Numerous reports on the global solar market have highlighted the growing market potential for solar energy in India, where high demand for electricity in rural areas continues to outpace the extension of the national grid. The country’s National Solar Mission aims to reduce the cost of solar energy deployment, increase the scalability of solar energy systems, and increase national energy security while reducing environmental impact.
While most of India’s solar energy development has been dominated by off-grid systems and crystalline silicon technology, BELECTRIC Photovoltaic India, a subsidiary of California-based BELECTRIC, has announced that it has commissioned the first utility-scale solar power plant in India to use First Solar thin-film modules in Sri City, Andhra Pradesh. The project features 14,000 First Solar thin-film modules installed over about 5.3 acres.
After a four-month-long construction period, the project has begun generating an annual total of about 1,660,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity–enough to power about 7,000 Indian households, and saving approximately 1,100 tons of CO2 every year.
First Solar claims that its CdTe-based modules may produce more electricity on hot days, under cloudy weather and across a larger percentage of normal daylight conditions than crystalline silicon modules. “The advantage of modern thin-film technology is that the modules deliver an above-average output, even at high temperatures,” said Yogesh Dabhade, CEO of BELECTRIC Photovoltaic India. “The frameless design makes the modules insusceptible to dirt. And by continuously reducing manufacturing costs over the past years the modules became more cost-effective than other types.”