Historical Overview of the Solar Industry in India

From time to time we take you back to one of our past reports to present the state of an industry as it was viewed when it was written. This time, we look at the solar industry.

In India there is relatively little manufacture of silicon. The major solar PV companies are Central Electronics Ltd., BHEL, REIL who are in fact assemblers sourcing the cells from elsewhere.

The country is developing a production base, with 8 cell manufacturers and 14 module manufacturers. India’s primary solar PV producer, Tata BP Solar, expanded production capacity from 8 MW in 2001 to 209 MW in 2009. Indosolar, one of India’s largest cell manufacturer and Luminous, a solar inverter manufacturer, announced plans for a IPO in June 2010.

EPIA estimates just 120 MW capacity in India as of 2009, of which only 6 MW is grid-connected. However, there are signs that annual installed solar PV capacity may grow and overtake wind capacity in the future. Given that India is a medium wind profile country with saturation of most of its optimum wind sites and overall low plant capacities.

Government backing for solar is evident; the National Climate Change Action Plan of June 2008 makes solar one of eight priorities. In January 2009 the government announced significant programmes to promote MW scale solar power in India, including 80% rebate incentive on solar power projects, no import duty or excise tax on materials, loans for solar power installations, FiT levels of $0.25 / kWh and mandatory dependence on solar for all new government buildings and multi-storey building projects. Later in 2009 the government introduced the National Solar Mission plan for 20 GW of solar PV by 2022 with interim targets of 1 to 1.5 GW by 2012 and 6-7 GW by 2017. Longer term goals of 100 GW by 2030 and 200 GW by 2050 have been established by India’s government.

Growing demand for power has created supply shortages in some rural and urban areas.By 2030 it estimated that $ 1 trillion needs to be invested in new power generation capacity. Four renewable sources have the potential to produce 85,000 MW of electricity, wind (45,000 MW), small hydro (15,000 MW), biomass (25,000 MW) and solar (35 MW of PV and thermal capacity per km2).

The sector is projected to grow to at least 1 GW capacity by 2017 to meet the aims of The National Solar Mission.solar-power


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