SINO LANKA POWER GEN
Q: In your assessment, how important is renewable energy – especially in the current climate where the nation’s energy security is seemingly weak?
A: I believe it is absolutely imperative given the current circumstances that the country is going through. Sri Lanka is impacted by major shifts locally – be it the looming dollar crisis or balance of payments deficit, and immense external pressures; so what better way to hedge against these threats than by pursuing our own energy security?
Sri Lanka is on the verge of a renewable energy transformation. To all the naysayers, technology has advanced in leaps and bounds, and I truly believe we must have a positive attitude if we’re to come out of this on a better footing.
Q: In your view, what are the global benchmarks when it comes to renewable energy usage?
A: There are two lenses through which to look at this – one is to see which countries or regions are the pinnacles of development in this sector.
Western Australia and its successful implementation of battery storage paired with solar is an example of this; or perhaps India and China, which are rolling out renewable energy projects on a mammoth scale.
The other lens is to see successfully implemented projects closer in nature and complexity to ours. For example, projects in Java, Hawaii or even the Maldives.
All three have successfully implemented unique renewable energy solutions that offset the use of fossil fuel-based sources of energy. They have proven that you don’t need massive budgets to get things going; but rather, an open mind and creativity to find solutions that make sense in the local context.
Q: Have Sri Lankan corporates achieved adequate progress in terms of renewable energy?
A: When I began researching renewable energy in Sri Lanka back in 2015 and since we forayed into the sector in 2020, the landscape has changed considerably given the amount of information that is available and how much media spotlight there is on this sector – especially considering the issues that are plaguing the government and energy sector.
I think it is absolutely brilliant that so many more companies have entered the fray. However, I believe we still have a long way to go, having only addressed a fraction of the total rooftop space available in this country.
There are still great opportunities for all Sri Lankan corporates to do their part, and adopt not only energy saving mechanisms but solar and other forms of renewable energy.
Q: What are the latest trends when it comes to renewable energy?
A: There is immense innovation in the renewable energy space and it’s difficult to keep up.
There are numerous forms of energy storage such as flow batteries, aluminium-air batteries, solid state batteries and green hydrogen to name a few; or the use of advanced materials such as graphene or superconducting magnetic energy storage (SMES) – all competing to be the most efficient, most cost-effective solution for the world’s global energy requirements.
Solar and wind technology reinvents itself with dozens of improvements every year. As Gordon Moore stated when he famously coined Moore’s law, and the rate of change of the semiconductor and astonishing pace of advancement, the rate at which this space is growing is exponential.
One such comparison is the capacity of a solar panel, which grew almost 200 percent in four years from 2017 to 2022!
Q: How would you describe the competition – and what strategies do you employ to stay ahead?
A: Given the size of Sri Lanka, I believe there will always be fierce competition in any industry you compete in. By not only pushing ourselves but also the thinking among our customers, we believe that we stand a chance to really compete beyond price and product.
One way to aim to stand out is by adopting technology wherever possible. We are one of the companies – if not the only company – in Sri Lanka to have adopted AI, big data and IoT into our product mix, offering real time analytics and the ability to troubleshoot problems even before they appear.
This way, we not only reduce downtime significantly but improve the overall performance of plants through continuous improvement, thereby improving yields and returns to customers.
Q: And finally, what are the organisation’s plans going forward? And how do you plan to spread awareness about renewal energy in Sri Lanka?
A: Sino Lanka Power Gen (SLPG) is a unique company. We like to push not only ourselves but our customers’ thinking as well. We began by investing in and developing solar PV projects for our clients; however, we quickly learnt that there is so much more to offer.
We are trying to push a paradigm shift in the way our clients approach renewable energy in Sri Lanka via a much broader, holistic offering.
Not only are they looking for creative energy storage solutions such as battery backups but also at how they can reduce their overall demand and load – whether it be energy efficiency audits, targeted changes to their operations or adopting a multitude of energy efficient devices.
In terms of our plans, there’s a lot to be done and I invite anyone who is interested in being part of this journey to reach out at email@example.com to be a part of that growth as well.