gautam Mohanka, MD, Gautam Solar

Gautam Solar, one of the leading Solar Manufacturer providing a wide range of domestic and industrial solar products & solutions all over the country. The company innovates and develops solar products that are tailored to the needs of the Indian customer.

The company’s  vision is to make India a World Leader in Solar off-grid. The organization boasts a diverse clientele including various government organizations as well as private companies. During the 22+ years of its existence, the organization has stood by “Vocal for Local”. The 4 well-established factories in Haridwar, equipped with an in-house R&D team stand testament to that. 

The company has a total of 250 MW of solar manufacturing capacity and is the only solar company in India that manufactures all components in-house for Solar Lights & Solar Pumps. It has a wide range of BIS/TUV/UL/MNRE Certified Products. 

Gautam Mohanka, Managing Director, Gautam Solar, is an entrepreneur and innovator at heart who grew the organization’s turnover from 1 crore in 2002 to 200 crores in 2020 under his leadership. He holds IPs for several innovations in the solar industry and has brought several first-of-their-kind products to the market.

In an exclusive interview with Climate Samurai, Gautam Mohanka, Managing Director, Gautam Solar shares his views on Budget for renewable energy, roadmap of the company, investment, company’s manufacturing plan and more. Here is the excerpt:-

Share your views on this year’s Budget for the renewable energy industry?

This budget has been designed keeping the renewable energy sector in mind. The budget recognizes the importance of the renewable energy sector and seeks to strengthen it further. The budget has given a $3.08 billion stimulus to the sector which will most certainly lead to the growth of the renewable energy sector. Reduced tax liabilities MSMEs combined with an ongoing commitment to solar energy, will get the country closer to becoming fossil fuel independent.

Do you see the Budget making any significant impact on the solar sector?

According to the budget, there will be a phased manufacturing plan of solar cells and solar panels to increase the domestic capacity. The government is also raising duty on solar inverters from 5% to 20% and on solar lanterns from 5% to 15% to encourage domestic production. This is a laudable initiative and it sits well with the “Make in India” and “Vocal for Local” campaigns.

The additional infusion of Rs. 1,000 crores to SECI and Rs. 1,500 crores to IRED by the government will further boost the non-conventional energy sector. The Finance Minister has also focused on disinvestment, setting a target of Rs 1.75 lakh for 2021-22 and monetization of public sector assets. All these steps will catalyze the growth of the renewable energy sector.

What will be the major highlights of growth for your company in 2021?

We will go aggressively for the solar modules. We will go for the expansions for the solar module business. Secondly, we will also go for the heavy manufacturing on the rooftop solar panels along with the other parts it includes i.e. inverters, batteries, charge-controllers etc. so that we can provide the solution to the solar system integrators all over the India.

What is the kind of investment that would go into realizing all these plans in 2021?

The amount of Investment that we are planning to put in Gautam Solar FY 2021 is around 10-15 crores. 

Share with our readers about the latest product offerings for the Indian market?

Some of the latest products that w are going to offer for the Indian market this year will be Bifacial solar module and Double glass solar module which are different from the normal solar modules present in the market. These solar modules are premium and higher voltage modules. That is one area that we are going to concentrate on this year along with the Lead acid batteries which are also creating the boom in the market recently.

If given the chance to rate the health of the solar sector at the moment on a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate? Why?

See, it all depends on the end on which one is working in the solar sector or industry because volumes have gone up and margin has shrunk but the health of the solar sector is quite good as the work did not get affected during the covid-19 pandemic also. So, we would rate the health of solar sector 8 out of 10.     

Share with our reader about Gautam Solar’s R&D and manufacturing units, and what quality parameter does the firm follow?

There are 20-25 odd members in the R&D team which are continuously working on the entire value chain of solar. We are also the firm believers of the Indian manufacturingwhich means that we purchase or buy any Indian manufactured machine without blinking an eye. Broadly speaking, we have 4 manufacturing units: 250 Mw solar module, Lead acid and lithium batteries, Electronics (which include solar lighting, charge controllers) and Structure fabrication. In terms of quality parameter, we believe in designing the solar modules in the best way that they can offer to the market. According to us, innovative design will automatically bring the best quality with itself.

Some leading Chinese firms in inverter, solar cell and panel business have recently announced that their shipment in India which has crossed over Gigawatts mark, which is definitely not a positive sign for homegrown players. What is stopping the Indian manufacturers from matching the level of the Chinese counterparts? Is the Indian business environment for domestic players suffocating?

See the thing is these three are all very big segments and the Chinese firms have very big support from the Chinese government as they are subsidising the entire industry. Plus, the Chinese government has also provided lots of incentives to the industry. Our Indian government has also launched production-based incentives scheme. So, we will have to match it up to them. So, from now on the production and the work will begin in as faster way as the government is now supporting the solar industry.

When do you see the country becoming completely atma nirbhar in the renewable energy segment with made in India products?

The companies all around the country are doing very well in terms of solar panel modules but the area on which we need to focus is solar cell because it will take 3-4 years to reach the benchmark in the market and once it’s done then we are completely Atma Nirbhar.

Tell our readers how Gautam Solar carving lives of farmers in North India?

The condition of the farmers in our country to try to get electricity connection is in a bad phase because either he is in a waiting period to get the connection for 2-3 years or he is going to run the agricultural activities with the diesel-oriented generators and we all know the rates of diesel these days. So, it’s difficult for the farmers to find a solution and that’s where we come and provide them with the viable solution as they can buy solar pump which will also cost them less and the maintenance will also be less. Another good thing is that there is a warranty of 5 years and the solar pump is also long lasting. 

Many of the solar companies have started diving into the electric vehicle business (charging stations, batteries), do you plan to explore the segment as well?

We already are doing batteries (lithium) which they supplied in the market. Right now, we are not supplying anything in the charging business and they are watching the market very closely and if we get any opportunity then they will definitely work on it.

You are still selling lead acid batteries of 40Ah, 60Ah, 100 Ah, 200 Ah, when do you plan to sell advanced versions of the batteries to meet the market demand

These batteries mentioned above are the Tier2 and Tier3 town market. It’s a huge market which is being served by the private players. All the big companies like Luminous, Okaya, Microtek etc. are serving this market on a larger scale.