Taking a step ahead after the recent quality control order, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has now issued another order which specifies the requirements for compulsory registration of solar module manufacturers in the country.
The new order is aimed at reducing India’s dependence on solar imports and making it self-sufficient with an expansive manufacturing base covering solar wafers, cells, and modules.
The MNRE will enlist eligible models and manufacturers of solar modules and publish the same in a list called the ‘Approved List of Models and Manufacturers (ALMM)’.
The present instructions are being issued for solar modules based on crystalline silicon technology. Similar instructions will be issued for solar PV modules based on alternative materials and technologies.
To be included in the list, the models and the manufacturers should get the BIS certification under the “Solar Photovoltaics, Systems, Devices and Components Goods (Requirements for Compulsory Registration) Order, 2017” and should have set up a manufacturing capacity for production in the country.
To be included in the list, firms involved in the production of modules from cells must set up a production unit in India by December 31, 2019. For companies that want to be registered for the production of modules, (from wafer onwards) the deadline to set up the manufacturing unit in India is December 31, 2020. For firms that want to be registered for the production of modules, (from polysilicon onwards) the deadline for setting up unit in India is December 31, 2021.
The enlisted models and the manufacturers will then be subject to random quality tests, including inspection of manufacturing premises. Any failure or non-compliance by the enlisted manufacturer will result in removal from ALMM.
The ALMM will be uploaded on the MNRE website and will be updated quarterly. Per MNRE, “The module manufacturing facility and the manufacturing facility producing upstream stages of raw material; solar cell, wafer, ingot and polysilicon have to be based in India according to the specified timeline.”
When contacted, an MNRE official said, “This is the necessary step after issuing of the Quality Control Order last year. With this order, the aim is to ensure that we produce everything indigenously in India starting from polysilicon to ingots to wafers to cells and modules. This order is aimed at ensuring that India by 2021 becomes self-sufficient when it comes to the entire solar supply chain.”