Solar wafer provider 1366 Technologies is actively exploring manufacturing opportunities in India, seeking a local partner.
US-based 1366 Technologies, which is backed by Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Venture, confirmed to PV Tech that it intends to invest US$300 million to establish a 2GW wafer and cell manufacturing facility in India, CEO and founder Frank van Mierlo has said.
Reports first published in Livemint stated the successful partner will handle module manufacturing and the establishment of solar farms in India. 1366 is in talks with Indian firms but van Mierlo would not name them, citing non-disclosure agreements.
The partnership will operate under the Indian government’s production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme. “The Indian Government has made domestic solar manufacturing a priority and our technology is particularly well suited for the Indian market,” a 1366 spokesperson told PV Tech.
Under the PLI scheme, the government of India will support companies to open up new production facilities with US$600 million worth of investment, with the exact amount provided to each company linked to sales and module efficiency.
Meanwhile, India has 14.8% safeguard duty on imported modules and, in April next year, imported cells and modules will incur a 25% and 40% customs duty, respectively.
The India government has also sought to attract investment through PM Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ campaign, which was supposed to boost the country’s manufacturing and cut red tape, although results have been mixed with declining job figures and stagnant export numbers.
India’s installed renewable capacity of both solar and wind has doubled over the past five years, however, and is today at around 100GW.
“Direct Wafer manufacturing [the company’s proprietary wafering technology] can immediately deliver the lowest cost of electricity in a single junction device for India’s utility market and it underpins an economically-feasible, high efficiency, tandem product,” noted 1366’s spokesperson.
1366 is also being backed by North Bridge Venture Partners and Polaris Partners.