Polycrystalline Modules Phasing Out of the Indian Solar Industry?

4 min read
End of polycrystalline panel

MNRE has set a minimum efficiency requirement of 19% for solar modules to be listed in the ALMM.

The Indian solar industry is going through a big change. Recent developments in the sector are making people question the future of polycrystalline solar modules in India. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has introduced new efficiency standards through the 'Approved List of Models and Manufacturers' (ALMM) rules, setting a minimum efficiency requirement of 19% for solar modules to be listed. This has caused a lot of discussion in the industry. People are wondering if polycrystalline modules, which usually have efficiencies of around 17-18%, will no longer be used in India. In this blog, we will explore what this rule means and how it might affect the Indian solar industry.

Rise of Polycrystalline Modules:

Polycrystalline solar panels have played a crucial role in the Indian solar industry for quite some time. They gained acceptance due to their affordability and widespread availability, which helped solar energy reach a broader audience. These modules made a significant contribution to India's solar energy capacity, which is pivotal in achieving the nation's clean energy goals.

The Challenge of Efficiency:

Despite the advantages of polycrystalline modules, they come with limitations, especially concerning energy conversion efficiency. Polycrystalline panels generally have lower efficiency & power output compared to Mono PERC P Type & N Type Top-Con Solar PV Modules. This means that more panels are required to generate the same amount of electricity, leading to more extensive installation areas and higher balance of system costs.

India's Ambitious Solar Objectives

India has established ambitious renewable energy goals, particularly in the field of solar power. To meet these objectives and ensure the long-term sustainability of the solar industry, it's crucial that every solar installation operates efficiently. This highlights the significance of the ongoing conversation about the gradual transition away from polycrystalline modules.

The Role of MNRE and ALMM

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has played a vital role in shaping the solar landscape in India. Recently, the ministry introduced the Approved List of Models and Manufacturers (ALMM) with new minimum efficiency standards for solar modules. For modules used in utility/grid-scale power projects, the minimum efficiency has been set at a challenging 20%. Rooftop solar and solar pumping projects have a slightly lower requirement of 19.5%, while solar lighting projects require a minimum efficiency of 19%. These stringent standards prioritize high-efficiency modules and effectively create a higher bar, making it increasingly difficult for polycrystalline modules, with their lower efficiencies of around 17-18%, to be listed in the ALMM.

Benefits of High-Efficiency Modules:

  • Space Efficiency: High-efficiency modules require less space for installation, making them suitable for rooftops and limited-area locations.
  • Increased Electricity Production: These modules generate more electricity from the same amount of sunlight, boosting overall energy production.
  • Cost Savings: While high-efficiency modules may have a higher initial cost, their ability to produce more energy in less space leads to long-term cost savings.
  • Environmental Impact: High-efficiency modules contribute to climate change mitigation, aligning with India's commitment to combat climate change.

The Impact on Polycrystalline Module Manufacturers

The shift towards higher efficiency standards poses a significant challenge to manufacturers of polycrystalline modules. They now face the challenge of upgrading their production lines and processes to produce Mono PERC Solar Panels with higher output & efficiency which meet the current global requirements. This shift could result in a reshaping of the competitive landscape within the solar industry in India.

The Role of Research and Innovation

The push for higher efficiency in solar modules is also likely to spur research and innovation within the industry. Indian Solar Panel Manufacturers will invest in developing new technologies and processes to meet the stringent efficiency requirements set by the MNRE. This, in turn, could lead to breakthroughs in solar technology, benefiting the entire industry.

The Impact on Solar Project Developers

Solar project developers will need to adapt to the changing landscape. While high-efficiency modules may come at a higher initial cost, their long-term benefits in terms of increased energy production and cost savings may outweigh the initial investment. Developers will need to factor in these considerations when planning and implementing solar projects.

The Way Forward

The gradual phasing out of polycrystalline modules from the Indian solar industry does not negate their past contributions. Instead, it reflects a strategic move to enhance energy generation efficiency and environmental sustainability. The industry's belief is that adopting high-efficiency modules will help India meet its innovative energy goals and build a greener and more sustainable future.

Conclusion

The Indian solar industry is in the midst of a significant transformation, driven by the introduction of stringent efficiency standards by the MNRE. While this shift may pose challenges to manufacturers of polycrystalline modules, it also opens the door to innovation and environmental sustainability. Solar project developers will need to adapt to the changing landscape, considering the long-term benefits of high-efficiency modules. As India continues to harness the power of the sun, it remains committed to building a cleaner and brighter future for all.

In conclusion, the phasing out of polycrystalline modules signifies not the end, but a new beginning for the Indian solar industry, one that is marked by efficiency, innovation, and environmental responsibility.

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