Solar Energy – JNNSM, Solar Cities, Solar Pumps, etc.

Solar surge: Moving away from imported solar panels


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Environment; Solar Photovoltaic cells;

Mains level: Environment; Solar Energy;

Why in the news? 

The government is finally bringing into effect the policy of an Approved list of Models and Manufacturers (ALMM) that will discourage solar power project developers from relying on imported panels. 

About Approved Models and Manufacturers of Solar Photovoltaic Modules Order, 2019:

  • Aim: To boost domestic manufacturing of solar panels by registering only those made with domestically manufactured cells, wafers, and polysilicon.
  • Compulsory Registration: The order mandates compulsory registration for solar PV module and cell manufacturers, ensuring they meet certain quality and production standards.
  • Lists: LIST-I for solar PV modules and LIST-II for solar PV cells.
    • Only listed models and manufacturers in these lists are considered approved for use in various government projects and schemes.
  • Eligibility Criteria: To be included in the lists, manufacturers must undergo inspections and meet specific criteria set by the National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE) to ensure the products are genuinely manufactured and not imported.
  • This order ensures the reliability of solar PV products used in installations, promotes domestic manufacturing, and aligns with the government’s initiatives for renewable energy adoption and energy security.

Efforts made by the Government to promote domestic Solar Manufacturing:

  • Import Restrictions: The creation of the Approved Models and Manufacturers list was aimed at restricting imports from China, which dominates a significant portion of the global solar supply market.
  • Ambitious Renewable Energy Targets: India aims to source about 500 GW of its electricity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030, with at least 280 GW coming from solar power. This necessitates adding at least 40 GW of solar capacity annually until 2030. So there is need to focus on indegenous solar project

Challenges ahead:

  • Unrealistic Targets: Despite ambitious targets, India’s solar capacity additions have been relatively low in recent years, attributed in part to the COVID-19 pandemic. The country aims to ramp up installations to between 25 GW and 40 GW annually.
  • Reliance on Imports: A significant fraction of India’s solar installations is met by imports, which affects domestic panel manufacturers who must pay for government certification but lose orders to cheaper Chinese panels. For example surge in Solar panel import in  FY 24 around $1,136.28 million  from FY23 imports $943.53 million

Conclusion: India’s ALMM policy aims to boost domestic solar manufacturing, aligning with ambitious renewable energy targets. Address challenges like meeting targets and reducing reliance on imports through strategic planning and support.

Mains PYQ 

Q Describe the benefits of deriving electric energy from sunlight in contrast to conventional energy generation. What are the initiatives offered by our government for this purpose? (UPSC IAS/2020),million%2C%20according%20to%20Eninrac%20Consulting

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