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At EAI, we do a fair bit of work along the entire solar PV business value chain. This gives us the opportunity to interact with a number of machinery and equipment providers for the solar PV industry. One thing that strikes you when you look at the machinery and technology providers is that there are few Indian companies that provide the critical technology or machinery. As you would have suspected already, it’s Germany, USA and many other European countries (and a few from Japan and Korea, along with the ever present Chinese), who seem to be prevalent.

I am not sure whether any serious work is currently happening in the context of solar PV production and technology research in the Indian industry and academia; my Google searches landed me with the following – http://bit.ly/9pOq2P, http://bit.ly/aT6onV and http://bit.ly/bAvvVD . Not exactly encouraging, once you have had a look at those documents.

This leaves me with a rather important question on whether India should invest in solar PV R&D or whether it should adapt the best that the rest of the world produces. Clearly, we are way behind on original equipments manufacturing and research, so are we ever going to become the best in it? My skepticism is not shared by many of my colleagues at EAI who feel that we have to start sometime, and that time is now.

Anyway, it appears that some Indian companies are indeed far more optimistic on this than I am. Recently, Moser Baer India Ltd. announced that it has been awarded a grant from the Indian government’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) to develop high-efficiency copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) solar photovoltaic (PV) cells. The company says that it plans to achieve efficiencies above 15% at scales to those of commercial crystalline silicon PV cells, which it believes it can do at prices below USD$1/watt. Moser Baer says that it will conduct this research at its facility in Greater Noida, India. (Source:  http://bit.ly/dnxqDw ).

Here’s me hoping (with a dose of skepticism though) that this start leads to many more such R&D work!

Some references for R&D in solar PV in India

Solar Photovoltaic Programme ( R & D) of MNRE

Indian Solar PV Ecosystem

Solar Energy Market Development