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Manufacturing polysilicon is the way for India’s solar aspirations

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By Bhupesh Verma

Delhi: The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM), the biggest driving force for the growth of the solar industry, has helped the country to increase its capacity from a meager 18 MW in 2010 to 4 GW in 2015.

The BJP government announced a revised 100 GW target by 2022, a big jump from an earlier 20 GW. To achieve this, the country needs to maintain a cumulative annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 50 percent in annual installations. These targets provide a great opportunity for the Indian solar photovoltaic (PV) industry to evolve as a global leader in manufacturing.

Based on current prices, we estimate that the crystalline Silicon (c-Si) PV technology will contribute around 85-90 GW of the 100 GW target. In 2014, 35 GW of c-Si PV was installed globally, with China’s share being 9 GW.

The current global production about 300,000 tonnes per year and to manufacture 85 GW of c-Si PV cells, an estimated production of 450,000 tonnes of polysilicon will be required in the next seven years.

If India is to complete its goals, a vast demand can be predicted for c-Si PV panels and so for polysilicon in the next few years. China is a global leader in polysilicon manufacturing; itself imports polysilicon to meet its demand. This creates a major challenge in diverting a large share of the global production to India, therefore increasing module prices.

PV Manufacturing in India

The Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP) has examined the supply chain of PV that consists of the production of metallurgical grade Silicon (MG-Si), polysilicon, ingot and wafer, and cell and module assembly. Among these, India owns only cell and module manufacturing capabilities; other upstream supply chain components are missing. The question is: Given our huge demand from the 100 GW target, should India go in for domestic polysilicon and wafer manufacturing?

Polysilicon price trends

Polysilicon is the basic raw substance used in manufacturing c-Si PV cells as well as integrated-circuit chips for the semi-conductor industry. Prior to 2006-07, a majority of the polysilicon production was consumed mostly by the semi-conductor industry. In 2006-07, the economic boom was accompanied by a significant increase in the demand for polysilicon by the solar industry, which resulted in several manufacturing facilities being set up. The recession in late 2008, along with over-production from new factories, caused a slump in the demand for polysilicon and consequently, prices plummeted from a peak of $475/kg (Rs.32,500) to $20/kg.

The low prices forced manufacturers into reducing material and energy wastes to stay competitive. Therefore, processes that are more efficient started being developed to make the technology cheaper. This has made the polysilicon industry financially more attractive again in recent years. It is difficult to speculate how these prices will change in future, especially with the increase in demand from India. Therefore, there is a case for some domestic manufacturing capability to protect against volatility in prices.

Polysilicon Manufacturing and Challenges

Polysilicon making is an energy-consuming procedure (60-100 kWh/kg) and needs consistent power sources for continuous operations. High power tariff and unreliable power supply make polysilicon manufacturing challenging in India.

There are three ways to manufacture polysilicon: Siemens process, Fluidized Bed Reactor (FBR) process and Upgraded Metallurgical Grade (UMG) process, with the deceasing order of purity levels – 9N-11N, 6N-9N, and 5N respectively. Solar applications require higher purity levels than 6N pure silicon whereas semiconductor applications need higher purity than 9N. The Siemens process consumes a larger amount of energy as compared to FBR; hence, its cost of production is higher.

Some of the production challenges include handling of materials such as Silane, which is explosive in nature followed by significant heat losses in the reactors.

The current economy of scale suggests that a 24,000 TPA developed plant is ideal and will cost about Rs.5,500 crore. The technology used is the Siemens process, producing about 3-4 GW of c-Si cells annually.

Such a large capital investment in this sector is considered risky by even big investors. Moreover, interest rates in India are relatively higher than in other countries. This makes depreciation and interest rate major cost components (50 percent-70 percent) in polysilicon manufacturing. However, labour costs (skilled and unskilled) in India are lower as compared to other countries and this may reduce the cost of production by 5-10 percent.

The way forward

Given our ambitious solar targets, it is practical to create at least some domestic polysilicon manufacturing capability. Private industry could form an association to venture into domestic manufacturing. The government should support such initiatives and the industry through various incentives (tax holidays, duty exemption and the like) and facilitate the industry by giving special incentives in the modified special incentive package scheme (M-SIPS). The government can also make commitments to investors to provide low-cost finance and low-tariff power similar to China.

An assured market demand with long-term purchase agreements will boost the domestic manufacturing industry, along with the development of a manufacturing cluster – a dedicated R&D facility – for continuous research on new, mature, and disruptive technologies. Continuous updates in enabling policies pertaining to the polysilicon manufacturing industry will prove to be highly beneficial for the sector” growth as well. (IANS)(Bhupesh Verma and Ganeshprasad Pavaskar are with CSTEP and they can be contacted atbhupeshv@cstep.in and ganeshprasad@cstep.in. The views expressed are those of CSTEP)

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Virus of Hatred and Insanity Wreaking Havoc With the Preventive Measures in India

All you need to know about the Tablighi congregation at Nizamuddin

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India Tablighi
The Tablighi Jamaat congregation has created a havoc in India.

By SALIL GEWALI

Why is the WORLD on lockdown now? It is exclusively intended to keep away from any XYZ who might have infected with COVID-19 and thus contain the deadly pandemic as soon as possible. To combat the outbreak how much “monetary loss” each nation has been incurring each day is unprecedented and unimaginable. Here the main concern being to “save” the lives of the citizens at any rate. Yes, each nation-state considers each life of a citizen as “precious” as anything.

But look at the situation arising out of the Tablighi congregation at Nizamuddin, New Delhi,India and its immediately aftermath. It has raised many questions than answers. What is very disgusting is some of the members of the organization caught “repeatedly spitting” from the windows of the bus as reported by “Hindustan Times” and other news media. Some members directly spat on a “woman” calling her ‘coronavirus’. The members did not even heed to the requests from the elderly people and doctors. Finally, police had to forcefully close the windows of the bus.

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Well, everyone knows that COVID-19 spreads through droplets that come out from our mouths. So, to prevent the possible infection from the fluid droplets we strictly ensure that we cover our mouths with masks. The whole world is doing that. But why this godless act by “certain” members of the religious attendees of Tablighi in New Delhi thereby putting other public potentially at risk. Why such an evil motive, who all are encouraging such things?

India Tablighi
Well, a very learned scholar and also the Governor of Kerala,India, Arif Mohammad Khan described the non-cooperation of the certain Muslim community as a “crime against the nation and humanity.”

Was that elaborate religious congregation not mean to teach us how to be more conscious as a human being and to be compassionate towards other “fellow beings”? What is appalling at this hour of crisis is that there are many Mosques in India which are deliberately “defying” the lockdown order and observing the regular namazs and mindlessly encouraging mass gathering. Some have attacked police while in some states the medical doctors or their assistants associated with the quarantine care have been disrespected, abused and manhandled. Mindless stone-pelting upon the doctors and police have been reported from several states in the country. Why are such disgustingly inhumane behaviors arising from the community of a particular faith only? Why are certain people so uncouth and so uncooperative? Can the pandemic catastrophe be put down by such inhumane behaviors? Will it not be “irreligious” itself when the people, be it from any faiths, recklessly contribute to the suffering of others?

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Further, will GOD “saves ones” who have not taken the preventive measures? Absolutely not. God has given a human being the “brain” in order to decide judiciously what to do and what not to do. God will never descend from heaven to save if we abuse ourselves. About 10 members from the Tablighi Jamaat have already died from Coronavirus. Is it not the loss of precious lives for which we should “mourn”? Is it not a loss for the nation as a whole?

India Tablighi
Due to the religious congregation, many new COVID-19 cases have been reported in India.

Many infected persons from the Jamaat are potentially likely to infect others healthy which might multiply progressively, some of them have already dispersed to their respective states started causing problems as already been reported from the states like Bihar and Gujarat. Some are attacking police personals by violating the lockdown. Is the fundamental teaching of all religions not for the well-being and wellness of each human being on the planet? One wonders why such godless acts are being encouraged, or tolerated! Is tolerating the forces with sinister motives not sin in itself?  Well, a very learned scholar and also the Governor of Kerala Arif Mohammad Khan described the non-cooperation of the certain Muslim community as a “crime against the nation and humanity.”

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Here is another “shocker” published by Indian Today about a week back. An Infosys software engineer from Bangalore Mujeeb Mohammad appealed through his facebook by writing – “Let’s join hands, go out and sneeze with open mouth in public.

Also Read- Munish Raizada Films’ Debut Political Documentary- Transparency: Pardarshita, The Untold Series of IAC & AAP Released

Spread the virus.” How shall we describe this motive? What is in store for us in this 21st Century? Mind out, if such “insanity of hatred” is let to rear its ugly head, the sanity will certainly die a death. The virus of insanity could be more dangerous than Coronavirus. It will directly attack the very LUNGS and HEART of the Nation, and humanity at large.

An India-based writer and researcher, Salil Gewali is best known for his research-based work entitled Great minds on India which has earned worldwide appreciations. Translated into twelve languages, his book has been prefaced by a world-acclaimed NASA Chief scientist – Dr. Kamlesh Lulla of Houston, USA.

[ Disclaimer: The pictures used in the article are supplied by the author, NewsGram has no intention of infringing copyrights. ]