India Expects to be a Solar Export Hub Even After ALMM Suspension: Interview

Developers must commission projects before March 31, 2024, to avail of the ALMM suspension benefit


As India strives to boost its domestic solar module manufacturing, the recent suspension of the Approved List of Models and Manufacturers (ALMM) regulation has left the industry in disarray, causing policy certainty.

According to Mercom India’s ‘State of Solar PV Manufacturing in India’ report, India’s solar photovoltaic module manufacturing capacity exceeded 39 GW at the end of September 2022 and is expected to reach ~95 GW by the end of the calendar year 2025.

At the recent Mercom India Renewables Summit 2023, we spoke to Lalit Bohra, Joint Secretary at MNRE, to understand the idea behind the ALMM suspension and its expected impacts.

Below are the excerpts from the interview:

What were the government’s reasons for suspending ALMM and how has it impacted local manufacturers?

We have not exactly lifted the policy, we have said that the ALMM will be in abeyance for a year, and all the projects wanting to use modules from non-ALMM manufacturers will have to commission by March 31, 2024.

For the Indian module manufacturing industry, the government has already rolled out programs like the DCR (domestic content requirement) for projects installed under the PM KUSUM (Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan) or rooftop or the CPSU (Central Public Sector Undertaking) programs.

Additionally, the local content requirement in the various government procurements also exists. So, there is a market for everyone here, which would ensure scaling manufacturing capacity in the country.

Will the rising module exports create conducive conditions for technology and scale to rise? Will the government bring out another PLI program?

It is a very good sign that there was a time when we used to import, and now our industries have started exporting the modules.

And in the case of the PLI, we will have more or less roughly 50 GW coming up. Out of which, about 25 GW will be downstream from polysilicon to modules. We have a manufacturing-linked tender-based capacity coming up by this year, and all these capacities of PLI will come up by next year and 2025.

We are optimistic that we will have a capacity of about 100 GW of module manufacturing in India. We will have the capacity for polysilicon, wafers, and cell manufacturing.

Will the PLI program mitigate supply chains and the disruption seen in the last two years?

Yes, we are quite optimistic because 100 GW PLI capacity will also act as a catalyst. It has provided input to the industry. More demand is expected from the domestic market while the world is also moving towards renewables. We can cater to both the markets as we have already started with exporting modules.

Projects commissioned by March 31, 2024 are exempt from ALMM so all developers have to ensure projects are ready by that time. Is that correct?

Developers should remember that their projects are commissioned before that cut-off period. That’s what our circular says, so that precisely means that the project must be commissioned by that date to avail ALMM suspension.


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