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A US-based company 1366 Technologies plans to invest $ 300 million to build a 2-gigawatt (GW) solar wafer and cell facility in India under the government's production-linked incentive system (PLI), said CEO and founder Frank van Mierlo.
The company is in talks with an Indian partner who will take over module production in the production chain and use the equipment to build solar parks in India.
In a telephone interview, van Mierlo declined to name the Indian companies he is talking to and referred to nondisclosure agreements.
“Capital markets are very technology friendly,” said van Mierlo. “In two years, the only solar panels sold in India will have to be domestically manufactured, and everyone understands that. Module manufacturing will be the most profitable part of this supply chain and a lot of people are interested because of these underlying market dynamics. “
Currently India has a domestic production capacity of only 3 GW for solar cells and 15 GW for solar modules.
“Our technology, perfected over the past 10 years, can deliver 50% cost savings,” added Abhijeet Birewar, 1366 Technologies representative in India.
The Rs 4,500 billion PLI program is part of the domestic content needs strategy and is designed to help India increase 10 GW of integrated photovoltaic (PV) production capacity through direct investments of around Rs 17,200 billion. The state-owned Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd. has put out offers for the construction of solar systems as part of the PLI program.
“The obligation to clean up the power supply is clear. It is clear that the government has decided that India will play a role in the global energy transition and has developed a very thoughtful approach to support and develop domestic solar production, ”said van Mierlo.
The domestic solar equipment manufacturing plan has picked up momentum as 15 companies consider total investments of around $ 3 billion to build solar equipment manufacturing facilities here, as previously reported by Mint.
“Given the combination of factors like domestic content requirement, ALMM (Approved List of Modules and Manufacturers), customs duties and PLI, India is a pretty good choice for a clean energy transition anywhere in the world,” said van Mierlo.
While Chinese solar module manufacturers have raised prices by more than a fifth since December, India has decided to put a 40% basic tariff on solar modules and 25% on solar cells from April 1, 2022, focusing on a single country. It's not an ideal situation, ”added van Mierlo.