Bill Gates’ 1366 Technologies, backed by Breakthrough Energy Ventures, plans to invest $ 300 million to build a 2 gigawatt (GW) solar wafer and cell manufacturing facility in India under the government’s Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) program, said the managing director and founder Frank van Mierlo.
The US company is in talks with an Indian partner who will take over module production in the production chain and use the equipment to set up solar parks in India.
In a telephone interview, van Mierlo declined to name the Indian companies he is in talks with and referred to nondisclosure agreements.
In addition to Breakthrough Energy Ventures as the largest investor, 1366 Technologies also has North Bridge Venture Partners and Polaris Partners as investors. A total of $ 200 million was invested in the company through a mix of equity and non-dilutive resources.
“Capital markets are very technology friendly,” said van Mierlo. “In two years’ time, the only solar panels sold in India will have to be domestically manufactured and everyone in this supply chain understands that and a lot of people are interested because of these underlying market dynamics.”
Currently India has a domestic manufacturing capacity of only 3 GW for solar cells and 15 GW for solar modules.
“Our technology, perfected over the past 10 years, can deliver 50% cost savings,” added Abhijeet Birewar, 1366 Technologies India representative.
The ₹4,500 crore PLI program is part of the domestic content demand strategy and aims to help India increase 10 GW of integrated photovoltaic (PV) production capacity by attracting direct investment of around. brings ₹17,200 million euros. The state-owned Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd. has put out offers for the construction of solar systems as part of the PLI program.
“The obligation to clean up the power supply is clear. It is clear that the government has decided that India will play a role in the global energy transition and has taken an extremely thoughtful approach to support and develop domestic solar production, “said van Mierlo.
The domestic solar equipment production plan has picked up momentum as 15 companies consider total investments of around $ 3 billion to build solar equipment production facilities here, as previously reported by Mint.
“Given the combination of factors like domestic content requirement, ALMM (Approved List of Modules and Manufacturers), customs duties and PLI, India is a pretty good choice for a clean energy transition anywhere in the world,” said van Mierlo.
While Chinese solar module manufacturers have raised prices by more than a fifth since December, India has decided to put a 40% basic tariff on solar modules and 25% on solar cells from April 1, 2022, focusing on a single country. It’s not an ideal situation, “added van Mierlo.