India Solar Mission Targets Challenging, but Achievable

Recently, India has seen a rapid evolution in its renewable energy sector —a topic widely discussed at the Delhi International Renewable Energy Conference (DIREC). At the conference, held in Delhi, I met with Rajiv Tikoo, technology editor of Financial Express, a top ranked Indian financial daily to discuss the future of the solar manufacturing industry in India.

During the meeting, I discussed how the solar industry will help boost semiconductor manufacturing and other related sectors, the factors necessary for the success of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM), and the role Applied Materials can play in enabling the growth of solar industry.

Here are a few points to give you a further insight into the discussion:

• A solar cell is a simple semiconductor device. Setting up a solar manufacturing base means that the overall semiconductor industry stands to gain, from a future fab/foundry perspective, or LED, or TFT-Flat Panel Display, etc. – in terms of the semiconductor manufacturing ecosystem.

• The solar modules used this year will have to be manufactured in India. Next year, in addition to solar modules, even solar cells used will have to be manufactured in India. To make these cells, equipment is needed.

Key parameters for achieving the solar mission target are:

a) Manufacturing: there are already quite a few players in cell manufacturing;

b) R&D/human resources: there are many groups in academia carrying out research in devices, materials and processes;

c) Standards/quality: the government is enabling a lot on this front;

d) Financing: it is a stumbling block because a lot of up-front capital is required;

e) Marketing and acceptance: awareness about solar technology and its advantages has not yet reached the masses, more work needs to be done;

f) Maintenance and service: this has been almost nonexistent, but with the growth of industry we should see an improvement.

The full article titled "Solar Mission Target Challenging, but Achievable" can be found on the Financial Express web site.

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