India planning more than five-fold increase in funding for PLI solar manufacturing scheme

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India’s solar module manufacturing capacity is currently at 8.8GW. Image: Premier Energies.

India’s government is set to scale up funding for its production-linked incentive (PLI) programme for solar manufacturing as it eyes exports of PV equipment.

While the scheme was originally designed to allocate INR 45 billion (US$604 million) over five years to back the domestic development of high-efficiency PV modules, this will be increased to INR 240 billion (US$3.22 billion), said India’s minister of new and renewable energy, RK Singh.

A petition to sanction additional funds for the programme has been approved in principle by the government, Singh told news agency PTI, adding: “We would be exporting solar equipment.”

The minister also revealed that India’s solar module manufacturing capacity is currently 8.8GW, while cell manufacturing capacity is 2.5GW.

Approved last year, the PLI scheme will allocate funding over five years to support the domestic development of modules as the government aims to reduce reliance on imports. Singh said the programme received bids for 54.5GW of solar manufacturing capacity.

The Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) last week revealed that Jindal India Solar Energy, Shirdi Sai Electricals and Reliance New Energy Solar have been selected as the beneficiaries of funding under the PLI, with each submitting bids for 4GW of manufacturing capacity.

The programme will see transformer manufacturer Shirdi Sai Electricals receive INR 18.75 billion (US$252 million), Jindal India Solar Energy INR 13.9 billion and Reliance New Energy Solar INR 11.9 billion over five years

A subsidiary of Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries, Reliance New Energy Solar last month acquired module manufacturer REC Group and a 40% stake in EPC and O&M solutions provider Sterling and Wilson before investing in German wafer technology company NexWafe, which is aiming to establish giga-scale wafer manufacturing facilities in India.

Other recent solar manufacturing announcements in India include Emmvee signing a deal to set up a 3GW cell and module production plant in the state of Karnataka, while Premier Energies received funding to add an additional 2GW of manufacturing capacity for both cells and modules based on mono PERC technology. 

Speaking at a conference earlier in the year, Singh said it was “unhealthy” for manufacturing to be concentrated in just one country and that other production bases were needed “so that there is no disruption in the world supply chain”.

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