India has a strong manufacturing base for wind equipment, but when it comes to solar, we import 85-87 per cent of our requirement from China and other countries. COVID-19 has given us a lesson that we must ensure energy security for our country
Mumbai: As Indian solar industry is heavily dependent on Chinese imports and COVID-19 outbreak has severely impacted installations, it is necessary to focus on improving domestic manufacturing, a senior government official has said.As much as 80 per cent of the demand for solar cells and modules are being met by imports from Chinese companies.
Therefore, the imposition of work restrictions by China in eight affected provinces, most of which are the hub of solar module manufacturers, have impacted Indian solar industry as developers are facing a shortfall of raw materials, which is going to affect the installations in the first half of the year.
He said there is a need to facilitate manufacturing of not just modules or cells but there was a need to develop ancillary equipment as well.
“Till now we have been manufacturing cells, modules, ingots and wafer. But now we need to go beyond that and also start manufacturing other ancillary equipment like backsheets, glass, inverters, transformers and cables among others so that we can cater to an entire ecosystem of renewable energy through the make in India initiative,” Kumar added.
To encourage solar-related manufacturing in the country, the government had come up with manufacturing-linked solar bids, which received a good response, he said.
“Now, we plan to bring out new scheme which would further advance and aid manufacturing in India. We have sought suggestions from stakeholder and we have also written to state governments and ports to provide land for setting up the such manufacturer sites,” the secretary said.
Apart from manufacturing for domestic consumption, the government is also actively considering exports of its products as well as services.
“India being a large country with huge technical manpower available, I am sure we can have manufacturing hubs that will not just be able to meet domestic but also export our equipment to other countries to meet their demand. Similarly, since we have rich experience in the sector, we can leverage it and export services at global competitive level,” he added.
Kumar further said that the ministry has written to the commerce secretary to allow MNRE to set up an export hub in Gift City in Gandhinagar Gujarat for the renewable energy sector.
India has set a target of 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022 and 450 MW by 2030.