Gautam Solar was founded in 1998 as Gautam Polymers, a supplier of solar components to system integrators. The company has now expanded to become a supplier of a wide range of domestic and industrial solar products and solutions across India. As a result, Gautam Solar’s turnover has increased from about Rs 20 million in 2002 to Rs 2 billion in 2020, as reported by the company. It has also completed over 1,500 projects across the globe for a diverse clientele, which includes various government organisations as well as private companies.
Gautam Solar manufactures products that are specifically designed for the Indian market, with a focus on products and services for off-grid solar plants. It also holds intellectual property rights for several first-of-their-kind products in the solar market. In addition to strengthening India’s prospects of becoming a global manufacturing hub for solar power, the company aims to make India the world leader in solar off-grid technologies.
At present, Gautam Solar has a manufacturing capacity of 250 MW and is one of the few solar companies in India that manufactures all components in-house for solar lights and solar pumps. In addition, it has a wide range of BIS/TUV/UL/MNRE-certified products. Gautam Solar’s products are manufactured across its four well-established factories in Haridwar, Uttarakhand, equipped with an in-house R&D team.
Gautam Solar manufactures monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar cells with power outputs of up to 400 W. The company also plans to produce 500 W+ solar modules in the future. In addition, the company manufactures solar street lights, solar power plants, inverters and conditioning units, home lighting systems, LED solar lanterns, CFL solar lanterns, charge controllers, luminaires, solar batteries, and solar pumping systems.
The biggest announcement made by Gautam Solar in recent months has been about the expansion of the company’s manufacturing unit in Haridwar. The company more than doubled its annual manufacturing capacity for solar panels from 120 MW to 250 MW, making it the third largest solar manufacturer in north India. The plant is operational and is producing both mono-PERC and polycrystalline solar panels. The move has been driven by the rising demand from solar projects, which mandate domestically manufactured components.
Earlier this month, Gautam Solar reported that it installed solar pumps at 1,000 locations in Haryana under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM) scheme. The scheme has set a target of installing 15,000 stand-alone solar pumps in Haryana within the first year.
In light of massive supply chain disruptions across various sectors due to the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, Gautam Solar reported that it has not faced any problems associated with reverse migration. The company reported that it is not facing any lack of demand and has not considered making any pay cuts or layoffs that may trigger the migration of workers, especially those working on daily wages.
Key challenges and outlook
With the developments that followed the Covid-19 crisis, there is an imminent need to raise local production and reduce imports, especially in the solar power space. This will help Indian manufacturers increase their production capacity and dependency, and potentially save approximately $50 billion in imports. Eventually, once the demand for solar is met, India can potentially compete in the global solar market, offering the prospect of a liquidity boost to the country. This will have a multiplier effect on the economy, creating jobs, increasing exports and helping India achieve energy security and ensuring overall socio-economic development.
There are some challenges in the Indian manufacturing space, such as pressure for cheaper solar tariffs and over dependence on imports. These factors make it very difficult to scale up solar manufacturing in the country. Thus, there is a need for a conducive environment for solar manufacturing companies to grow.
With announcements such as production-linked incentive and basic customs duties, there is some hope. In addition to its current expansion, Gautam Solar reported that the capacity addition at its three other manufacturing facilities will also be carried out soon, positioning the company to become an even bigger player in the Indian solar market.