Eluvanampatti Solar Farm, 30 MW. Tamil Nadu, India.
Friends, earlier this week, we announced a milestone of 1 GW of trackers delivered or under fulfillment in India, amounting to over twenty projects with many of India’s solar leaders. NEXTracker’s success in the region is rooted in its proven high-quality design, reliable performance, and an exceptional level of service and relationship-building with local and international partners. We are learning a lot from our customers about how to serve this market, and this perspective has helped us globally.
I first started working in solar in India during the early ‘90s when completing a short-term consulting project for the World Bank – resulting several years later, in the first World Bank financing of renewables. It was a PV water pumping project comprised of 30 village systems throughout Andra Pradesh. Everyone was amazed at how much water a few solar panels could pump over a day, and this was a fantastic method to provide drinking water and irrigation in areas that had no power.
Eventually, tens of thousands of PV water pumping projects were completed. In 2011, while I was with Solaria, we built an LCPV module factory in Pune and produced modules for both the India and European market. While, we were too early for the India market at that time, we hung on to a small presence, which became the seed for our present team.
Today, I believe India is one of the most exciting PV markets. Why? Because there is a confluence of the need for energy in a rapidly growing economy, a dynamic leader in Prime Minister Modi with a vision of 100 GW, and great timing with solar producing lower energy costs than coal, nuclear, and other polluting options.
At NEXTracker, we have gone “all in” to support India. An image of our wonderful Hyderabad staff is presented here – they are supporting the region and helping our global operation. Our India team is led by V.P. of Emerging Markets, Nava Akkineni and G.M. Rajeev Kashyap. Our parent company, Flex, has thousands of staff in manufacturing and operations support in Chennai.
I feel it is our duty to support India with local manufacturing content and high-quality products. Unlike the U.S., Europe and China, which have well-developed power generation capacity – in India, we are in a race to help electrify the country with clean solar, before coal gets built at scale and locks the country into decades of polluting energy that obscures the sky. In my opinion, trackers are important to the long-term success of India’s solar development, as power is needed from early morning to evening, and trackers match the demand profile better.
Deeply featured in rich Hindu culture, the sun is engrained in the soul of India through Surya, the solar deity, and other ways. It is wonderful to spend time there in a place of deep spirituality, with beautiful colored clothing, and fantastic food. India is rising rapidly and increasingly powered by the sun.