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First Solar says India solar mission sourcing ‘self-destructive’

According to reports, a US-based photovoltaic cellmaker has termed the sourcing policy under India’s national solar mission as “self-destructive” and said it discourages competition.

Maja Wessels, First Solar’s executive VP, global public affairs, said prices of solar photovoltaic cells are not coming down due to lack of competition. “It makes more sense for India to open up for foreign manufacturers instead of protecting its own. The government needs to facilitate price reduction and competition.”

India plans to add 1,000 MW of solar power projects by 2013 and achieve 20,000 MW by 2022. Under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, all investors must compulsorily use domestic solar modules and buy 30% of their inputs from local manufacturers. India is facing stiff resistance to this local sourcing clause from the US and the EU.

“National solar mission is a visionary plan. It even brought down the prices of solar products but then it should also widen the market base in the country,” Wessels said, adding, “For a country where there is such a huge potential for solar generated power, such a policy does not make sense.” First Solar commissioned 200 MW projects in India last year, becoming the largest foreign seller of solar equipment in India in the thin-film category.

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