High hopes from PLI scheme for solar manufacturing 

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The government is committed to investing INR 4500 crore in manufacturing high-efficiency solar PV modules under the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme, said prime minister Narendra Modi yesterday.

The prime minister was addressing a webinar for consultation towards effective implementation of Union Budget provisions in the power and renewable energy sector. 

The PLI scheme will incentivize domestic and foreign manufacturers to build gigawatt scale, vertically integrated manufacturing facilities in India. The government aims at achieving 10 GW capacity of integrated solar PV manufacturing plants in India within two years through the scheme. This is expected to drive a direct investment of around INR14,000 crore, presumably a figure which the department expects the program to attract from solar manufacturers. 

The scheme is likely to increase demand for locally produced materials like EVA sheets, solar glass, backsheets and junction boxes. “We want to see our companies become global manufacturing champions, not just to fulfil local demands” said the Prime Minister, as he hoped for a massive response to the scheme. 

The scheme was approved by the Cabinet in November last year.

“Large imports of solar PV panels pose risks in supply-chain resilience and have strategic security challenges considering the electronic (hackable) nature of the value chain. A focused PLI scheme for solar PV modules will incentivize domestic and global players to build large-scale solar PV capacity in India and help India leapfrog in capturing the global value chains for solar PV manufacturing,” according to government release.

Speaking at the webinar, the Prime Minister pointed out that renewable energy capacity has increased two-and-half times in the last six years. Solar energy capacity increased by 15 times. 

“This year’s Budget has shown unprecedented commitment towards investment in [renewable energy] infrastructure. This is evident in Mission Hydrogen, domestic manufacturing of solar cells, and massive capital infusion in the renewable Energy Sector,” he added.

Modi said, under the PM KUSUM scheme, farmers are becoming energy entrepreneurs. The goal is to create 30 GW solar capacity through small plants in the farmers’ fields. “Already, 4 GW solar capacity is installed through rooftop solar projects, 2.5 GW will be added soon. 40 GW solar power is aimed in the next one-and-a-half years through rooftop solar projects,” he added.

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