SunEdison is giving up the 20-megawatt project it won in an
Indian government auction in February on concerns that local
cell makers won’t be able to boost supply in time, Pashupathy Gopalan, managing director of South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa,
said in an e-mailed response to questions. Dropping the project
may cost the St. Peters, Missouri-based company its 20 million
rupee ($333,000) bidding deposit.
“Cell capacities are not easy to ramp up and build,” said
Gopalan, who estimates local cell factories need to double
operational capacity to fulfill orders. Domestic panel makers
also raised prices since bidding, he said. “The projects are
not viable anymore.”
The decision deepens a dispute between local makers of
solar cells, the basic component of a panel, and project
developers, threatening to disrupt a program to expand India’s
photovoltaic manufacturing. The local sourcing stipulation is a
target of a U.S. complaint at the World Trade Organization for
unlawfully restricting American imports.
Indosolar Ltd., Moser Baer India Ltd. and Tata Power Solar
Systems Ltd. are the biggest Indian cell makers by production
capacity. Indosolar last week denied raising prices after
December when companies were preparing bids and Tata Power Solar
said the industry can supply the projects as long as orders are
placed by the end of April.
SunEdison was one of the biggest winners in the Feb. 21
auction, which awarded 375 megawatts of photovoltaic capacity to
be built using India-made equipment. SunEdison still plans to
build a separate 30-megawatt project it won, Gopalan said.
More than three-quarters of India’s solar capacity has been
allowed to use imported equipment. Tempe, Arizona-based First
Solar Inc. is one of the biggest suppliers, according to data
compiled by Bloomberg.
To contact the reporter on this story:
Natalie Obiko Pearson in New Delhi at
To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Reed Landberg at
Abhay Singh, Tony Barrett