Solar PV Manufacturing an Opportunity Discussed by MNRE, Niti AAYOG & Invest India

R.K. Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministries of Power and New and Renewable Energy, said, “India has the fastest-growing renewable energy capacity addition in the world and the power demand has been witnessing continuous growth."

Solar PV Manufacturing an Opportunity Discussed by MNRE, Niti AAYOG & Invest India

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NITI Aayog, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), and Invest India organized a symposium on solar PV manufacturing, “India PV Edge-2020”, on 6 October to inform the global PV industry of opportunities in India.

Addressing the ‘Plenary Session’, R.K. Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge), ministries of Power and New and Renewable Energy, said, “India has the fastest-growing renewable energy capacity addition in the world and the power demand has been witnessing continuous growth. Renewables are supplementing electricity supply to a significant extent. Under the leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India is committed to transition to clean energy. In addition to the vision of 450 GW installed renewables capacity by 2030, India has a plan not only for grid-connected solar and renewables, but also an ambitious vision for mobility, followed by electricity-based cooking. As a result of the government’s measures to achieve Aatmanirbhar Bharat, already EoIs for 20 GW of module and cell manufacturing have been issued. India will continue to be the fastest and largest-growing market for investment in renewables.”

Around 60 prominent Indian and global CEOs attended the event, along with a number of global PV manufacturers, developers, investors, think tanks and top policymakers. An investor’s roundtable was also organized after the pitching sessions to deliberate on ways to mobilize affordable capital into solar manufacturing.

The event discussed the potential of making India a global hub for solar PV manufacturing with breakthrough technologies and providing an ecosystem for setting up giga-scale factories by local and global firms.

The participating companies also had the opportunity to interact with Indian policymakers involved in developing manufacturing schemes.

India now has the third-largest solar installed capacity in the world. It is one of the few countries on track to meet its three key NDC targets – achieve 40% non-fossil-fuel-based installed power capacity, reduce 33%–35% emissions, and create a carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tons of carbon dioxide – by 2030. India is likely to achieve these goals much earlier.

Solar deployment has been the flagship green growth story of the last decade, and will be instrumental in building a climate-resilient world. Solar PV manufacturing is one of the strategic champion sectors announced by the government as part of Aatmanirbhar Bharat.

The symposium consisted of three sessions. India’s most prominent policymakers participated in the Plenary Session and highlighted the country’s strong impetus on renewable energy, the investment climate and India’s ambition and opportunities in solar manufacturing.

 “We are convinced that PV technology improvements will exceed general market expectations and will be the key anchor towards reducing solar deployment costs. India, with its huge market and relevant manufacturing advantages, can be a giga-scale manufacturing destination for cutting-edge PV technologies across the entire value chain. It is the perfect time under the current leadership to bring together global technology providers, equipment makers, and champion PV companies to present their technologies to Indian industry,” said NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant.

Ministry of New and Renewable Energy Secretary Indu Shekhar Chaturvedi said, “India’s installed renewables capacity has gone up by 2.5 times and installed solar capacity by 13 times in the last six years. We expect 30 GW of solar capacity to be added every year over the next few years. Boosting domestic manufacturing would be crucial to reduce our import dependence and the government is looking at implementing various supply and demand side interventions for manufacturing of solar cells, wafers and ingots. It is important to keep in view the critical role and changes in technology can possible play in making solar power firmer and cheaper.”

Invest India MD and CEO Deepak Bagla emphasized that special cells have been set up by the Government of India to handhold investors through their investment journey. He said, “At the end of FY19–20, India attracted an FDI of USD74 billion, the highest ever in the country’s history. This was when the global FDI was going down by 8% but India’s share of FDI went up by 18%. Today, there is an exponential global interest in investment in India. The key is the investor’s journey, which has been made easier over the last few years. One of the largest solar projects has been established in under eight months in India – the fastest anywhere in the world. This is a great example of a change in the policy framework, which has made the investor’s journey easier. Special cells have been set up in every ministry. One of the roles of these cells is to facilitate investments and remove roadblocks, if any. The second is to create ready, on-the-shelf projects. Third, is to create plug-and-play infrastructure facilities for investors.”

The second session included three parallel pitching sessions on wafer/cell manufacturing, module/production equipment and supply chain and Bill of Materials (BoM). Over 20 R&D companies and experts from across the world provided a snapshot of the future of solar manufacturing and presented their unique technologies to Indian stakeholders. The sessions even brought forward new indigenous technologies, which are patented by Indian companies. The pitching sessions highlighted that giga-scale solar manufacturing stands on three pillars: (i) disruptive PV chemistries; (ii) manufacturing by custom-engineered advanced production equipment; (iii) utilization of innovative BoM components such as special glasses and coatings.

NITI Aayog Additional Secretary Dr Rakesh Sarwal emphasized that, “India’s energy consumption is just one-third of the world’s average, which has enormous scope for expansion. Even at such low levels, 73% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions result from energy production, calling for aggressive electrification from cleaner fuels and greening of our economy.”

Ministry of New and Renewable Energy Joint Secretary Amitesh Kumar Sinha highlighted the ongoing measures India is taking in leading the world’s largest renewables expansion plan and mentioned that “to promote solar PV manufacturing, schemes such as production-linked incentives to scale cutting-edge solar PV tech-based new manufacturing units and interest subvention scheme to offset higher lending cost in India, are under active consideration by the government”. He also assured investors of all possible support from the ministry and emphasized the suitability and openness of Indian market for investment.

During the third session, ‘Investment Conclave’, officials from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh state governments shared their efforts to attract investments. The session highlighted what makes India’s solar manufacturing sector attractive to global institutional investors and included a high-profile panel discussion with executives from international finance corporations, major developers and Coal India Limited on how to catalyse investment momentum in breakthrough PV technologies.

India’s Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement in 2015 call for extraordinary vision, leadership, compassion, and wisdom to combat climate change. India PV Edge-2020 has served as a small step towards that ambition by bringing together cutting-edge R&D companies, RE developers, policymakers and investors under one platform and will go a long way in making India the giga-scale manufacturing destination for breakthrough PV technologies.

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