Gautam Solar Pvt., a solar panel manufacturing firm based in Haridwar, Uttarakhand, plans to increase its manufacturing capacity to 1 GW in FY24 from 400 MW at present as it sees demand rising after the recent boost to domestic manufacturing under the Atmanirbhar Bharat plan of the central government.
The company will add the first 250 MW of capacity at its Haridwar plant but is scouting for another location closer to a seaport in Gujarat for the next 350 MW of capacity, Guatam Mohanka, managing director and CEO of Gautam Solar, told BQ Prime.
The company is likely to invest around Rs 100 crore in the expansion, excluding the cost of land, he said.
Recent policy initiatives such as the Approved List of Models and Manufacturers and the Basic Customs Duty on the import of solar panels have given a much-needed thrust to domestic manufacturing, according to Mohanka.
“We expect to see a 100% utilisation of our plants for the next two financial quarters—from October this year to March 2023. The orders for domestic panels have already been placed by developers since Chinese panel manufacturers have no option to sell in India under ALMM.”
Also, a BCD of 40% on panels has made imports unviable for developers, he added.
The prices of domestic solar panels rose artificially by around 40% after the introduction of BCD. Ratings agency ICRA said in a June report that around 4.4 GW of solar capacity got affected due to the rise in solar panel prices.
“The panel prices rose between Rs 20 and Rs 24 per watt peak for the polycrystalline-based panels after the BCD of 25% and a special additional duty of 10% on the import of solar cells that goes into the manufacturing of solar panels,” Mohanka said. However, there have been other factors that have contributed to the increase, such as higher commodity prices on account of the Russia-Ukraine war, he said.
The increase in the price of monocrystalline-based panels has been in the range of Rs 27 to Rs 32 per watt peak, he said. “We expect the prices to drop in the coming quarters since the commodity prices have started to stabilise over the last month,” he said.
“Going forward, we believe the addition of manufacturing capacity to meet the growing domestic demand will be a positive development for the domestic solar industry, which is aiming to achieve 500 GW of renewable capacity by 2030,” he added.