Apr 2022

Quality Material Sourcing for Indian PV Module Manufacturing

Indian PV module manufacturing landscape

India has made significant improvements in its PV module manufacturing sector in the recent years. However, the country needs some herculean measures to achieve the target of 300 GW of solar installations by 2030, which boils down to an average of 30 GW/year. 

India has a manufacturing capacity of 18 GW modules and 4.3 GW cells. However, these are nameplates capacities and the Capacity Utilization Factor (CUF) of these factories are currently around 50%. Also, the current manufacturing setup is comprised of 50-60% multi-Si technology that is on the verge of extinction. With no capabilities in manufacturing silica, ingots and wafer, India is highly dependent on imports for sourcing raw materials (90% imports are from China). 

The Indian government has been at the forefront for supporting the Indian module manufacturing industry. With implementation of Basic Customs Duty (BCD) of 40% on imported modules and 25% on imported cells, clubbed with the Approved List of Models and Manufacturers (ALMM) scheme, the government is clearly trying to discourage imports. Additionally, the government’s Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme, has garnered a huge interest amongst stakeholders (existing and new) to focus on integrated manufacturing and producing high efficiency modules. 

Sourcing solar cells from China – What do you need to know?

We may see that in the near future India’s domestic PV module manufacturing will ramp up significantly, but its dependence on the modules’ raw materials imported from China, for instance, cells, will not change very soon.

To those module manufacturers seeking high-quality monocrystalline cells in China to feed their lines, quality assurance for solar cell procurement is highly recommended, including factory audit and supplier assessment & qualification before production, production record check during manufacturing, and pre-shipment inspection before delivery to the destination.

Supplier assessment scores are most actionable if the audits are performed before contractual engagement with a manufacturer. Thorough supply chain audit is also a very common request today. During manufacturing, an accredited inspection body is well advised to be positioned at every corner a manufacturer may be tempted to cut.

Solar cell pre-shipment inspection at a Chinese factory

In the current seller’s market, potential pitfalls in your purchasing agreement may exist in a relatively frequent way, such as quality control plan details. Seeking professional technical support from an accredited inspection body can be a good choice to help you evaluate, clarify, and decide on the variations requested by the component manufacturers.