Friday, October 23, 2009

Rising opportunities in India’s solar PV space

SEMI India, in association with Intersolar India and partner organizations India Semiconductor Association (ISA) and Fab City, organizing SOLARCON India 2009, today held an interactive panel discussion titled, ”Rising opportunities for Solar/PV in India”.

The participants were: Sathya Prasad, president, SEMI India, BP Acharya, CMD APIIC, Sankar Rao, MD, Titan Energy Systems, SSN Prasad, VP, Solar Semiconductors, and Seshagiri Rao, India Sales Head, Oerlikon.

According to Sathya Prasad, president, SEMI India, India is abundantly endowed with solar radiation — > 300 sunny days a year and 5 trillion kWh of solar energy per year available across the land mass. “Even 0.5 percent of India’s land mass generating solar electricity can meet the entire power needs of the country in the year 2030,” he said.

India PV end market – opportunities
Several opportunities exist in the India PV end market, such as:

* Basic lighting and electrification of rural homes.
* Irrigation pump sets.
* Power backup for cellular base stations.
* Urban applications.
* Solar power plants.

Indian PV manufacturing background
India has a long history of solar/PV activity. CEL and BHEL have been around from the 1970s. Pioneering R&D work has also been done. The Indian space program was one of the early drivers. A few private companies have been in operation for ~two decades.

There has been a rising production capacity in India. This is extending from module to cell manufacturing. Also, the industry is now getting into downstream opportunities.

Today, most of the output is in exports (~70 percent).

India solar capacity targets

* Satisfy large solar local market (generation capacity)
– A few hundred MW Today
– 1000 MW by 2013
– 6000 – 7000 MW by 2017
– 20,000 MW by 2020
– 100,000 / 200,000 by 2030/2050, respectively

* Solar manufacturing capacity targets
– A few hundred MW Today
– 1000MW-1500 MW by 2012/2013
– 4000MW-5000 MW by 2017

Why is local solar/PV manufacturing important?
* Benefits of manufacturing locally in India
– Ability to scale production to meet end-demand
– Cost reduction
– Quality/reliability enhancements for local conditions
– Customization of end solutions targeted for India market

* Build competitive advantage in the long-term
* Employment creation (~100,000 over next 10 years)

Solar/PV manufacturing in India
* Govt recognition of potential of solar/PV
– Targets of 20,000 MW by 2020

* State government initiatives: Example: FabCity initiative
* Rising interest from Industry for solar/PV
– Integrated PV/solar manufacturing park
* India can provide a competitive manufacturing base for PV (cells, modules and solutions)
– Well established industrial base
– Industrial manpower available (PV training needed).

Update on solar power farms
BP Acharya, CMD, APIIC, highlighted that 5,000 acres solar power farm to set up plants at Kadiri; offer letters are being issued to AES, Lanco, Sunborne (thermal and PV) besides Titan.

Over Rs 3,000 crores in investment is envisaged of which Sunborne alone will be Rs 2,000 crores. Social infrastructure is also good, and that, the proximity to Bangalore International airport a big advantage looking at global markets. He added, “The farm will also be apt since those in FabCity have a readymade domestic market.”

Acharya said that an MoU with Fraunhofer Institute will be signed during the Solarcon India 2009 to set up a center in FabCity to help Indian companies and also facilitate better market access. It will will address certification and testing requirements besides training; is also looking at an undergraduate program; also looking at a R&D center.

He said that BHEL is the new entrant showing interest in FabCity of Rs 500 crores investment. There will soon be a draft state policy after the national solar mission.

India an emerging solar/PV leader
Sankar Rao, MD, Titan Energy Systems, said that Hyderabad based companies had achieved 6-7 GW capacity in only a few years.

Rao added, “The global PV segment has been growing at 30 percent annually for the last five years. India has been making significant progress as a player in photovoltaic modules and panel manufacturing units and stands a good chance of emerging as a global leader in solar PV technology.”

Vertically integrated base key to succeed
SSN Prasad, vice president, Solar Semiconductors, noted that India has a current manufacturing capacity of 700 MW. Vertically integrated base in India is key to succeed.

He added that according to an industry analyst, there will be 190,000 to 1.3 million in employment generation by 2018. “Innovation in financial sector is a need. Also, the solar/PV target is to achieve grid parity by 2020 in India.”

“Apart from off-grid applications such as home lighting, grid connected solar/PV farms are increasingly becoming attractive in India and will help solve the growing gap between energy supply and demand. This, coupled with adoption of new technology will drive growth of the Indian solar/PV space exponentially. We also expect more players to enter the industry in the near term enticed by the market opportunity.”

Module prices to drop to Rs 50 by end 2010
Seshagiri Rao, India Sales Manager, Oerlikon, stated: “Shortage of solar grade feedstock to grow wafers till 2008 has stimulated renewed interest in thin-film technologies and in particular amorphous silicon and microcrystalline.

“Reduction in the cost of the modules is becoming possible through increasing stabilized efficiencies and deposition rates of the materials. Current improvements in both product and manufacturing process technologies will see per module price at retail level dropping to Rs. 50 by end of 2010. Anticipating similar cost reductions in BOS spectrum, dropping of total system cost to sub Rs. 100 levels by end of 2011 is also a reality.”

The SOLARCON India 2009, will be held from Nov. 9-11 at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre.

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