Manoj Gupta: Vice-President, Solar Business (India and Asia) and Director, Corporate Affairs (India), Fortum India

Vice-President, Solar Business (India and Asia) and Director, Corporate Affairs (India), Fortum India

Manoj Gupta brings to the table around two decades of experience in the renewable energy sector, particularly in wind and solar. He is currently vice-president, solar business (India and Asia) and director, corporate affairs (India) at Fortum India Private Limited. He has been with the company since the beginning of its operations in India around six years ago. Prior to this, he worked with Hindustan Power, Acme, Suzlon and Enercon in various roles.

Gupta has clearly enjoyed his long innings with the power sector. “It is an interesting sector with a lot of innovations happening every day. In renewable in particular, you keep on analysing innovative products and business models, which have a lot of industrial and residential applications. In the power sector, you can always challenge yourself to come out with new business ideas,” he says.

Gupta feels that renewable energy is still a growing sector and there is a lot of support from the government to achieve the 175 GW target by 2022. Although it seems difficult, even creating a pipeline of 175 GW will be a great achievement, he adds.

With regard to the issues and challenges facing the sector, Gupta says, “In the short run, the challenge is to ensure timely availability of transmission lines and the grid to feed in power from under-construction and under-tendering wind and solar projects. In the long run, maintaining grid stability will be a major task.”

Looking back, Gupta feels that the most memorable assignment of his career has been working on Fortum India’s first acquisition in the country – a 5 MW solar power project in 2013. Convincing the entire management, the board of directors, the finance team, etc. for making this investment was a major task, he says.

Describing his management style, Gupta says that first convincing oneself about a particular move is very important. “Only if I am convinced can I convince the higher authorities and take the team along,” he says. He believes in giving his team a free hand and, at the same time being ready with an alternative solution in case it is required.

He likes to spend his spare time with friends and family. He is also fond of travelling and would like to go on a long, 20-30-day holiday some day. Gupta’s family includes his wife and their two children.