Ajay Prakash Shrivastava, President, Solar Energy Society of India
Why has manufacturing in India not picked up?
Promotion of manufacturing is of utmost importance, and GoI hasn´t done enough for the same in the solar sector. However, the main reason for slow pick up in domestic manufacturing is the continued large scale import of solar modules. Unless imports are restricted, domestic manufacturing will not speed up. Further, as there is no technical testing or check up of the imported modules, there is flood of low quality solar modules from neighboring countries. While GoI´s highly ambitious target is praiseworthy, our opinion is that they should have first fixed domestic manufacturing targets instead of installation targets, as the current scenario has given the advantage to importers, resulting in outflow of valuable foreign exchange.
Manufacturing targets would have benefitted the country through increase in GDP and employment at large scale.
Will manufacturing align with new solar announcements?
A few companies are taking advantage of the situation and not completely manufacturing their modules and panels in India. They import the parts and then only assemble them here. But, this is not a healthy trend. However, reputed manufacturers are still concentrating on 100 per cent manufacturing in India. It will take time for the domestic manufacturing to pick up and unless GoI takes effective steps to curb imports. Manufacturing should be strengthened, not only for solar modules, but also for solar cells and solar wafers, as manufacturers may otherwise not have sufficient capacity to produce modules.
Would large corporates make an impact?
Large corporates should step into the solar manufacturing sector as this will have advantage of increasing the GDP as well as generate employment opportunities.
How optimistic are you about future prospects?
The future of solar energy is as bright as sunshine. We are very optimistic about the growth of solar manufacturing and installation in the days to come. Fossil fuels are depleting and as such, natural sources of energy are the only option left for mankind. We feel that solar energy be the energy source to take up to a great extent and the sooner we do so, the better it will be for our coming generations.
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