40 GW by 2022: opportunities & challenges for solar panel manufacturers


Solar energy is already booming in the country with the dramatic ambitious target of achieving 175 GW. In the solar sector, rooftop solar is playing an essential role in expediting towards the set target. To encourage the rooftop solar the government is taking diverse steps. Government has approved scaling up of budget of ` 5,000 crore to boost the rooftop solar in the country. On a very recent note, the government announced target of generating 40 GW by 2022 from rooftop solar. These steps have created a huge scope for the solar panel manufacturers. While addressing to the industry at a renewable energy session Union Minister for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy, Piyush Goyal informed that the policy to promote solar manufacturing is under preparation and the policy will focus on boosting manufacturing of solar panels. He also added that the domestic manufacturing in India would be economical than anywhere in the world. 

The ambitious target of achieving an installed rooftop solar capacity of 40 GW by 2022 has set the pace for unprecedented growth in this segment. As of now, India has an installed rooftop capacity of 550 MW, which will rapidly go up in the next two years with the central government setting a target of 1.5 GW by 2018. Once achieved, this target will create conducive business conditions for exponential growth in the following years. It is quite encouraging to find all the stakeholders ardently working towards it. The real difference will, however, come when the government gives a practical shape to bi-directional net metering, especially in the residential category.

Blessed with abundant sunlight, India offers immense scope for rooftop solar, which is evident from the fact that installing rooftop projects on government and new residential buildings will soon become mandatory across the country. The fact that, there is no need of land for these projects is an added advantage. The housing boom, in particular, offers a great advantage to rooftop solar developers. The central and state governments are promoting the rooftop segment in a big way. After setting state-wise tentative targets for installation of grid-connected solar rooftop systems, the centre has also decided to pump investments in this segment to the tune of ` 5,000 crore.

Krishnan Rajagopalan (Business Unit Head-Solar) Anchor Electricals Pvt Ltd observes rooftop solar to be very profitable but challenging at the same time. He shares insights stating, “It is a welcome initiative aimed at large scale energy conservation as rooftop solar is a challenging segment in India. It is easier to commission a solar project where ample space is available, however generating energy in a limited space particularly in commercial and industrial rooftop segments is a lucrative opportunity as well as a challenge.”Anchor’s proud parent eyes an opportunity here, being the manufacturer of world’s highest efficiency Solar PV Modules under the brand and patented technology HIT, that comprises of a combination of high purity, high efficiency mono crystalline wafer, sandwiched with ultra thin layers of amorphous silicon. This hybrid module is the best fit for the Indian environmental conditions as it offers more energy production per square meter of area utilised and lowest negative temperature coefficient. Supporting to this statement Rajagopalan advises, “While the industry predominantly relies on mono and polycrystalline modules, it is always advisable for a captive roof top solar project to go with HIT as it is the only module of its kind offering dual benefit of space saving and more energy per square meter. We have introduced this technology in the market in 2014 and eye a tremendous potential in the captive rooftop segment.”                                     

At present, Panasonic has 900 MW production capacity in the manufacturing locations in Japan and Malaysia and it has announced capacity expansion to 1 GW in lieu of its solar business expansion in the Indian Sub continent and GCC markets. It is a vertically integrated company right from research and development, silicon ingot, wafer, cells, modules and EPC services. With over 4 decades of experience in the solar business, it is one of the strong contenders that can be at the forefront of innovating the solar scenario in India.