Chinese solar PV makers starting to focus on India

Date: 
January 26, 2012
India likes solar energy

China's hard-pressed solar photovoltaic suppliers may find market relief in India's fast growing solar power generation sector.

Two of China's leading PV players, China Sunergy and Hanwha SolarOne, have supplied a total of 25-MW of solar modules to a newly commissioned project in the Surendranagar district of Gujarat, India built for Visual Percept Solar Projects, a company backed by the family of Vallabh Bhanshali, one of India's best-known investment bankers. US-based Power-One Inc supplied the inverters for the project and the engineering and procurement contractor was the Sterling and Wilson Group.

Stephen Cai, China Sunergy's CEO said: "The Indian solar industry has huge potential and the country is keen to expand its alternative energy usage. We are very committed to this market.”

It's therefore good news for Sunergy et al that India's government says it has no objections to imports of low-priced Chinese solar cells as long as they meet prescribed quality standards, according to The Economic Times. The statement by Tarun Kapoor, joint secretary of the Ministry of New and Renewable energy comes as a further setback to the domestic manufacturers.

Earlier this month the Indian Government rejected a demand by domestic solar companies of an import duty on finished solar equipment. India's National Solar Mission gives preference to domestic manufacturers but this is only at the central level and states are not obliged to follow this policy.

The Surendranagar solar project is a first for Bhanshali who is reported by The Economic Times to have plans to invest INR 1,700 crore (USD34 million) to built 100-MW of solar generating capacity in India.

Vishal Kedia, a director of Visual Percept Solar Projects was quoted by the paper as saying: "When we decided to get into asset-based investment business, we found that renewable energy segment, particularly solar energy, provides good opportunity."

Under the National Solar Mission India aims to scale up its solar power generation capacity to 20-GW by 2020 from around 250-MW today.