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Here we stand with solar PV

August 25, 2023 11:23 am

Here we stand with solar PV

The following discussion with industry leaders highlights their perspectives on government policies, supply chain reliance, and the impacts of incentives. The overall focus is on advancing solar PV innovation, manufacturing, and sustainability in India.

The growth of India’s solar PV market is intricately woven into a tapestry of factors driven by aligned government strategies and industry support. Lower solar technology costs enhance competitiveness and align with ecological concerns by reducing reliance on fossil fuels. This expansion extends beyond energy, fuelling job creation, rural electrification, and broader energy access, thus pivotal in economic, social, and environmental progress.

Driving solar PV market growth  

Private sector involvement, rapid technological advancements, and global agreements amplify India’s solar progress. This synergy intertwines solar advancement with economic, social, and environmental gains. Sumit Mehta, Co-founder and Director of Pixon Green Energy, exemplifies this interplay. He further emphasises delivering affordable, high-performance solar modules that could enhance competitiveness, steering India’s sustainable energy transition. On the other hand, Hardik Kothiya, Director of Rayzon Solar, believes government policies are a cornerstone. Initiatives like the National Solar Mission and Solar Park Scheme provide incentives and tax benefits, attracting investments that vitalise the sector. These efforts align seamlessly with India’s ambitious targets of 100 GW by 2022 and 450 GW by 2030, driving solar PV growth. Moreover, the decreasing cost of solar technology fosters competitiveness while aligning with ecological priorities for climate action. This shift reduces fossil fuel dependence and bolsters India’s energy security.

Solar PV supply chain reliance

In pursuing energy autonomy and resilience, manufacturers are actively participating in India’s solar industry revolution. With the nation aiming to fortify its solar manufacturing capabilities, these firms align themselves with government incentives to curtail dependence on external sources and establish an autonomous solar supply chain.

Gautam Mohanka, Managing Director of Gautam Solar, discusses the challenges of modernised manufacturing facilities with automation and AI. He believes we are yet to achieve strides to surpass the Chinese market by making indigenous production and manufacturing of solar PV modules in India. Though strides have been taken to elevate local solar cell and module production, significant reliance on imported elements such as silicon cells persists, potentially exposing the supply chain to vulnerabilities.

Mehta underscores the local supply chain scenario: “Despite ongoing efforts to decrease reliance on imported materials like silicon wafers and components, a notable portion is still externally sourced. PIXON is proactively dedicated to augmenting domestic sourcing to ensure heightened autonomy and to bolster the growth of India’s solar sector.”

Kothiya adds, “The dependence on imports leaves the sector susceptible to supply chain disruptions and market fluctuations, potentially affecting the competitiveness of domestically produced solar equipment. Rayzon Solar fervently supports the Indian government’s initiatives to amplify local manufacturing, curtail imports, and fortify industry resilience and self-reliance.”

Incentivising solar PV and cell manufacturing

The trajectory of India’s solar PV and solar cell manufacturing landscape is inextricably linked to the impact of government policies and incentive programs. Mohanka explains that by introducing measures like generation-based incentives, capital subsidies, and tax advantages, the government has ignited substantial interest from investors. This, in turn, has effectively driven down manufacturing costs while fostering an environment conducive to innovation through support for research and development endeavours.

The national solar mission highlights the government’s renewable energy target, aiming for 300 gigawatts by 2030. The allocation for solar is a crucial aspect, particularly for large projects. The interplay between project execution and domestic manufacturing poses a challenge – whether projects or manufacturing should take precedence. Avinash Hiranandani, Managing Director of Renewsys, says, “Regular meetings between module makers, developers, and the MNRE department address these dynamics, fostering constructive discussions. The government’s commitment to Aatmanirbhar Bharat (Self-reliant India) and Make in India initiatives is evident. However, the absence of Basic Customs Duty (BCD) poses a significant challenge for the manufacturing sector. BCD could catalyse capacity growth and new industries if implemented, aligning with the government’s objectives.

As India solidifies its position as a global solar leader, persistent concerns regarding stability and intermittency call for ongoing attention to ensure sustained industry growth. These measures have not only driven demand and investments but have also spurred technological advancements and job creation. Mehta highlights this impact: “Subsidies, tax benefits, and renewable energy targets have significantly bolstered demand and investments in the sector, leading to increased production capacity, technological progress, and employment opportunities.”

Nonetheless, the sector confronts challenges related to policy stability and global competition. This underscores the necessity for continued collaboration between the industry and the government. Such collaborative efforts remain crucial to effectively navigate challenges and ensure sustained, long-term growth in the solar manufacturing sector.

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Impact of government policies and incentives 

Government policies and incentives greatly influence India’s solar PV and solar cell manufacturing landscape. The National Solar Mission’s ambitious targets, backed by generation-based incentives, capital subsidies, and tax advantages, have attracted investor interest, lowering manufacturing costs and stimulating innovation through research and development support.

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Initiatives like the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme have propelled domestic manufacturing, reducing import reliance. Streamlined regulations expedite project approvals, while grid integration policies and infrastructure upgrades combat solar power intermittency. Net metering and feed-in tariffs incentivise solar adoption, ensuring grid energy feed-in and producer revenue. International collaborations facilitate technology transfer, and skill development initiatives nurture an adept workforce.

Raw material faces no trade barriers. Modules now bear a 40 percent duty, while products like glass, aluminium, and EVA back sheets are locally produced. Here, Hiranandani talks about their leadership in EVA and back sheets with almost 5 GW capacity and growth. Glass, aluminium, and EVA backsheets require temporary support like BCD or anti-dumping duty. Yet, panels from FTA countries, aided by India’s agreements, enter freely. Round-tripping through ASEAN firms has been noted recently, impacting the market.

Amid India’s ascent as a global solar leader, consistent stability and intermittency concerns require ongoing attention for sustained industry growth. Pixon echoes the role of government measures, boosting demand, investments, technological strides, and job creation. Challenges like policy stability and global competition necessitate industry-government collaboration to ensure enduring solar manufacturing growth.

Solar PV Innovations

The solar PV manufacturing landscape is transforming as manufacturers strategically incorporate innovative technologies. Rayzon Solar, for example, transitioned from the 5BB full-cell module design to the advanced 10BB half-cut Mono PERC modules. This shift enhances efficiency, reduces hot spots in solar cells, and upgrades module durability through optimised aluminium frame design and N-type TOPCon technology integration.

Pixon has expanded manufacturing to 1 GW, focusing on Multi-Busbar and Topcon production lines for streamlined supply chains. With renewable energy demand, especially solar, predicted to double, Rayzon Solar and Pixon are primed to deliver efficient solar solutions that significantly contribute to global climate sustainability.

Gautam Solar focuses on high-efficiency panels and renewables in manufacturing to reduce emissions. Collaborative supply chains and waste reduction further their sustainability commitment. Ongoing solar PV innovations in India signify technological progress and a commitment to a greener future.

Collaborative R&D yields innovative solutions bolstered by certifications for sustainability commitment. These approaches drive business growth and align with India’s sustainability goals. Pixon’s dedication to innovation is evident through advanced manufacturing, research, and renewable energy commitments. Sumit Mehta of Pixon states, “At PIXON, we prioritise innovation for efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and sustainability. Our 1 GW manufacturing employs cutting-edge technology.”

Hiranandani highlights the dynamics of solar panel innovation. Machinery and cell technology from China dominate India’s solar panel production, necessitating technological catch-up. However, Indian manufacturers have made strides, producing high-quality panels now exported globally. European companies investing in Indian projects choose Indian panels, bolstering local module makers due to the panels’ world-standard quality, even for discerning customers.

Indian manufacturers embrace innovation for efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and sustainability. Industry leaders utilise automation, AI, and IoT for efficient production and waste reduction. Adopting renewables like solar and wind reduces carbon footprints and energy costs, while circular economy practices and sustainable sourcing align with green supply chains.

Spokesperson & Quotes –

Driving solar advancement through government alignment and industry support.” – Mr. Hardik Kothiya, Director, Rayzon Solar

Affordable solar modules steer India’s sustainable energy transition, enhancing competitiveness.” – Mr. Sumit Mehta, Co-founder and Director, Pixon Green Energy

Decreasing solar costs boosts competitiveness and ecological priorities, enhancing energy security.” – Gautam Mohanka, Managing Director, Gautam Solar

Indian manufacturers have made strides, producing high-quality panels now exported globally.” – Avinash Hiranandani, Managing Director, Renewsys 

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