The supply disruption from China due to the COVID-19 pandemic and following decline in domestic solar capacity addition offer an ideal opportunity to ramp up local manufacturing of solar modules and cells, according to industry experts.
However, the industry feels there is a serious need for a national vision policy for local solar modules manufacturing as well as ancillary products, in line of solar power generation target of 100 GW by 2022 under National Solar Mission.
Till 2011, India controlled 70-80 per cent of global supplies of solar modules, but today the opposite is the case, as 80-90 per cent of modules are imported, as domestic modules are not cost-effective.
"The COVID pandemic is a wake-up call for us. We must focus on domestic manufacturing but for that to happen we need a long-term business proposition.
"We've world-class technology, but we don't have scale like China. For manufacturing to succeed, we need a policy framework that ensures long term off-takes at sustainable prices," Tata Power Solar managing director and chief executive Ashish Khanna told.
Vikram Solar chief executive Saibaba Vutukuri also highlights the need to focus on local manufacturing.
"The vision of 100 gw solar capacity by 2022 is fantastic and can be achieved. But to meet the target, there is a need to push local manufacturing so that our dependence on imports comes down," Vutukuri said.
Noting that till 2011 India was one of the largest exporters of the best-in-class modules, he said with a strong policy push we can reclaim that position again and we need to learn a lesson or two from China in building scale.
"Comprehending the huge potential, China changed its focus from generation to manufacturing of solar modules and set up large plants that offered them economies of scale, helping it lower the cost and capture global market," he said.
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