This year was my 6th consecutive participation at the Renewable Energy India Expo (REI), Greater Noida- twice as an exhibitor and competitor and four times as a visitor. Over these past six years, I can certainly say that REI successfully captures the mood of the renewable energy industry. Here were my key takeaways from the expo this year:
- Over the past years, REI has been a lot about hype, with a large proportion of only curious visitors. This year, having visited on the second day, I felt that even though the footfall was lower, but there was a larger proportion of serious business visitors. The spread in terms of number of stalls was also less than the last two years but stalls represented the serious long term players in the industry.
- Personally, this time we had gone with the clear agenda to meet our existing vendors, looking out for new technologies and very specifically diversifying vendor base in a couple categories. The focused approach ensured that we got the most out of our day and it was the most rewarding REI experience so far.
- In terms of renewable energy, the expo was heavily skewed towards solar energy, more so than past years. We barely saw one wind turbine manufacturer, no bio-gas and no hydro.
- Technology wise, we didn’t see any significant releases this year. Many of the cable, inverter and other electrical component vendors had released beta versions of their 1500 V products last year. Sadly, these 1500 V versions were still in beta this year.
- In the past few years, the Chinese delegation’s numbers are quite large and you could see many of the visitors flocking to them looking for Indian ‘dealerships’. This was not as apparent this year- hopefully a reflection of our transitioning belief towards ‘Make in India’. The Chinese representation was also markedly reduced this year.
Overall, I felt that REI 2017 reflected a maturing renewable energy or solar energy industry with stabilizing technologies, serious visitors and representation by long term industry players. My only regret, if any at all, is the lack of innovation and new announcements- here’s hoping to see them in 2018.