REI: India expecting 2.8 GW of new PV in 2014

For months now, the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) has been in a waiting loop thanks to the indecisive government stance in New Delhi on how the program should continue. The reasons behind this delay are, among other things, political controversies over the domestic content rules as well as possible further measures that could come in with regards to the import of cheap modules. Budget problems and the approaching national elections are also stalling things.

Industry insiders, such as the managing director of Premier Solar Systems, Chiranjeev Saluja, though, expects the delay to end soon. "I reckon that the Indian government will announce the rules of implementation of the second phase of the JNNSM by early November and the ruling Congress Party will emphasize the positive opportunities of PV development as part of their primaries," Saluja told pv magazine. The national elections are to be held in May 2014.

There have been no more bid invitations since February as a result of the lack of details with regards to the second phase of the JNNSM at the national level. Nevertheless, there are a number of Indian states that have been active in PV development. Gujarat is at the forefront and project tenders are continuing as normal in the state. A number of exhibitors at REI reported positive business this year.

"We have much better business prospects in 2013 compared to last year," said Giancarlo Chiapparoli, business development manager for India at Italian inverter manufacturer Bonfiglioli. He is banking on 400 MW of sales this year, with already more than 300 MW sold between January and June. The manufacturer also looks to start a manufacturing plant in India in November.

Kalyanram Udathu of Enerparc Energy, the Indian subsidiary of Hamburg-based Enerparc, also reported positive business prospects, including 5 MW of grid-connected projects in different states that are in the pipeline.

Yogesh Dabhade D., CEO of Belectric Photovoltaic India, is skeptical though. "Due to the high cost pressure, reinforced by the massive devaluation of the Indian rupee, all our projects in India are currently on hold," he told pv magazine.

Premier Solar Systems’ Chiranjeev Saluja gave a mixed outlook. Like most other module manufacturers, the Secunderabad-headquartered company is also currently manufacturing at a lower capacity due to the increasing import of cheaper modules from China and Taiwan and is therefore building its EPC business and involving itself in several major projects in various states, Saluja stated. Projects related to self-consumption are also included in these plans, such as the 50 kW carport installation at Hyundai’s Indian center.

Further support comes from the increasing international business in Southeast Asia, the U.S. and Europe. "We have seen an increase in demand from Europe in the last few weeks," Saluja added, with reference to the minimum import prices now in place for Chinese modules. Hence the company is making an effort to position itself in the module market segment with a net price below €0.56 in Europe. Saluja also mentioned the opening of a new European office in Munich in the near future.

Tata Power is likewise "increasing module export to Europe and the U.S.," said Vineet Arya, head of marketing communications at the company. Tata has also been sucessful in the domestic market with its cell and module manufacturing facility "running at full capacity."

Moser-Baer is currently geared towards the Japanese market. Around 80% of its modules have been sold at a higher price in Japan compared to the price in the home market, hence gaining on the rupee depreciation.

There is, therefore, light at the end of the tunnel as well as a fair bit of shadow cast over the Indian PV market as this year’s REI showed. According to figures released by REI organizers, around 11,000 visitors and nearly 500 exhibitors attended the trade show, an approximate 10% increase compared to last year. The event is certain to grow in the coming year as analysts like Jasmeet Khurana from Bridge to India point out that business is growing: "We expect at least a 2.8 GW development in the coming year in India," Khurana told pv magazine. This year an addition of around 1 GW is awaited.

Translated and edited by Shamsiah Ali-Oettinger