At a time when India and the US are sparring over the former’s policy on use of domestically manufactured solar power modules, a US-based module manufacturer has achieved a landmark achievement.
First Solar has announced that its cumulative solar power module shipment to India has crossed 1 GW and it has become the first thin-film solar panel manufacturer to achieve this feat. The achievement no mean feat when one considers the domination of Chinese manufacturers in the Indian market.
In FY2013-14, of all the solar power modules imported into India 65% were from Chinese manufacturers. This figure increased to 70% in the subsequent financial year. Foreign companies have benefitted from Indian government’s policy not to impose anti-dumping duties on imported solar power modules.
First Solar has been active in the India market since the inception of the National Solar Mission. It is also believed to have supplied modules to several projects in the Charanka solar power park in Gujarat which predates the launch of National Solar Mission.
The company claims that its modules delivers additional 5-9% energy yield compared to polycrystalline modules. The company has also benefitted from the financial contracts of project developers with US financial institutions, especially the US Export-Import Bank.
First Solar had pledged, in February 2015, to install 5 GW solar power capacity in India over a period of 5 years. Last year, the company participated in several competitive auctions and secured some projects in the southern states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The company now owns a pipeline of 200 MW capacity across various states in the country.