The Solar energy sector in India is witnessing unprecedented activities. With the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) of Government of India announcing the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM), the interest in the sector has gone up and new opportunities are presenting themselves for anyone wishing to enter this industry. The JNNSM guidelines stipulate that the entire grid connected Solar PV plants in India coming under the scheme will have to use Solar PV modules that are made in India and buy 30% of their inputs from within the country.
That translates to the solar module demand as follows.
Phase 1 (2010-2013): 500 MW
Phase 2 (2014-2017): 2000 MW
Phase 3(2018-2022): 7500 MW
In addition some of the state governments have their own Solar Policies. This is not considering the demand for off-grid applications like Solar lanterns, Solar street lighting and various other applications. However as per one report the total PV module supply from India is between 700 MW and 1000 MW. Even though the existing players are ramping up their capacities, there will be enough local demand for lot of capacity addition in this segment.
Some of the critical parameters on the ground with reference to PV projects are :
Crystalline panels are more common than the thin film panels
As per the last round of project bidding the price at which the power is purchased by the Govt from the Solar Projects is Rs 8.3 per unit (0.16 US$ per watt)
The average price of the panel is from Rs 35-45 per watt (0.65-0.85). Panels made in India are slightly expensive than the panels being imported.
The efficiency of the crystalline panels is in the range 14-20%
The Warranty requirements for the panels are for 25 years.
Cost of power generation through PV panels is around Rs 8 per unit (0.15 US$) , compared to Rs 4 per unit (0.075US$) for Coal Power Projects and the costs are fast converging. The present coal supply shortages in the country are likely to give boost to solar projects, given the shortages in power and the further rising energy demand in India.
There are quite a few Indian investors we have come across eying to get into this sector given the high growth potential. However they lack technical know-how, for manufacturing Solar panels. They are thus seeking Foreign Partners who have a strong technological edge, established brand name and price competitiveness (not necessarily all , but a good mix to give strong positioning in Indian market).
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