With an eye on the rapidly expanding Indian solar power market, the public sector company Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has expanded its current solar module and cell manufacturing facilities.
According to a press release issued by the company, it expanded a 26 megawatts solar module manufacturing facility to a capacity of 200 megawatts. The company also commissioned a solar cell manufacturing assembly line with capacity of 105 megawatts. Both the facilities are located in the southern state of Karnataka.
Encouraged by the enormous capacity target of 100 gigawatts by March 2022 and sharp fall in raw material costs, several Indian companies have announced plans to set up new and expand existing facilities for solar module and cell production.
BHEL is expected to supply solar modules to project developers that secured solar power projects mandated to use Indian-made modules.
According to the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy, as on 30 June 2016, India had 20 companies actively involved in solar cell production. As many as 94 companies are manufacturing solar PV modules in the country.
Solar cell manufacturing capacity in India has increased from 1,216 MW in June 2014 to 1,468 MW in June 2016. Capacity utilisation in June 2014 was a measly 20% which has increased to 76.5% in June 2016.
Growth in the solar PV module manufacturing capacity has been much greater than that in the solar cell manufacturing sector. From an installed capacity base of 2,348 MW in June 2014, the module manufacturing capacity has increased by nearly three times to 6,848 MW. The capacity utilisation has also increased from 28% to around 74%.
The Indian government is looking to further enhance the domestic solar cell and manufacturing sector. The government is planning financial support package of $3.1 billion to solar power equipment manufacturing sector. The support, possibly in the form capital cost support, could be offered on per MW basis.