“Electric mobility is going to be one of the biggest markets”

Interview with OKAYA Power’s Prashant Parida

With India planning to reach 30 per cent electric vehicle (EV) penetration by 2030, there is an urgent need to develop a sustainable EV ecosystem across the country. This would require adequate charging infrastructure, a supportive regulatory framework and a large domestic battery manufacturing capacity. The OKAYA Power Group has emerged as a leader in the Indian battery manufacturing industry, with an expansive product portfolio. Over a span of 29 years, the company has expanded its operations to over 50 countries. In an interview with Renewable Watch, Prashant Parida, group head marketing, OKAYA Power Group, talks about the company’s current scale of operations, growth prospects and vision…

What is OKAYA Power’s current scale of operations? Which are the major segments the company operates in?

We currently offer solutions for solar batteries, e-rickshaw batteries, sealed maintenance free or value regulated lead acid batteries, lithium-ion batteries for two-, three- and four-wheelers, and solar street light systems. Our product range also includes EV chargers, charging stations, battery swapping stations, and energy storage systems for telecom applications.

Our revenue contribution currently is the highest from inverter batteries with it being a consumer product. Our channel business related to distribution and reselling contributes about 70 per cent of the revenue. The other channel business for the export and domestic sale of lithium-ion batteries, EV chargers, energy storage systems for telecommunication and solar street lights contributes 30 per cent of our revenue.

What has been the company’s operational experience so far? What are its recent products in the renewable energy space?

We are on an upward trajectory with 20 per cent year-on-year growth recorded in the past three years. We have expanded our operations across all emerging technology-driven niche products like EV chargers, lithium-ion batteries, solar street light systems, and energy storage systems for telecom applications. Our operations are spread pan-India with 41 warehouses, over 400 members in our sales team and over 700 technicians.

Renewable energy is one of the core functions of OKAYA, and we are present in the domain through our innovative products in the lithium-ion and charger categories. All of these contribute to the green energy endeavour of the Government of India.

How has the company performed financially and operationally over the past year?

We have been recording an excellent and consistent growth of 20 per cent year on year over the past three years in terms of revenue with a positive EBITDA. Despite the lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020 and with only 11 months of operations, we notched over 20 per cent growth in the previous fiscal year.

In your view, what is the market potential for energy storage in India? What are the key issues regarding the uptake of energy storage for integration with renewables?

In view of our current operations where we are targeting channel business and institutional sales for our products, we see a market potential of close to Rs 300 billion in these product categories, excluding government projects.

What are the company’s future plans and targets? Which emerging segments is the company exploring?

Our key focus areas are emerging technologies and domains which cater to all futuristic markets primarily in the EV charging segment. These include stand-alone or personal and public charging stations, battery swapping stations, energy storage systems, telecom applications, and e-rickshaw batteries, both lead acid as well lithium-ion. We believe electric mobility is going to be one of the biggest markets.

What is your short-term outlook for the company especially in light of Covid-19?

It is a critical time, and the reality is that we all have to live with it taking care of our personal safety by following social distancing norms, sanitisation, personal hygiene and all the prescribed norms and regulations. Okaya Power is now operational, and our immediate task is to start where we left off. We are open now, and we are in touch with all our esteemed clients and things have started rolling. We are fully equipped to cater to all our clients. The critical part is the specific issues faced by any individual client which we are confident of supporting within our capacity. We believe that it’s all about time.

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