Vikram Solar to set up 3 GW solar module production line in TN

Encouraged by the Indian government’s new approach in localisation of solar cell production and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal to the industry to push for self-reliance, local solar module maker Vikram Solar has announced plans for a new solar cell and module manufacturing facility.

Vikram Solar plans to set up a 3-gigawatt solar manufacturing facility in Tamil Nadu, which will produce wafers, cells, and modules and is expected to be operational in five years. The company has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the government of Tamil Nadu towards this. 
The development of the manufacturing facility would entail an investment of about $727.4 million by the company. It expects to create 7,542 jobs across the country.
The fact that the decision to set up a manufacturing facility in India comes at a time when solar module exporters globally are reducing or shutting production capacity for want of export orders, speaks of the direct impact of the government’s vision for AtmaNirbhar Bharat.
India, which has been flooded by cheap solar module imports from China and neighbouring countries, aims to make itself self reliant by reducing imports of Chinese equipment as part of its plan to revive the economy from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
To protect the interest of domestic manufacturers and to reduce dependence on imports, the Director General of Trade Remedies has proposed an extension of the safeguard duties on imported solar cells by one more year. The directorate has recommended a 14.9 per cent duty for the first six months from 30 July this year, and 14.5 per cent for the next six months.
A similar announcement was made by ReNew Power as well last week to set up 2 GW manufacturing facility for cells and modules by investing Rs20,000 crore. 
India currently has a manufacturing capacity of 11 gigawatts of solar modules and 3.1 gigawatts of solar cells. Out of the country’s annual demand of 10 gigawatts of solar equipment, 85 per cent is imported.
The moves by Indian companies come at a time when elsewhere, in Taiwan, United Renewable Energy (URE) announced plans to sell one of its manufacturing units in the country to consolidate production efforts.
It said that its board of directors approved the disposal of the Jhunan Kebei manufacturing facility for NT$1.04 billion (~$35.3 million) to Taiwan Mask Corporation, a manufacturer of masks for semiconductor production processes.
The company noted that it would continue to manufacture solar cells and modules in its other production sites in Taiwan and adjust production based on market demand.