First Solar PV module performance in India higher than predicted – Sujoy Ghosh, First Solar

In an interview with Intersolar India, Sujoy Ghosh, Country Head, India, First Solar has shared that First Solar PV modules have been performing beyond expectations and that the CdTe thin film technology of First Solar has proved to provide more energy yield in Indian conditions as compared to polycrystalline technology. He attributes the higher yield to the CdTe technlogy’s superior technology coefficient and better response to diffused light. He also highlighted the fact that the performance comparisons done for PV plants in Gujarat by Bloomberg New Energy Finance and RESolve Energy Consultants(click here for our whitepaper on the comparison of Solar PV plants in Gujarat) substantiates the higher yield of First Solar PV modules.
In this interview, Sujoy addresses questions about the perception of the access to low cost financing as a success factor for First Solar in India, the firm’s views on the Domestic Content Requirement in the JNNSM Phase 2, Batch 1 RfS, First Solar’s plans for solar PV clusters near industrial areas, Private PPAs, First Solar’s plans for manufacturing in India and his outlook for the Indian solar industry. The interview can be read here. Some excerpts are given below.

Q : First Solar has a market share of around 20% of the 2 GW PV installed capacity in India. What are the major factors that led to the success of First Solar in India?

A : First Solar’s CdTe thin film technology is proven to operate most efficiently under hot climatic conditions and in diffused sunlight, as compared to other Solar PV technologies. If you look at India and especially the areas like West and Central/South India where ground mount, grid connected solar PV are being deployed, these two factors will play a role in technology selection. The superior temperature co-efficient and better response to diffused sunlight results in higher energy yield (lower cost of energy) which has been substantiated by the recent reports from Bloomberg New Energy Finance and RESolve Energy Consultants on the field performance of PV modules in Gujarat and Rajasthan which were installed under the NSM- Phase 1 and the Gujarat State Mission. First Solar’s technology is highly bankable which translates into financial institutions making capital available with a lower risk profile to developers who build plants with our technology and bankable technologies help lower costs of energy, in markets like India that have constraints on access and pricing of capital relative to more mature markets.

Q : First Solar modules have been operational in plants across the country for about 2 years now. What are the key learnings about the solar plant performance under Indian conditions? How does the performance compare to plants in other parts of the world, especially in similar hot and humid conditions?

A : The feedback received from our customers is that the performance of our modules in India is higher than what they predicted. As part of the NSM-Phase 1 Batch 2, the PR Fonroche 23MW project at Gajner, Rajasthan which used FS CdTe Thin Film technology is the highest performing PV plant till date. The results from our installations in Gujarat are also similar and demonstrate that our CdTe Thin Film technology provides more energy yield in Indian climatic conditions as compared to Poly Crystalline Silicon technology due to our superior temperature co-efficient and better response under diffused sunlight. ______________________________________________________________________________________________
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