India to Become Anchor of Global Solar Demand

Thanks to India’s National Solar Mission, which includes a feed-in tariff, it is setting the stage for a boom in solar.

India’s solar market is forecast to grow from just 54 megawatts (MW) in 2010 to over 9 gigawatts (GW) by 2016 – astounding growth! 

In November 2009, the Indian government approved a National Solar Mission, which aims to deploy at least 20 gigawatts (GW) of solar projects by 2020. This strategic initiative is part of the country’s plan to provide power to millions of citizens lacking access to energy sources, as well as to combat climate change.

The plan creates national and state-level incentives for production and installation, as well as research and development and financial incentives for utilities. Its initial target is 1.5 GW in 2012, which India is on track to meet.

"This growth will be driven by rising power demand and fossil fuel prices, the ambition of the National Solar Mission and various state-level initiatives, as well as by renewable energy quotas, including solar energy quotas for utilities and the subsequent gains in solar cost reduction," says Dr. Tobias Engelmeier, Managing Director of Bridge To India.  

Mostly lesser-known local companies operate there, but  domestic-foreign partnerships and joint ventures are increasingly bringing in leading world-wide solar firms.

Those partnerships are welcome because banks are reluctant to finance projects by inexperienced local developers. India will benefit from the development expertise of global solar firms, who in turn benefit from having a local partner to navigate the country’s complex energy market.

First movers such as SunEdison (NYSE: WFR), juwi solar, AES Solar, Conergy (FWB: CGY), Gehrlicher Solar, and Enfinity have employed this strategy to enter India, teaming with local developers to gain early market share or build viable project pipelines.

Foreign module manufacturers such as First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR), Solar Frontier, Abound Solar, Trina Solar (NYSE: TSL) and Suntech (NYSE: STP) are developing supply chains.

Enfinity and Titan Energy Systems, a manufacturer of photovoltaic (PV) modules, announced a collaboration to develop, finance and construct 1 GW of PV installations on 3000 acres of land in Andhra Pradesh over the next five years.

And Siemens has opened a renewable energy division in India for solar and wind manufacturing.

In July, the US Export-Import Bank announced it would provide  $75 million in long-term loans to export US-made solar panels to India. 

A report from GTM Research and Bridge to India discusses the opportunities, timeframe and obstacles for industry leaders looking for meaningful entry into the scaling Indian market.

More information on the report, The India Solar Market: Strategy, Players, and Opportunities:

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