India wants its own solar photovoltaic (PV) industry, but first it must stop depending on China

To compete with China, India wants to manufacture solar panels from scratch. But dependence on its rival for key photovoltaic components makes that a difficult task.
India’s solar PV industry not only has ambitious plans to install solar panels, but also wants to manufacture them.

The world’s most populous nation already manufactures some solar photovoltaic energy. But the process is largely that of an assembly line, where imported components are assembled into modules.

Further up the supply chain, solar components are made from a high-quality silicon known as polysilicon. Today, polysilicon production – like every other stage of solar manufacturing – is dominated by China.

But buoyed by concerns about energy security and trade tensions between the United States and China, a handful of Indian solar manufacturers are taking advantage of government support to produce polysilicon components in India.

Among them is Adani Solar, the greenest face of the Indian multinational conglomerate built on a coal base.

Women walking inside the solar park to fetch water

In Clean Energy Frontier, Monika Mondal reports from the city of Mundra, Gujarat, where Adani intends to build a polysilicon-to-module manufacturing center.
Think tank Ieefa predicts that India could become the world’s second-largest solar PV manufacturer by 2026, producing enough solar panels to be self-sufficient and exporting the surplus.

But India’s dependence on China for solar components and technology runs deep, and its attempt to rival its neighbor’s colossal solar production capacity will require much more government support.