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Solar Photovoltaic Modules Order UPSC NOTE

 What is the Approved Models and Manufacturers of Solar Photovoltaic Modules Order?

  • This order was first issued by the MNRE in 2019.

  • Requires makers of solar modules to voluntarily submit to an inspection of their manufacturing facilities by the National Institute of Solar Energy, a Ministry-affiliated body. 

  • Being on the list as an ‘approved’ manufacturing facility certifies a company as a legitimate manufacturer of solar panels and not a mere importer or assembler

  • This became necessary because India’s solar industry, its claim of indigenousness notwithstanding, is heavily reliant on imports of cheaper and comparable-quality solar modules from China.

  • Modules are multiple solar panels joined together. 

  • Solar panels are an assembly of solar cells.

  • Despite being among the top manufacturers in the world and a commitment to scale solar installation four-fold by 2030.

  • Local production of these cells and modules is much below demand

  • India also has limited capacity to make the raw material of a cell ingots, wafers and is dependent on imported cells.

Why is India reliant on imports?

  • The creation of such a list was also aimed at restricting imports from China.

  • Which controls nearly 80% of the global supply, with the downturn in diplomatic relations between the countries also being a factor

  • India has ambitious plans of sourcing about 500 GW, nearly half its requirement of electricity, from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030

  • This would mean at least 280 GW from solar power by that year or at least 40 GW of solar capacity being annually added until 2030

  • In the last five years, this has barely crossed 13 GW though the government has claimed that COVID-19 affected this trajectory

  • The difficulty is that meeting the targets require many more solar panels and component cells than India’s domestic industry can supply.

Is India’s manufacturing capacity adequate?

  • Last year was a fortunate year for Indians in the solar business. 

  • China which supplies over 80% of solar components globally.

  • Europe too scaled back imports from China and a beneficiary of this was India which exported nearly $1 billion worth of modules in six months of 2023-24. 

  • However, reports suggest that the U.S. might roll back duties on China and this could again mean uncertainty for the future of Indian exports

  • It is estimated that nearly half of India’s solar modules are imported from China and the demand-supply mismatch is expected to persist.

  • The government, however, has claimed that beginning this year, there will be a significant rise in manufacturing capacity. 

  • While the list of certified manufacturers on the AMM list has grown to 82 according to the MNRE.

  • There is yet no list of such manufacturers of solar cells, implying that India is still far away from achieving a comfortable degree of self-reliance.


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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Solar Photovoltaic Modules Order UPSC NOTE
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