New Delhi, India – The PV IndiaTech conference recently brought together all key domestic and overseas stakeholders, including government bodies, investors, and the leading companies today from manufacturing to O&M and asset management. As the country moves from 25GW to hundreds of gigawatts over the next decade, there is a growing requirement to ensure that a thriving, internationally-recognized sector develops inside the country.
“While India has been very successful in installing solar, doubling each year from 2014-2017, 90% of solar modules are imported mainly from China! It is ironic that one of the major reasons for deploying solar is to reduce India’s huge oil import bills, where 80 percent of oil consumed each year is imported,” commented Probir Ghosh, founder of Case-Bharat, adding, “As Solar becomes the key source of energy not only for providing electricity for all the traditional needs, it also will provide electricity for electric cars that India hopes to transition to, completely if not by 2030, definitely by 2040.”
To thrive globally as a major Photo Voltaic (PV) power beyond 2020, experts have agreed that India has to succeed in unlocking its potential both to manufacture and to lay claim to quality utility-scale solar farms that are providing high returns on investment to site owners.
Ghosh, an alumnus of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur and now settled in the US, was addressing a select audience at the PV INDIA TECH Conference, the inaugural Solar Photovoltaic technology and manufacturing focused event, organized by UK based Solar Media and PVTECH .
“With oil, India has multiple sources to import from; however, with solar China is the dominant single source for imports and creates a huge energy dependence and security risk,” noted Ghosh, explaining, “We are also looking at ways to get synergies from what India has expertise in (IT & Services) and utilizing it for grid integration with other sources of energy like wind and storage batteries.”
Sounding optimistic, Ghosh said,, “This, we believe, is a trillion dollar opportunity for India in this coming decade. The Case-Bharat team is putting in a tremendous effort to realize that opportunity. We can certainly use a lot of help from others in the industry.”
According to reliable sources, senior government officials in India approached Ghosh 18 months ago to work with IITB NCPRE (National Center for Photovoltaic Research & Education) team headed by Dr Juzer Vasi, to recommend a Roadmap for India to set up globally competitive solar manufacturing centers. They embarked on rigorous research and analysis and also identified subject matter experts (SMEs) in each area of the solar value chain to help come up with the roadmap.
The sources confided that the team’s plan is to hold a series of work sessions among key stakeholders to get buy in by bringing the best minds around the world together (many of Indian Origin) to develop a Roadmap for PV Manufacturing that fuels PV Deployment and Economic Growth for India.