PV module production in India could hit 6 GW by 2015

Specifically, it believes that due to falling raw material costs, expected to be triggered by the development of a "healthy" domestic supply chain, module production will grow from 1.3 GW in 2011, to six GW in 2020. Meanwhile, cell production is forecast to increase to four GW, from 700 megawatts (MW) in the same period.

Ingots and wafers, which were not manufactured in India until 2010, will grow to represent capacities of four GW in 2020, up from just 17 MW this year, according to the research company.

It goes on to cite companies like Lanco Solar and Birla Surya, which are in the process of establishing complete integrated module manufacturing facilities up to 600 MW in size. "Various smaller and new business entities such as Alfa Solar, JBM Group, Chemtrols Solar, Vorks Energy and Sonali Energies as new entrants in the PV industry are also planning to build new facilities for production of modules," it adds.

Moreover, in the next five years, already-established players like Tata BP, EMMVEE, Moser Baer and XL Energy, will also reportedly expand their existing production capacities by over one GW, thus serving to boost the domestic market.

Domestic content requirement

Under the first batch of projects of the National Solar Mission (NSM), crystalline photovoltaic modules must be manufactured in India. Meanwhile, in the second phase, only those crystalline modules which contain solar cells manufactured in India will be permitted. Thin film cells and modules are, at this time, exempt from the domestic content requirements.

This is beginning to cause some controversy in the industry, as was reported yesterday by Bloomberg in its report on the U.S.-China trade case moving to India.

As was also highlighted yesterday, many of India’s states have their own solar policies. Under those in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Karnataka, there is no domestic content requirement. "Other states such as Tamil Nadu, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh are also expected to not mandate domestic content in projects," writes Bridge to India.

It adds that, based on the current supply contracts signed, over one gigawatt (GW) of modules will be imported into India by the end of 2012. "More than 60 percent of these will be for thin film modules, all from foreign manufacturers," says the research company.

Currently, there is 90 megawatts of installed solar capacity in India. Of this, it says that 77 megawatts (MW) comprise thin film photovoltaic modules.

The top crystalline silicon module supplier to the Indian solar market is Suntech, at 200 MW. It is followed by Sharp Corp. at 25 MW, Proinso and Trina, both at 20 MW, Suniva at 15 MW, Sunergy at 10 MW, SunPower at six MW and SolarWorld at five MW.

In terms of thin film module suppliers, First Solar is the clear leader, having signed contracts worth 200 MW. The second biggest supplier is Sungen, at 36 MW, followed by Schott Solar and T-Solar, both at 35 MW. NexPower and Solar Frontier come in fifth place at 30 MW each, followed by Abound (25 MW), DuPont Apollo and Sulfur Cell, both at 20 MW, Proinso (13 MW) and Canadian Solar (10 MW).