In an attempt to boost the ‘Make in India’ initiative in the solar manufacturing sector, the government is planning to come out with a scheme that would tie-up solar project development with domestic manufacturing.
In an attempt to boost the ‘Make in India’ initiative in the solar manufacturing sector, the government is planning to come out with a scheme that would tie-up solar project development with domestic manufacturing. While announcing the road-map for future renewable energy project auctions, renewable energy minister RK Singh said that the government plans to award development contracts for 20 giga watt (GW) of projects to companies that have equipment manufacturing units in the country. The current solar module-making capacity in the country is about 8.5 GW. The government is expected to invite ‘expressions of interest’ to gauge the expectations of the industry soon. As the scheme would be earmarked for government-owned projects, it would be insulated against anti-competition norms set by the World Trade Organization (WTO). A WTO ruling last year went against India for favouring local manufacturers under the ‘domestic content requirement’ programme, where the government had mandated that a certain portion of solar capacity addition would be reserved for domestically sourced modules.
According to renewable energy research agency Bridge to India, the country imported $3,197 million worth of solar photovoltaic cells in FY17, an increase of more than 36% annually. Out of this, 88% and 7% were imported from China and Malaysia respectively. The share of Chinese imports has doubled in five years. The government is also taking other measures to make India the ‘export hub’ for renewable energy equipment, Anand Kumar, secretary, ministry of new and renewable energy, said at the same event. The ministry is talking with EXIM bank to use Indian solar and wind equipment for all renewable energy projects funded by the bank around the globe. This would benefit domestic wind equipment makers such as Suzlon and Inox Wind and solar module manufacturers like Tata Power Solar, Vikram Solar, Waaree Energy and Adani Group’s Mundra Solar. The government is also planning to draft policy on solar-wind hybrid projects. The minister added that other renewable sources, such as off-shire wind and water-top solar installations, are also being explored for large scale implementation.