The Indian Solar Manufacturers’ Association, which represents 25 domestic solar manufacturers, has refuted the contention of National Solar Energy Federation of India that the current domestic cell manufacturing capacity is inadequate to support implementation of the projects selected by the Solar Energy Corporation of India for allocation of 375 MW capacity in the Domestic Content Requirement category under batch I of the second phase of Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission.

In March this year, the NSEFI, an umbrella organization of solar manufacturers, solar developers (photovoltaic and thermal), EPC contractors, financial institutions, consultants and other stakeholders, wrote to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy proposing that the timeline for implementation in case of projects selected in the DCR category be extended to 24 months from the current 13 months after signing of the Power Purchase Agreement on the ground that the actual domestic cell manufacturing capacity available for the current batch of JNNSM projects was far less than the capacity claimed by domestic cell manufacturers. The letter claimed a majority of the cell manufacturers at present had zero production and that it would take another two – three months or more to commence production. Expressing concern over the uncertainty with regard to consistency even after production commenced given the current financial state of the cell manufacturers, it said lenders were reluctant to support DCR category projects due to perceived quality issues. The letter also alleged cartelization by some large domestic cell manufacturers and said cell prices had been increased by 6 – 8 cents/Wp within few days of award announcement.

At a press briefing that was organized recently in New Delhi to highlight certain concerns of the domestic solar manufacturing industry, ISMA said there was enough cell and module manufacturing capacity available in the country to satisfactorily meet the demands of developers.

“We believe there is no case for extension of the project completion timeline, as long as orders for cells and modules are placed in a timely manner,” the solar manufacturers’ representative body said.

Indosolar Managing Director H.R. Gupta, while speaking at the briefing, said the NSEFI was a mouthpiece for independent solar power producers.

Countering the issue raised by NSEFI with regard to production, ISMA said many of the cell manufacturers had active cell manufacturing capacity that was in production. The significant capacity that remained available on standby awaiting orders could be ramped up within weeks, it added.

“Delay of the ordering by developers is putting the entire program in jeopardy. Each day of delay in placing orders causes available cell capacity to be lost,” ISMA said.

On the issue of quality, the solar manufacturers’ representative body said that most Indian manufacturers had installed European/Japanese manufacturing equipment with proven history of performance.

“We propose any lender with concerns inspect our facilities and the Bill of Materials used for the manufacturing of solar cells and modules. This would help us prove that our quality standards are at par or superior than most of our Chinese counterparts. We have been supplying our cells and modules to all major countries in Europe and Japan and have never been grappled by quality concern from our customers,” it said.

ISMA denied the allegation of cartelization and said its members were open to a fact-based review by the MNRE and SECI.


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