PV Technology Outlook India 2012 – PV Insider

Madhavan Nampoothiri was a member of the interviewee panel who contributed to the ‘PV Technology Outlook: India 2012’ guide produced in conjunction with the PV Manufacturing Summit India 2012.
C-Si in detail
“Almost every c-Si manufacturer in India lacks three major strengths that will make them competitive. They are:
a. Vertical Integration – Most Indian companies are either standalone module companies or standalone cell companies (eg. Jupiter, Indosolar, Euro Multivision). There a few companies that are into both cell and module production (eg. Tata BP Solar, Moser Baer, Websol). There is no Indian company that has a presence in the upstream wafer manufacturing or polysilicon production. Due to the lack of integration, these companies do not have the leverage to keep their costs down. Typically, a PV module produced in vertically integrated plant is $0.10-$ 0.15 cheaper than a PV module produced in standalone units of same scale.
b. Scale – The total module production capacity in India is about 1.5 GW and cell capacity is about 500 MW. In comparison, the top Chinese manufacturing companies like Suntech alone have more module and cell production capacity. Because of the scale, these big companies are able to reduce their unit costs significantly. In contrast, the biggest module manufacturers in India have a nameplate production capacity of less than 200 MW.
c. Governmental fi nancing and policy support – Chinese development banks and some of the provinces provide soft loans (as low as 2%) for fi nancing the production of the PV modules. These loans are also typically long term with repayment starting only after 4-5 years. This frees the manufacturers from any cash flow problem and they are able to offer modules at lower prices. In addition, many of the development banks offer fi nancing support for the sales of these modules, cells and upstream products. In India, no such support is available. All these factors above make it very diffi cult to compete
with bigger and well-funded Chinese companies.”
What needs to happen in the Indian manufacturing market to make PV a success?
“The Indian PV manufacturing sector is tightly linked to the global markets and like European and US manufacturers, Indian manufacturers are also victims of huge production overcapacities(mainly in China). I think one way to make PV a success will be to restrict imports. However, that is not a sustainable long term solution, particularly in an era of global free trade. The other way will be  address the industry challenges.”
How do you see the Indian PV market evolving in the next 5 years?
“It is very diffi cult to predict, but my guess is that there will be several module makers, but further upstream – cells, wafers, polysilicon, will not see much growth (already almost nil) unless there is a strong drive from the government through policy and regulatory support. Overall, my view is that Indian PV manufacturing industry is in a very dangerous situation of extinction and the government needs to step in with some innovative support in order to develop a PV manufacturing ecosystem in India. I wish I could be more positive on that front!!”
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