Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali Ayurved Ltd, the consumer goods products upstart, is looking to diversify into solar power equipment manufacturing. “Engaging in solar is in line with the swadeshi motion. With solar, each home in India can have power, and we are here to make that happen,” Acharya Balkrishna, MD of Patanjali Ayurved, said in an interview. This would be the company’s first contact with the infrastructure sector and comes after its runaway success in consumer products.
Patanjali Ayurved, that was set up in 2006, is continuing to grow at a sensational speed, increasing its income more than fivefold to Rs10, 561 crores in the year to 31 March from Rs2,006 crore in 2014-15; it is designed to cross Rs20,000-25,000 crore in sales by 31 March 2018. Just like it identified the opportunity to compete with proven multinational packed consumer goods companies, Patanjali is experiencing a beginning for itself in solar equipment production.
The government is considering a 30% capital subsidy as part of a fresh solar manufacturing insurance policy. India is working to improve its per capita ability utilization of around 1,200-kilowatt hours (kWh), among the cheapest on earth. Alongside, it is also proposing a “rent a roof” policy to aid its ambitious plan of generating 40 gigawatts (GW) of solar powered energy by 2022.
“The government has been working on the solar industry, and even offering sops. We will manufacture solar power panels in India without diminishing the product quality. But we are not going to get into the purchase price conflict with the Chinese language solar power panels,” Balkrishna added.
According to LiveMint report-quality Chinese solar modules, rejected by developers, were for sale in the domestic market at a discount. Solar modules account for almost 60% of any solar powered energy project’s cost. For China’s solar panel processing industry, with around capacity of around 70GW per 12 months, the united states and India are major markets.
Patanjali acquired Advance Navigation and Solar Technology Pvt. Ltd, a supplier of navigation aid equipment, earlier this year. Currently, the centre has a manufacturing capacity of 120 megawatts. Patanjali plans to invest around Rs100 crore in solar equipment production and its factory in Greater Noida is likely to be fully operational in a couple of months.
“This started with our intention to use solar as a way to obtain power whatsoever our factories. That point we grasped (that) most of the solar modules result from China. And there is no quality steadiness even in India-made ones,” Balkrishna added. With the common efficiency of a solar panel usually at only 16-22%, sub-standard quality will impact generation.
“We started out with making solar modules for our captive use primarily and then made a decision to utilize existing capacity to create solar modules and sell on the market. This unit reaches a nascent stage at this time,” said Balkrishna.
Experts questioned the explanation behind the diversification.
“The two sections require very different capabilities. However, they may have built their business on the ‘swadeshi vs videshi’ program. From that perspective, solar processing for local content need in upcoming jobs fits their business rationale,” said Abhishek Poddar, a partner at consulting organization A.T. Kearney Ltd.
India proposes to award 100GW of solar and wind contracts by March 2020. This also includes an idea to invite bids for establishing 20GW solar power capacity–the world’s largest solar tender–at one go, to spur local manufacturing of solar power equipment. “We will continue with this for the present time. We would check out development once demand expands,” said Balkrishna.