Tata Power Solar Systems on Wednesday put on stream additional module and cell manufacturing capacity, taking the total capacity to 1,100 megawatts (MW), from 700 MW that existed earlier. The company said it expected the demand to increase “due to supportive policy steps” taken by the government.
The announcement was made on a day when the Union Cabinet approved the Rs 4,500 crore production-linked incentive scheme for solar manufacturing to reduce import dependency. The company has increased the cell manufacturing capacity from 300 MW to 530 MW and panel making capacity to 580 MW from 400 MW.
“Our 31 years of strong experience in providing high-quality solar products with continuous involvement in new technology has helped us to maintain a leadership position in both solar manufacturing and EPC services,” Praveer Sinha, CEO and MD of Tata Power said.
The domestic solar manufacturers are enthused by the market visibility offered through various central government solar schemes with the mandatory domestic content requirement. The existing Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSU) scheme aims to set up 12,000 MW of solar capacity using domestic ingredient by government companies by FY23.
Tata Power Solar has also installed over 33,000 pumps across the country to date and it also stands to gain from the government’s Kusum scheme, which aims to install 20 lakh standalone solar pumps and solarise another 15-lakh existing agricultural pumps.
About 50% of the country’s solar manufacturing capacity currently remain unutilised as developers have preferred to import cheaper equipment, mostly from China, to build solar plants. However, overall solar imports in the first ten months of FY21 have fallen to $393 million from $1.6 billion in the same period a year ago as solar capacity addition fell 44% to 4.7 GW and module prices fell by about 20%.
To boost domestic manufacturing, the Centre had imposed a 25% safeguard duty on solar imports from China and Malaysia in July 2018 for two years, which was extended to July 2021, at a rate of 15%. From the beginning of FY23, solar module imports will attract a basic customs duty of 40%.