Saturday 15 September 2012

Author(s): Ankur Paliwal

Sunshine sector loses sheen

About 40 kilometres from Delhi, in the bustling real estate market of Noida-Greater Noida, lies the biggest irony that the renewable energy industry faces. Indosolar, the country’s largest manufacturer of solar photovoltaic cells, has set up a 400 megawatt unit. Its entrance is slick and ultra-modern, typifying the product it manufactures. Stepping into the 28,000 square metre production unit, one is struck by the shimmering clean, futuristic and sleek production line, symbolic of the clean future that solar power promises. Polysilicon wafers, the raw material, can be fed at the starting point. Solar cells, efficiently packed in boxes, can be collected at the end point. But none of this is happening. The production line stands still. One production line of Indosolar stopped making cells in January last year. The other was shut down a few months later in September. In fact, at present, 80 per cent of the country’s manufacturing capacity is shut. Herein lies the irony. Why is India’s largest solar cell maker not producing at a time when the country is in the midst of implementing its most ambitious and arguably the world’s quickest solar energy mission? The answer is simple, yet perplexing. “We have no orders,” says Rahul Gupta, who set up Indosolar in 2009. “We took the pains to get the most modern manufacturing units designed in Austria. Our in-house research and development increased the efficiency of our cells remarkably. As Rajasthan and Gujarat have gone into an overdrive and are installing hundreds of megawatts of solar energy, it should have been heydays for Indian manufacturers. Instead, there is bankruptcy, loan restructuring and pleas to the government for support against international competition,” he rues. The sunshine industry, literally and figuratively, has been allowed to fade away. There are loopholes in the existing policies. While foreign manufacturers dump their products at dirt cheap prices in the country, domestic manufacturers are finding it hard to compete. Kushal Pal Singh Yadav and Jonas Hamberg analyse what ails the country’s solar manufacturing industry and how it can be revived

Sunshine sector loses sheen

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  • To assume that there was

    To assume that there was abundant biomass in the country and could be used for commercial purpose was a messy policy to begin with. Good story Ankur.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 3 years ago | Reply
  • more people need more

    more people need more biomass. there is no way such a small country can support so many people. it can certainly support so many beggars and malnourished people. the population has to come down if people are to live properly. it was purely foolish to start such projects. if only they had assumed the misery they cause by taking fuel away from poor villagers.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 3 years ago | Reply
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