Deepak Ushadevi: Trailblazing a Floating CIEL ET TERRE SOLAR Powered Indian Future

Deepak Ushadevi
Deepak Ushadevi

What influences us the most are the simple innovations with profound impact. That impact could be seen in the global sustainability cause by the most influential leaders in the solar industry like Deepak Ushadevi, who, as the CEO and Managing Director of CIEL ET TERRE SOLAR PVT LTD, is pushing the envelope with a pioneering innovation of floating solar since 2011.

Deepak’s success mantra is simple. “Be the change you wish to see in the world. This quote by Mahatma Gandhi is what I ardently believe in,” he says. And Deepak has become that change throughout his personal and professional life. He started his career as an engineer at Chartered Semiconductor in Singapore. Professionally with over 23 years of experience in the field of solar and semiconductors in various capacities as a subject matter expert, technologist, and business unit head. Deepak’s primary areas of expertise include new commercial initiatives, the introduction of new technology, strategic alignment, and market development. He focused on developing/commissioning new single Junction & Tandem Junction think film lines in India, Italy, Germany, China, Japan, and the US.

What propels his passion for the Solar Industry is its expansive and eco-friendly nature, championing the cause of green energy. “This profound commitment to sustainability resonates with my professional journey,” he adds, as he has played a pivotal role in ushering in new technologies globally. Deepak’s involvement spans the IC Chip processor segment, Solar technology, and the revolutionary field of floating solar technology. The confluence of his experiences and the transformative advancements in these industries has shaped his career and fuelled his dedication to pioneering innovations in the pursuit of a greener and more sustainable future.

Significant Strides in Renewable Energy

CIEL ET TERRE is world leader in floating solar and also the leader in floating solar domain in India. Deepak shares the guiding philosophy that has propelled his organization’s success. In 2018, CIEL ET TERRE embarked on its Indian venture, and since then, the company has been making significant strides in the renewable energy landscape. The company’s headquarters, situated in Manyata Tech Park, Bangalore, has been instrumental in overseeing the implementation of various capacity addition and expansion projects.

As of today, CIEL ET TERRE INDIA (CTSP) has successfully commissioned projects across seven different states in India, boasting an impressive cumulative capacity of 260+ MWp, with a flagship project of 120 MWp in phase 1 contributing to the ambitious 600 MWpphase 1&2 floating solar project led by RUMSL, solidifying its position as the world’s largest floating solar initiative.

The Solar landscape is continually evolving. When asked how they ensure that their company remains adaptable and ahead of industry trends, providing innovative solutions to their clients, Deepak informs CIEL ET TERRE has been fully devoted to floating PV ever since. Its unique expertise and track record make the company become the most experienced group in ‘Floating PV’, especially thanks to ‘all-in-one’ solutions and high-quality services. CIEL ET TERRE’s teams are trained to adapt and respond smartly to the various needs in floating solar worldwide as the demand increases each year a little faster.

Deepak adds, “Bankability, Reliability, Proximity and Flexibility are the key factors that enable us.”

Pioneering Hydrelio® Floating Solar

In 2006, CIEL ET TERRE embarked on a journey in the renewable energy sector, initially focusing on rooftop and ground-mounted solar projects.

In 2011, a pivotal moment occurred with the introduction of the Hydrelio® productthe patented Hydrelio Classic, a floating solar solution capable of accommodating modules up to 300 Wp. Classic Hydrelio design with a Standard tilt of 12° and easy operations and maintenance is its major feature. Building on this success, CIEL ET TERRE continued to push the boundaries of solar technology.

Deepak informs that in 2015, they unveiled the Hydrelio Equato, designed to support even more powerful 400 Wp modules. Equatorial design with fixed tilt 5°. They are designed for equatorial adaptation, anchoring control, and cost-effective transport solutions optimised for 4-in-a-row configuration.

The year 2019 marked another milestone with the launch of Hydrelio Air 1280, a product capable of handling modules up to 500 Wp, demonstrating the company’s commitment to staying at the forefront of solar energy advancements. Air Hydrelio is designed with 11° floats with a racking system, extra ventilation, and a cost-effective transport solution.

In 2019, CIEL ET TERRE once again raised the bar by introducing Hydrelio Air 1440, which is designed to accommodate modules with a capacity of up to 570 Wp. The company’s dedication to innovation culminated in the groundbreaking release of Hydrelio Air Optim in 2023, which can support modules with an impressive 670 Wp capacity.

The Guiding Light

Today, Deepak’s leadership style is recognized as a driving force behind CIEL ET TERRE’s tremendous success. Shedding the light on his approach, he says leadership is the cornerstone of any organization’s success. Be it a driving force that shapes the culture, values or behaviour of the workforce well, different leadership styles can profoundly impact how an organization operates on a day-to-day basis and the type of culture it fosters. “At CIEL ET TERRE INDIA, we have Democratic and transformational Leadership.”

*Democratic leadership: Deepak says they have leaders who believe in involving employees in decision-making. They seek input, opinions, and ideas from their team members. “This style encourages a culture of inclusivity, open communication, and teamwork. Our Employees feel valued and are likelier to be engaged and committed to the organization’s goals.”

*Transformational Leadership: At CIEL ET TERRE INDIA, it is also about inspiring and motivating employees to achieve extraordinary results. This style fosters a culture of innovation, creativity, and continuous improvement. “Leaders encourage our employees to think outside the box, take risks, and pursue ambitious goals for the betterment of the organization.”

Consistently Exceeding Client Expectations

The essence of renewable energies lies in seamless operations and enhancing the end-user experience. To balance operational efficiency and customer satisfaction, operating as a multinational corporation across 30+ countries, CIEL ET TERRE adheres to rigorous protocols and standards. These guidelines propel us to consistently exceed client expectations. Daily tasks such as project tracking, milestone planning, and continuous project progress assessments ensure that our project execution consistently meets high standards. Moreover, engaging in face-to-face interactions with clients, actively seeking their feedback, and navigating through channels for improvement contribute to our efficiency, striving to enhance the overall ecosystem daily.

Sustainability and environmental responsibility are crucial aspects of the modern Solar niche. According to Deepak, India, the world’s most populous country, grapples with an insatiable demand for energy and land, departing fossil fuels imperative for a sustainable future. Considering the nation’s circumstances, embracing green energy emerges as the optimal choice. However, challenges such as space constraints, land disputes, legal intricacies, and acquisition delays necessitate innovative solutions, with floating solar power emerging as a compelling alternative.

In the realm of solar, technology plays a pivotal role in enhancing efficiency. Similarly, Deepak says that in the ever-evolving landscape of renewable energy, the efficiency of floating solar stands out, influencing economic, environmental, and social dimensions more profoundly than conventional models. With nearly two decades of expertise in the renewable energy sector and a leadership role in a technology solutions provider, the journey into the realm of floating solar has unveiled a new market – floating photovoltaics (PV). A global imperative propels this evolution to generate clean energy with greater efficiency while conserving valuable land resources.

Surmounting Adversities

The workforce is the cornerstone of any successful organization. Deepak says that as a technology-centric organization, they focus on empowering their human assets with the best industry practices to foster a culture of growth, skill development, and empowerment among their employees. They are promoting diversity and inclusion in all the functional departments. They prioritise continuous learning for all the employees and empower them to make decisions on their expertise areas. They promote a 360-degree feedback system to share inputs, raise concerns and receive constructive feedback from peers and supervisors. They are in high favour of reward and recognition programs, and their Fridays are filled with fun.

Deepak adds, “We encourage our team to have a work-life balance with flexible timing and work-from-home options. We also have short- and long-term monitory benefits plans called Project-based benefits (PBB) to keep them motivated throughout the journey with us.”

As a leader in India’s Solar sector, challenges are an integral part of running any company, and “We’ve encountered our fair share,” says Deepak. He adds that transportation headaches, tight timelines, and unpredictable weather conditions have all been hurdles they’ve navigated.

Transportation problems have been recurring, particularly when moving solar equipment or components to their project sites. To tackle this, they’ve fostered local partnerships for efficient transportation services and explored modular components that are easier to transport. “Flexibility in our logistics approach has proven key in overcoming this challenge.”

Time constraints often press on the team, threatening delays in installation and commissioning. “To counter this, meticulous project planning and scheduling have become our allies,’ says Deepak. Thus, he ensures they prioritize tasks and deploy project management tools. “Regular assessments and course corrections help us stay on track.”

Unpredictable weather conditions are part and parcel of working in the renewable energy sector. Deepak mentions that to tackle this challenge, they design their systems with weather resilience in mind. This includes flexible structures to withstand extreme weather and incorporating forecasting tools to anticipate changes. Smart technologies that adjust system parameters in response to weather conditions contribute to optimal performance and stability.

In the face of these challenges, our commitment to finding innovative solutions remains unwavering,” says Deepak. “We believe in a holistic approach that combines technology, strategic partnerships, and community engagement. Regular reviews and updates to our strategies based on project experiences keep us adaptive and resilient in the dynamic landscape of the solar sector.”

Fostering A Floating Solar-Empowered Tomorrow

Finally, Deepak divulges that looking towards the future, CIEL ET TERRE is actively engaged in research and development, aiming to introduce solutions that can accommodate panels with capacities of up to 700 Wp by the end of 2024. This commitment to pushing the limits of solar technology underscores CIEL ET TERRE’s role as a trailblazer in the renewable energy industry, contributing to the ongoing global transition towards sustainable and clean energy solutions. With each product launch, CIEL ET TERRE reaffirms its dedication to driving innovation and shaping the future of solar energy.

All this model is being tested to extreme wind at ONETA French aerospace for wind tunnel testing and computational fluid dynamics, bending fatigue tested at IFP EB, UV corrosion tested for 20+ years lifetime, and drinking water compliance with BS standards.

Additional testing on the HDPE and colourant control, DQP, thickness control, cooling jig spec, dimension control, leak testing, etc., have also been benchmarked in our design and innovation space.

In short, under the visionary leadership of Deepak, team CIEL ET TERRE is ensuring that India emerges as a super-player in the floating solar innovation, contributing tremendously to the global sustainability mission. For more information, please visit