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Evergreen Solar’s Rs 300 million solar manufacturing investment in peril

According to reports, just as Evergreen Solar completed its Rs 30-crore investment programme to create a 40-MW polycrystalline module plant in Coimbatore, all hell broke loose. On the one hand, cheap imports from China swamped the nascent solar market as the Chinese began liquidating their inventory, and on the other, the exemption of thin film modules from local content requirements under the National Solar Mission, drove developers to importing the products. “We worked hard for two-and-a-half years,” says Mr G.D. Gopalakrishnan, promoter-Managing Director of Evergreen Solar, “but today we have no business.”

But Mr Gopalakrishnan says that he is committed to ‘green’ and will not give up hope.

Evergreen’s parent company, Sulochana Spinning Mills, which has a 100,000-spindle plant near Coimbatore, is a major buyer of used PET bottles; it buys 10 lakh bottles a day. It recycles them into polyester fibre then produces a cotton-polyester yarn for textiles.

The Indian solar modules manufacturing industry abounds with examples such as Evergreen Solar. Tata BP Solar, for instance, is ready with a 96-MW plant, but can’t commission it because of the dry order book. Concerned about this, the Indian Solar Manufacturers Association held a meeting last week with the Minister for New and Renewable Energy, and is hoping that something good will come out of it.

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