IIT Bombay and BHEL to Develop High-Efficiency Solar Cells

Researchers at the National Center for Photovoltaic Research and Education (NCPRE) at IIT Bombay are developing crystalline silicon solar cells with targeted efficiency of 22%. Passivated Emitter and Rear Cell (PERC) solar cells are being developed at Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL) with an efficiency of 21%, Union Power Minister, R.K.Singh has said in the Rajya Sabha.

Replying to questions, he said that the government has provided financial support to several research institutes and industries for the research and development of solar cells and modules, aiming to enhance the cells’ efficiency, reduce costs, and develop new technologies.

The minister said that Foreign Direct Investment Cell and Project Development Cell have been created under the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) to attract investments in the solar manufacturing sector.

“Solar power projects have been delayed because of the disruption caused by the COVID-19. The COVID-19 pandemic has been recognized as Force Majeure, and MNRE has given a time extension of five months from March 25, 2020, to August 24, 2020, for renewable energy projects,” Singh said in response to the question raised about the pandemic’s impact on the solar power sector.

To boost India’s production capabilities and export, the government approved the production-linked incentive program in ten sectors, including high-efficiency solar photovoltaic (PV) modules, in November 2020. As a part of the program, the government intended to provide ₹796.42 billion (~$10.75 billion) in the next five years to several sectors like high-efficiency solar PV modules, advanced chemistry cells (ACC) battery, and automobiles and auto components.

In the Union Budget 2021, the government committed to providing about ₹1.97 trillion (~$27.03 billion) over the next five years from the financial year 2021-22 to help bring scale and size to the solar PV manufacturing sector and generate new job opportunities. As a part of the commitment, ₹45 billion (~$617 million) would be provided for high-efficiency solar PV modules manufacturing.