As head of engineering at Hero Future Energies (HFE), Sudhir Pathak is responsible for the designing and engineering of grid-connected and rooftop solar projects, both domestically and internationally. Prior to HFE, he worked with ACME Cleantech. Till date, he has successfully bid for and designed more than 5 GW of solar power plants.
Pathak has a B.Tech in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (BHU). After graduating, he joined Tata Motors, later moving to NTPC Limited, where he was responsible for the erection, testing and commissioning of substations and generators. Subsequently, he was transferred to NTPC’s engineering department, where he undertook system studies of projects. In 2008, he joined Lanco Thermal and thereafter worked with Welspun Energy and ACME.
Having worked with private and public companies, he has grown to appreciate the best of both sectors. In the public sector, the focus is on technicalities. As such, NTPC has made him an expert in carrying out system studies. “The private sector has totally different dynamics. A lot of freedom is given to calculate the risks, work out the cost economics and come up with innovations,” he says.
Pathak recollects his two favourite projects. One is the 250 MW Rewa project, which tops the list because it was the biggest project for ACME at the time. The task of building module mounting structures in rocky terrain was daunting. Nevertheless, the project was commissioned on time due to innovations in structures and electrical systems. The second is the solar project at Bhadla. He was responsible for the projects while working with ACME and then with HFE. The challenge in executing the Bhadla plant was that the tariff was very low. With ACME, a tariff of Rs 2.44 per unit was discovered and with HFE, the tariff was slightly higher at Rs 2.47 per unit. Apart from low tariffs, the other challenge for him was that he had to compete with foreign players like SoftBank, which had deep pockets and access to easy funds.
Being a passionate designer and electrical engineer, Pathak wants to learn more about storage technologies. He wants to do research on combining solar, wind and storage to set up a base station.
On the personal front, Pathak says he enjoys music and movies. He is an amateur singer and musician, and plays the guitar, synthesiser, harmonica and dholak. He likes watching comedies and cricket and is an ardent Dhoni fan.