Greentech Lead India: ReneSola, a Chinese manufacturer of
solar wafers, has announced its entry to Indian market. The company is planning to open a manufacturing subsidy and manufacture Solar PV modules in India through partnership with Indian companies.
The strategy to open ReneSola’s own manufacturing
facility in India is driven by the challenging global market conditions that
prevent many manufacturers from selling solar products beyond their domestic
markets, said Stephen Huang, president Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa,
ReneSola, to Greentech Lead.
ReneSola has been focusing multiple markets. Major market
outside China for ReneSola has been Europe. However, according to Huang, the
market is maturing now, and the subsidies are getting reduced. ReneSola is now
shifting its focus to countries like India and Japan where atmosphere is more
The government of Japan has announced a national feed-in
tariff (FiT) for solar, creating robust public policy to drive deployment of
renewable energy. The new policy effective July 2012 is driving the solar
market in Japan. The market is expected to grow to 2.3-2.5 GW this year and
3.0GW in 2013. Japan’s new policy has mandated power utilities to pay
above-market rates for electricity generated from renewable energy sources such
as solar. Japan is now considered the next biggest market for solar energy
ReneSola also sees great opportunity in Southeast Asian
countries like India, which are facing severe power crisis. According to Huang,
India’s GDP growth is good and the country has huge potential for solar
investments. The country is big enough for PV development.
Talking about the challenges facing the solar industry,
Huang said oversupply is one of the major issues faced by Chinese solar market.
Due to oversupply, price will come down leading to lowering margins, and many
small manufacturers will be forced to quit the market in the next couple of
years. This will result in consolidation of the solar market, and as a result supply
will come down and there will be price revision. Huang expects the solar supply
will be back on track by next year.
Regarding the recent taxes imposed by the U.S government
on solar products from China, Huang agreed these taxes are putting pressure on
the solar industry. Chinese manufacturers are already facing the issue from
other countries, including India. In China, however, the industry is getting
huge support from the government and there is no worry for companies like
ReneSola is now expanding its manufacturing to other
countries including South Africa and the United States. The company recently
started manufacturing in Taiwan. It will also establish more
production sites in Europe. The solar wafer maker is partnering with local
manufacturers in these countries and offering their technology to their
respective markets, thus saving import taxes.
ReneSola views India as a major market for solar energy.
Government has announced subsidies to customers, and it is propelling the demand
for solar products. The demand is expected to grow in the coming years.
When asked about competition from conventional utilities,
Huang said the competition from conventional energy producers will not affect
the industry as long as there are subsidies from the government. Considering
the environmental benefits of solar energy, if not just the production cost,
currently solar energy benefits are comparable with those from conventional
energy sources. Considering the fact that the cost of coal keeps increasing,
solar will soon overtake conventional energy sources in terms of affordability.
China, which has the potential to become the world’s
largest solar hub, is already benefitting from the large-scale solar
implementation. China’s geographical and climatic conditions highly favor
renewable energy production. Many regions in China are blessed with high
availability of radiation, making them the boundless sources of energy. Huang
expects the power generation from PV in China to rise to 15 GW by year 2013.
ReneSola now offers advanced technologies to address
challenges facing the industry. ReneSola is offering advanced PV technologies
like the qui-sci that delivers improved efficiency while reducing the
consumption of production materials. The latest innovation from ReneSola is the
quasi-mono wafer-Virtus, which is able to improve the average conversion
efficiency of conventional multicrystalline wafer from 16.5 percent to more
than 18.2 percent.
The product combines the best of both mono crystalline
and multi crystalline technologies. In mono crystalline, the production cost is
much higher, but it yields higher efficiency. In multi-crystalline technology,
the cost is lower, but efficiency is also lower as compared to mono crystalline
wafers of the same capacity. ReneSola has now combined the best of both to
deliver a technology that delivers greater efficiency with less manufacturing
costs. The Virtus II solar module is an ingenious combination of the high
quality and efficiency of Monocrystalline modules, with the lower cost of
Multicrystalline modules, according to Huang.
ReneSola’s innovative ingot growth technology improves the uniformity of the
grain size and preferred orientation, resulting in higher minor-carrier
lifetime and lower dislocation density. The outcome is significantly increased
The company’s innovative, controlled, DDS production process for the Virtus A
++ wafers produces far fewer defects than conventional multicrystalline silicon
wafers. This enables Virtus II solar modules to achieve a 4 percent higher
power output, yet maintain the same LID and CTM loss.
Huang says solar industry may not need support from
government in the long run. As solar industry grows, it will be able to sustain
on its own, says Huang. One issue with renewable energy is that it is
unpredictable. Unlike coal-based energy production that is predictable and can
be controlled, renewable energy production like solar and wind cannot be
predicted. Solar makers should, therefore, be given the support in the initial
stages of development, including support for infrastructure and
ReneSola has great plans in India. The company is establishing a subsidiary company ReneSola India in Kolkatta. ReneSola plans to convert India
as the hub of its solar manufacturing in the Southeast Asia. The company will
immediately target the West, East and South states of India with its innovative
solar PV products and move to other markets subsequently.