Vikram Solar’s huge layoffs, does it hint the Indian solar Industry crisis?

pollution on solar panel

Home grown solar equipment manufacturer and EPC player -Vikram Solar, a very well-known brand in India and abroad has been always on forefront to share the pain point of the renewable energy industry. The company has always pointed out that Indian manufacturers need stronger polices to make the government’s Make In India come true. However, the policies that government brought in did not look much in favour of the Indian Solar Industry and ultimately its riding on rough road.

Today, the company has accepted that it has felt the heat of the economic slowdown and has decided to shut down its one of the manufacturing units resulting in laying off 320 employees.

Reacting to news circulating in local media Vikram Solar has finally released an official statement that reads “The domestic solar manufacturing industry has long been advocating for a level playing field. However, a slowing economy, inconsistent policy implementations, unfavourable trade policies, and liquidity crises have impacted the sector severely in the past few months. Moreover, recent global events have also impacted supply chains.”

“Consequently, Vikram Solar is making production adjustments in response to market conditions. Unfortunately, this scenario has resulted in a number of difficult but necessary organizational changes. Vikram Solar has extended Early Separation Scheme to 320 employees from one of the production workforce based at Falta, West Bengal. The second facility is functioning normally,” the company said.

Regretting to the impact of the decision on the employees and their families, the company said “We appreciate the many contributions these employees have made to Vikram Solar and are committed to extending support and treating all employees with respect and dignity as they transition to new opportunities outside the Company.”

The company further said “Our delivery and service commitments stand tall and we will do everything it takes to meet these commitments. Our teams are working round the clock to ensure that we address any challenges to emerge as a stronger company.”

“Vikram Solar’s focus remains its utmost respect for its employees and long-term health of the company, with customers in mind,” said the company.

The home-grown manufacturer’s decision to shut down manufacturing unit and layoff employees have already shocked the Industry including smaller firms, start-ups and big developers.

However, the shut down of solar firms or their manufacturing unit is nothing new in recent past, many small firms have already wrapped up or are in inert state blaming unfavourable policies.

According to reports of early last year the falling margins and tariff pressure forced many Indian EPC rooftop solar players to shut shop as they found it difficult to meet their working capital and other operating expenses. Policy decisions from state to retrospectively cancel net metering, and failure to honour the 20% to 30% capital incentives have damaged the viability of many companies that aggressively bid for projects across the country.  More than 12 EPC players in the rooftop solar segment either closed or were on the verge of closing their rooftop solar divisions due to tough financial conditions. Some of the companies facing severe constraints then were: Ujjas Energy, Kotak Urja and Relyon Solar, among others.

This year, on top of economic slowdown, CoronaVirus crisis added a lethal ground for the Indian players and made it extremely suffocating for start-ups. Many solar firms have already opted for alternate route and looking for their piece of pie in the electric vehicle business.

This definitely raises alarm on the Indian solar Industry crisis , however, we hope this time the chocked milieu will make the government understand the kind of environment and policy needed so that our home grown manufacturers can sustain even at the time of global crisis.  

This article has been prepared incorporating different reports, Inputs and official releases . It does not necessarily reflects any individual, party, publication or company’s point of view.