Greentech Lead India: Of the 148 grid-connected solar power plants of 551MW aggregate capacity installed under Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) in India, nearly70 percent are using imported solar cells or modules, the government said recently.
Since the launch of JNNSM, nearly 77projects of 391 MW aggregate capacity are using foreign solar cells or modules.
Though country-wise information about the imports of solar cells is not available, Chinese solar cells are likely to constitute the majority of imported solar cells in India.
The Government has stipulated technical measures to ensure quality of the PV modules used in solar power projects in India. The government has not yet revealed whether the imports are made primarily by private solar power developers and that they are governed by market forces.
Thin film modules account for majority of solar imports. Currently there are no thin film manufacturers in India. This makes solar import essential for this category of solar deployments.
In the first phase of solar mission, developers were required to use only local modules, but for the second batch, even the cells had to be locally produced. However these rules applied to only crystalline technology.
Solar manufacturers in India have been demanding strict laws that prohibit imports of Chinese solar modules.
Chinese imports pose challenge to Indian photovoltaic materials market, says Frost
Recently Frost & Sullivan revealed that a key challenge facing solar PV materials market in India is the low-cost imports of finished cells and modules from China. Several Chinese manufacturers have already opened manufacturing facilities, supported by the state-sponsored loans by the Chinese government.
Solar project developers are keen to import Chinese solar cells considering their lower costs and technology innovations.
Unless the government issues strict guidelines to stop oversupply from foreign countries and focus on innovation in the industry, Indian solar industry will not be able to keep its future bright.