The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM), a major driving force for the growth of the solar industry, has helped India increase its capacity from a meagre 18 MW in 2010 to 4 GW in 2015. Moreover, the new government announced a revised 100 GW target by 2022, a big jump from an earlier 20 GW. To achieve this, India needs to maintain a cumulative annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 50 percent in annual installations.
These targets provide a great opportunity for the Indian solar photovoltaic (PV) industry to evolve as a global leader in manufacturing. Based on current prices, we estimate that the crystalline Silicon (c-Si) PV technology will contribute around 85-90 GW of the 100 GW target. In 2014, 35 GW of c-Si PV was installed globally, with China’s share being 9 GW. To manufacture 85 GW of c-Si PV cells, an estimated production of 450,000 tonnes of polysilicon will be required in the next seven years, with the current global production about 300,000 tonnes per year.
If India is to achieve its targets, a huge demand can be foreseen for c-Si PV panels and consequently for polysilicon in the next few years. China, a global leader in polysilicon manufacturing, itself imports polysilicon to meet its demand. This creates a major challenge in diverting a large share of the global production to India, therefore increasing module prices.