Dipakkumar Patel has over two decades of experience in the field of solar technology, design consultancy, energy efficient systems and manufacturing. He is currently director, technical, at InSolare Energy Private Limited, an Ahmedabad-based solar EPC company. Apart from being involved in the technical aspects, Patel is also active in business development. Prior to joining InSolare Energy, Patel was a design engineer at Atkins Global, a UK-based engineering and design company.
Patel believes that the overall volume of turnkey solar projects has increased significantly over the past few years and the segment has the potential to follow a similar growth path over the next three to four years. However, some challenges remain unaddressed, he notes. Quality issues for example. With the growing industry focus on cost reduction, the quality of solar projects is being impacted. “There is a declining focus on product quality, project design, and operations and maintenance. The main culprit for this is competition-based reverse auctions,” says Patel.
According to Patel, regulators should formulate clear guidelines defining solar-specific regulations, codes and requirements. Further, all stakeholders including consumers, developers, designers and contractors should be sensitised to quality expectations, and a cause-and-effect analysis of setting up solar projects of inferior quality.
The most memorable assignment for Patel was the setting up of canal-based solar plants on the Narmada canal in Vadodara. “The project faced many challenges during the design stage and during the execution stage; water seepage, local issues and safety concerns of the workforce had to be dealt with. Despite various challenges, the plant is now considered a benchmark canal-based solar project,” he says.
Patel has an MS in building services engineering from the London South Bank University, UK. He believes in maintaining a work-life balance, which he achieves by staying focused on targets, procedures and standard formats, thereby finishing tasks on time and getting sufficient time for family, social engagements and sports. Patel lives with his family in Ahmedabad, a city that he clearly loves. One of its big USPs is that there is rarely any traffic congestion, unlike many other metropolitan cities. And with the festive season in full swing, the city is alive with Navratri and Diwali celebrations. “My family thoroughly enjoyed participating in garba and dandiya,” he says.