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India Looks To Make Solar Modules Locally

India plans to introduce new rules requiring domestic manufacturers to make solar cells and other key components in the solar module supply chain, India’s Minister of Power and New & Renewable Energy, Raj Kumar Singh, said on Friday.

The new rules could be introduced in a couple of years, the minister said at an event, as quoted by Bloomberg.

Initially, India considers making domestic manufacturing of solar cells mandatory, and at a later stage, companies will have to have fully integrated manufacturing capabilities, from polysilicon to modules manufacturing, according to the minister.

As of the end of June this year, India had exceeded 70 gigawatts (GW) in solar power generation installed.

“The country has an estimated solar power potential of 748,990 MW. Hence, the potential of solar energy is not fully tapped, so far. The Government is making efforts to harness the available potential through various schemes and programs,” Singh was quoted as writing in a reply to Parliament in August.

As China’s solar exports increased by 34% in the first half of 2023 compared to the same period last year, India was the only country to see a large fall in imports from China, energy think tank Ember said in a report earlier this year.

Module exports to India declined by 76% year-on-year, down from 9.8 GW in the first half of 2022 to 2.3 GW in the same period this year, according to Ember. The slump in India’s imports of solar modules from China followed the imposition of tariffs as India looks to move away from imports to focus on building domestic manufacturing capacity, Sam Hawkins, Data lead at Ember, wrote.

Large Indian companies have recently created new energy divisions to capitalize on the clean energy manufacturing market. For example, India’s oil-to-telecoms conglomerate Reliance Industries said in early 2022 it would invest as much as $76 billion in green energy projects in India over the next 15 years. Reliance had already announced the year prior a commitment to invest more than $10 billion in three years in a new business unit that would build solar modules, battery storage, electrolyzer, and fuel cell factories.

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By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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