Monday, August 4, 2014

Indian Solar Module Manufacturer Vikram Solar Expands Into International Markets

Image credit: Solar panels via Waynenf
Indian solar photovoltaic module manufacturers had hoped for a substantial increase in sales when the government announced the ambitious National Solar Mission a few years ago. The mission document had specifically mentioned promotion of domestic solar energy equipment as one of the aims. After 2.6 GW of solar power installation, the Indian market is flooded with cheaper imported modules and equipment, and the majority of the module manufacturing capacity sitting idle.

Vikram Solar is among the largest manufacturers of solar PV modules in India with a capacity to produce 150 MW of modules every year. Right now, the company is producing only 75 MW of modules due to lack of demand from project developers in India. A number of Indian project developers have opted for cheaper Chinese modules or modules manufactured by American companies as US development banks have provided low-interest loans to the projects.

With this in mind, it seems, the management of Vikram Solar decided to expand its footprint to new and emerging markets. Recently, the company has signed agreements to supply solar power equipment to the Middle East market and has also entered the European market through a solar rooftop project in Ireland.

Vikram Solar has signed a distributorship agreement with Unidaan FZ to provide solar energy equipment in the Middle East and North Africa region. Unidaan sells power generation equipment and spare parts in the region. The move seems to be a step in the right direction, as the region is one of the fastest growing solar power markets.

The company also recently completed a rooftop solar power project for the University of Dublin. The company sees Ireland as a market with huge potential as the government has committed the country for 40% renewable energy share by 2020.

With the completion of this rooftop solar power project the company would hope to expand its base in the country. The company is also a provider of engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) and has developed a utility-scale solar PV project under India’s National Solar Mission.

While the Indian government has set aside some solar power capacity specifically to be developed through domestically manufactured equipment, the module manufacturers want anti-dumping subsidies levied on imported modules. The government has been dragging its feet over the implementation such duties. In such a case, expanding into new markets seems to be a wise move on the part of the manufacturers.


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