Distinguished Alumni Award::Sumant Sinha

Sumant Sinha is the Chairman and Managing Director of ReNew Power Limited. ReNew Power is the largest renewable energy IPP in India in terms of total energy generation capacity.

Sumant holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, a post-graduate diploma in management from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta and a master’s degree in International Affairs from the Columbia University. He is also a CFA charter holder and a member of the Institute. He worked as an investment banker in the United States and the United Kingdom at Citicorp Securities and ING Barings Services Limited, respectively, before returning to India as Senior President, Finance, of the Aditya Birla Group and subsequently as the Chief Executive Officer of Aditya Birla Retail. After this he joined Suzlon in 2008 and served as the Chief Operating Officer until 2010.

Sumant has won many awards including the “The Economic Times Entrepreneur of the Year, 2018”, “EY Entrepreneur of the Year, 2017” in the Energy, Real Estate and Infrastructure category, and the Outstanding Start-up of the Year- Forbes India Leadership Awards for Renew Power 2017.

In an interview with Dr Vanita Srivastava, he talks about his days in IIT Delhi, the Center of Excellence that he has started and more.

Edited excerpts from the interview:

What does this Award mean to you?


It is an honour to receive this award from my alma mater. It is a privilege to be associated with one of the best institutions of the country and an even greater privilege to be one of the recipients of such a prestigious award. Needless to say, the award means a lot to me and I hope to keep contributing in any small way towards the advancement of the institute.


What did you study in IIT Delhi? How did the Institute help in grooming you to be what you are today?


I studied civil engineering in my days at IIT Delhi and I owe majority of my success to this wonderful institute. In IIT Delhi, I had the opportunity to interact with some of the brightest minds of the country as well as the vastly experienced and knowledgeable faculty. I was intellectually challenged every day by my peers and compelled to work harder to achieve greater results. My experience at the institute taught me humility and helped me develop strong fundamentals for life and build a solid foundation at the beginning of my career which has allowed me to be a successful entrepreneur today.


Please brief a bit about the Centre of Excellence that you have started in IITD. What are the main objectives?


The Centre of Excellence for Energy and Environment is a platform for clean energy research. The main objective is to encourage India specific technological innovations in renewable energy – for example, integration of solar rooftop with the electricity grid using battery storage, infrastructure to strengthen the transmission network in India and development of EV charging infrastructure. Our overall objective is to enable faster adoption of renewable energy across India. This facility is a medium for students to create impactful solutions with guidance from industry experts, faculty advisors and policy makers to help shape up the sector.


What is the message you would like to give to the young students of IITD.


No matter how intelligent you are, there is no substitute for hard work and perseverance. As young graduates, it is important to remember that professional careers are built over many years and expecting immediate success can often work against you. Despite multiple failures you might encounter, it is imperative to keep the end goal in sight and keep powering through towards it. And while doing so, you must enjoy the journey because only then you will be able to relish the success at the end of the road. If you want to become an entrepreneur, and I would encourage you to do so, do it to create something sustainable and meaningful that lasts the test of time.