As head of international business development for PV Evolution Labs (PVEL), a leading quality and reliability testing lab for solar modules based in Napa, California, USA, Sishir Garemella is responsible for PVEL’s expansion into strategic geographies around the world. He also advises select international firms that are looking to enter and grow in India.
The most interesting part of his work is understanding the local dynamics of manufacturing in each country, yet looking at it from a global viewpoint. “The global supply chains are evolving,” he notes. “While China continues to dominate solar panel manufacturing, that trend is changing, with India, the US, Turkey and 20 other countries looking to grow their manufacturing base.”
Garemella has been working in the clean energy and climate finance space for the past 12 years, most of it as an entrepreneur, when he ran Sunvest, which pioneered residential and small and medium enterprise rooftop solar deployment and financing in India. Prior to his work in clean energy, Garemella spent a few years in investment banking with Barclays in London, UK, and in the automotive industry with firms such as Ford and General Motors in Ontario, Canada.
According to Garemella, focusing on quality is vital for Indian original equipment manufacturers to compete with international players in the solar power space. “All of the major manufacturers are looking at exporting. A strong focus on quality and bankability will be critical as they scale. Furthermore, I would be keen on seeing the level of backward integration in the supply chain. Production-linked incentive tenders have recently been announced for manufacturing modules from polysilicon, and the next few months will be critical to see how those plans unfold,” Garemella says.
On his management style, he says, “I like to surround myself with folks who are passionate about what they do, as this increases their motivation and willingness to learn. At the same time, balance is critical and I encourage colleagues to participate in activities that truly allow them to switch off from work,” he says.
Garemella has an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from the University of Windsor and a master’s in accounting and finance from the London School of Economics.
In his spare time, Garemella likes to run long distances, and recently completed a two-week running camp in Iten, Kenya. He likes to write as well.