Future of Solar Panel Manufacturing Business in India

Domestic manufacturing can help India control the solar supply value chain, bringing revenue within the country, and profitably manufacture solar modules. The solar mission can only be successful if the domestic manufacturing sector is developed.

India is in the process to achieve one of the most ambitious solar targets globally – 100 GW by the year 2022.

There are few things which need to be changed in order to make India as a solar panel manufacturer, some of the points are mentioned below:-

Solar Manufacturing Policy – An integrated policy for manufacturing of solar equipment is required. An integrated approach which supports manufacturing of the entire value chain will help reduce cost and provide strong linkages to the suppliers leading to increase in domestic manufacturing. Such a policy will help manufacturers set up solar power plants without reliance on imports.

Module Insurance –It must be noted that module insurance is not available in India and such a practice will only hurt the Indian manufacturers and increase the cost of power. The modules manufactured and sold in India already follow all the IEC and MNRE standards and provide warranty for 25 years. Recently many tenders introduced have an additional clause for the requirement of module insurance and in some cases, it is also mentioned that insurance should be provided. The requirement of module insurance can only be met by importing solar modules and will lead to restrictive trade practices and hurt the “Make in India” sentiment.

A lot of tenders currently are being introduced with a clause that can only be fulfilled by using imported modules in the projects. Such directives do not uphold the ‘Make in India’ spirit and are stealing away the domestic manufacturing demand. The bidding process should be re-structured adding clauses that create better demand for the domestic manufacturing industry and not the other way around.

Incentivize New Technologies – Efficiency gains are responsible to highest cost reduction in solar power plants. Increase in efficiency will make solar affordable and efficient. Since 2015, China has been successfully running the “Top Runner Program” which has been sponsored by the National Energy Administration (NEA) of China. The program is a competitive reverse auction scheme specially designed for projects based on high efficiency and high quality certified products with an aim to create a market for advanced technologies and the annual installations between 10~30per cent of the year’s annual installation capacity.

Market Creation Support – To increase the uptake of domestic solar systems in India, it is necessary that there be assured procurement of the domestically manufactured solar systems. CPSU’s should be mandated to procure at least 50per cent of the solar modules through domestic manufacturers to increase demand. In addition, all government buildings must install solar panels under the Net Metering policy using domestically produced solar panels.

India globally competitive, Indian solar industry needs to develop a larger policy framework than the one already exists to support domestic manufacturing plans. Domestic manufacturing can help India control the solar supply value chain, bringing revenue within the country, and profitably manufacture solar modules. Therefore, it is important to make sure that new policies address manufacturing issues concerning transport, infrastructure, taxation, labour laws, and power outages. Bridging the gap between having policies and implementing them aggressively is also another area Indian Government needs to show vigilance in.

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