Dinesh Chadha, CEO, Electro Control Systems (ECS) spoke with Clean Future and discussed how solar rooftop and EV’s are going to drive the companies growth in near future.
How long has ECS been present in India and what prompted you to move to solar?
ECS started its journey some 30 years back with automation products like PLC’s and DC drives then in 1997 we ventured into electrical panels and instrumentation projects for oil & gas industry and worked with GAIL, IOC, ONGC etc.
As recent, as 2008 we started a new division with solar industry in mind and started doing project jobs. In last 10 years we have done close to 1200MW of Balance Of System (BOS) projects with EPC mostly on AC driver panel side but now we are also doing DC panel jobs for the likes of Adani.
We have opened a dedicated office for solar in Chandigarh, which will look after the development of residential rooftop solar segment as it has been made mandatory, not only for the new houses but also for the old ones too, by the government. We see a huge business opportunity here.
Being in business we keep looking for new opportunity to grow and keep ourselves relevant to the needs of the market and solar being a growing segment our next logical move at this time is to capitalize on this, especially when Government of India is actively pushing and supporting this segment.
Please give us a run down on your product portfolio.
ECS has a Panel Manufacturing Facility and a product range consisting of PLC Panels, AC & DC Driver Panels, Control Desk etc. We work for almost all the major players of industry. In fact, after addition of solar business line the panel business has grown in a big way and today our client list consists of Mahindra, TATA, CleanMax, Amplus etc.
Is ECS an Assembler or a Component supplier to these EPC’s?
We are both. There is a separate division for panels from where we get 50% of our business and the rest from BOS projects with EPC. Way back in 2010 itself we did 20 MW business with Solar EPC players. Today we have a turnover of around 45Cr.
What is your current market share?
We are doing around 6MW per year and so I assume we have a share of around 10% and growing.
What business segment is driving your growth?
Until date, it was AC and DC panels i.e. more on BOS side but for future, we feel it will be solar rooftop and as such, we have dedicated our resources to this segment for now. Currently we are getting pan India enquirers from solar EPC’s. We ourselves plan to become a major EPC in both C&I and Residential rooftop segment. We have set a target of 2MW for this financial for residential rooftop segment.
Do you generally work on OPEX or CAPEX model in Solar?
See for us it was always easy and safe to do business in CAPEX but since now customer especially the big institutions or housing societies are demanding OPEX so we will have to go for that or else we will loose business.
The upfront cost of installing solar is high so we have tied up with financial institutions and are offering loans like you do it for any consumer product. Banks are willing to club housing and solar loans.
Do you have a Research and Development (R&D) division?
Yes, we have a R&D division located at sector 65, Noida (U.P.). Designing, manufacturing and assembling of all our products is done at this in-house facility. Here we have a dedicated team of engineers and all the necessary instruments for testing and calibration to meet the project requirements.
Are you also planning to design a “Solar–Kit” for home segment like Trina and TATA?
No, we are not planning to launch a standard product for home segment as of now since this market is still maturing; but yes, we are going to customize our product as per the residential rooftop requirement. We are not going to be a authorized dealer for any brand.
Where do you see ECS in next 2 years?
We see huge potential in solar for another 5 to 6 years. Yes today we are up against huge competition but that also means we are in the right business segment especially in rooftop solar as both people and government are taking interest since India is lagging behind.
We see electric vehicle (EV) as another major business opportunity. We are planning to enter into this segment and may develop EV solar charging infrastructure in near future. A complete rooftop charging solar station for EV, not only for commercial but also for residential/ home user segment too.
Lastly, there is a big push towards solar in hill regions like J&K, Uttrakhand, Himachal Pradesh and North East. Here we see an opportunity in terms of Hybrid systems. We are simultaneously working on all these segments and hope to have a share in these spheres in near future.