Kindly tell our readers about your financial tie-ups.
We have financing tie-ups for arranging subsidies and finance for setting up the projects. There are so many products on our platform that are cheaper without subsidy than those products on which government is giving subsidy. We have collaborated with PSUs because they are mandated by the government of India to give financing for rooftop projects at the rate of home loans. We have tied up with State Bank of India (SBI), Punjab National Bank (PNB), Karnataka Bank, Canara Bank, Syndicate Bank and Bharatiya Mahila Bank. In the private sector, we approached Yes Bank, Laxmi Vilas Bank, Ratnakar Bank and Bank of Maharashtra. But, we have not yet converted these talks into official tie-ups.
Where do you see more business happening on your online platform – rooftop segment or utility scale projects?
India Go Solar is trying to capture both sides of the market. For utility scale projects, we try to arrange the land and panels. On the offline front, we are also supporting many big international utilities to buy solar assets in India, and these are big transactions. On the rooftop front, everything is done online, right from running the bids to arranging finance, both on debt as well as equity side. However, a transition is set to happen. Till 2019, India Go Solar will build the rooftop market in India and then encash on the growth. Post 2019, rooftop will pick up fast and both utility and rooftop will try to cannibalise each other.
Many big institutional players who were not willing to come to our platform till six months back, are now approaching us on their own.
What do you think will be the impact of GST on the solar sector?
On the product side, GST will have an impact in terms of prices going up because there are many states which currently have zero VAT. On the project side, there is a 10-year tax holiday and accelerated depreciation (AD) benefit. As of now, nobody knows if the government will continue this tax benefit under GST or not. If it doesn’t continue, then projects will be financially hurt and there will be a tariﬀ hike. Regarding AD benefit, from next year, it will be slashed by 40%. The government is seeing that after 2-3 years, the solar sector will not require any fiscal benefits. Once GST is implemented, our cost will also go up.
From being in the government and handling the dynamic power sector to foraying into the corporate sector and finally, launching your own online solar brand. How has the journey been?
I always had an entrepreneurial instinct inside me, and I was looking forward to implement competitive markets in India. I firmly believed in giving the customer the choice to select his supplier. I tried my best to introduce this model in Delhi while I was in the government, but unfortunately, it could not happen. Later, I moved to solar companies like Moser Baer and Hindustan Power. Being in the government for 15 years and then moving to the corporate sector, I realized that the government has put the best regulatory policies in place and the private sector has to take this forward. I can confidently say that the reign of transformation of the power sector will be in the hands of the private sector.