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Backward Integration Vital to Build Manufacturing Capacity in Indian Solar Sector

Supply chain constraints and the consequent increase in solar cell and module prices could continue to plague the solar industry in India for the next three to four quarters.

At a session “The Black Swan: Supply Chain and How to Mitigate Market Surprises” on Day Two of the Mercom India Solar Summit 2021, panelists discussed at length on the challenges faced by the Indian solar industry post the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Harshvardhan Govil, Chief Operating Officer, Adani Solar, Pradeep Kumar, Director of Business, LONGi Solar, Sandeep Shivhare, Senior Manager, Adani Ports, and Bimal Jindal, Director SCM, SB Energy, participated in the discussion. Priya Sanjay, Managing Director, Mercom India, moderated the panel.

The panelists felt that India has no option but to go in for backward integration and build capacity to manufacture the whole spectrum of components ranging from solar cells and modules to wafers and ingots domestically. This, they said, is necessary to mitigate the risks arising from Black Swan events like the Covid-19 pandemic, which has led to supply chain and logistics challenges.

The focus should not be restricted to cells and modules but on the entire component mix. Instead, a holistic view of all the elements of the manufacturing sector should be taken, they added.

Govil of Adani Solar said that self-sufficiency is key, even if the manufacturing of wafers and ingots is capital-intensive. “Such projects can be set up in public-private partnership mode,” he said.

Adani had already set up a facility to manufacture EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) and backsheet. The company was also expanding cell and module manufacturing capacity by three times, he said.

Replying to a question whether LONGi had any plans to set up a manufacturing facility in India, Pradeep Kumar said that his company was keen to do so. “The environment has to be right … we have to tie up with raw material suppliers like EVA, backsheet, glass, among others. We need partners also to set up shop in India.”


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