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Sunshine sector loses sheen

By Kushal Pal Singh and Jonas Hamberg

, by Down to earth

About 40 kilometres from Delhi, in the bustling real estate market of Noida-Greater Noida, lies the biggest irony that the renewable energy industry faces. Indosolar, the country’s largest manufacturer of solar photovoltaic cells, has set up a 400 megawatt unit. [...]

Polysilicon wafers, the raw material, can be fed at the starting point. Solar cells, efficiently packed in boxes, can be collected at the end point. But none of this is happening. The production line stands still. One production line of Indosolar stopped making cells in January last year. The other was shut down a few months later in September. In fact, at present, 80 per cent of the country’s manufacturing capacity is shut.

Herein lies the irony. Why is India’s largest solar cell maker not producing at a time when the country is in the midst of implementing its most ambitious and arguably the world’s quickest solar energy mission? [...]

The sunshine industry, literally and figuratively, has been allowed to fade away. There are loopholes in the existing policies. While foreign manufacturers dump their products at dirt cheap prices in the country, domestic manufacturers are finding it hard to compete.

Kushal Pal Singh Yadav and Jonas Hamberg analyse what ails the country’s solar manufacturing industry and how it can be revived.

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