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US’ First Solar eyes 25% market share in Indian solar manufacturing

According to reports, amidst opposition from the domestic solar equipment sector over cheaper imported contents, US based First Solar is unperturbed. It is looking at 25% market share in the coming three years in the Indian solar equipment sector.

US’ largest solar photovoltaic manufacturer is expecting competition from equipment makers from China and EU, which are lining up for the emerging Indian solar market.

“Chinese solar panel manufacturers are a significant competition in India,” said First Solar CEO James Hughes. The company during the past 18 months has supplied 365 mw of solar panels to the solar power project developers in India, which is roughly 20% of the total market.

A group of domestic solar equipment manufacturers filed an anti-dumping case last year against 10 solar equipment manufacturers from four countries including US. They alleged that low-priced imported solar equipments are hurting their business.

“We don’t expect any adverse result to come out of the anti-dumping case. We are here to compete in the solar imports industry,” said Hughes.

He also said that the indigenous players could benefit only when the Indian solar market is developed with all kinds of players in the field.

The current capacity of domestic cell manufacturing is one gw while that of module is two gw. In the first phase of the National Solar Mission, 70% of the projects used imported solar panels.

First Solar supplied 200 mw of solar panels to project developers during the first phase. The company projects the cumulative installed capacity of solar power in India to go up to 10 gw by 2016.

The upcoming second phase (2013-2017) with a target of 750 mw is bifurcated into two parts- imported and domestic content-based projects; with latter expected to get a minuscule share. First Solar is hoping to see competition in the imported segment.

“Indian solar market has all the characteristics to attract investment. The economy of the country is growing; there is huge energy demand, deficiency in the power supply and a great dependence on imported fuel,” said Hughes.

First Solar is also eyeing the off-grid segment and is in talks with local players, financial institutions and the government to provide affordable solutions for energy access. “The country needs a reduction in affordable take away power. Off-grid solar solutions, captive generation market and rooftop solar solutions hold tremendous opportunity for us,” said Hughes.

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