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Coronavirus outbreak has hit solar power industry hard: Vikram Solar CEO

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ET Energy World
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The Coronavirus outbreak that has halted economic activity in China, a major global supplier of solar cells and modules, has impacted the solar power industry hard through supply chain disruptions, Saibaba Vutukuri, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Vikram Solar told ETEnergyworld in an interview. "The impact is across the industry and we have also gone through the impact in the last 60 days. But, to some extent we had inventories so we could use that. Otherwise, the supply chain is affected because the manufacturing is not happening and whatever was dispatched has got held up at the ports and airports," he said. The Kolkata-based firm is among the largest players in the solar power space. It manufactures and exports solar cells and modules, executes Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) orders for solar plants and also sets up rooftop solar projects. The company, which has a domestic solar module manufacturing capacity of 1,200 Megawatt, imports components from China that are used across the value chain. "Though we import both cells and raw materials from Taiwan, a major portion still comes from China. It is true that some movement of goods has happened from China in the last one or one-and-a-half weeks but the impact is going to be there for the next 45 days or so for the entire manufacturing chain to get streamlined fully," he said. Asked whether the supply chain disruption will delay projects, Vutukuri said the company is doing its best to avoid delays and is re-strategizing execution. "But, there is still an impact as the projects are not going according to schedule. Last three weeks have seen an impact. However, we are positive that we can recover by the end of this year." Speaking on the need for government intervention over this issue, Vutukuri said that the company is seeking to get some extended timelines for completion of projects and seeking relief wherever there are some cost escalations.

Author: Sustainability Outlook Desk