2 February 2012


“The Indian PV market will be very hot in the next five years”

CSUN is a manufacturer specialising in high-efficiency solar cell and module products in China. Founded in 2004, the company was public-listed in NASDAQ in 2007. Its solar module capacity is expected to reach 1 GW in 2012.

What is your vision regarding global PV market development and what do you expect in terms of MW demand in 2012? How do you expect this to grow in 2013-2015?
We have seen the global PV market showing very aggressive growth in past few years, going from nothing to a 20 GW market. Although solar peers are suffering from the oversupply issue right now, we are still expecting demand to remain at the 20 – 25 GW level in 2012. China, India, the US, Japan and other new emerging markets will keep surprising us.

What is your vision regarding the Indian PV market? What are your expectations in terms of MWs new installed PV power in 2012? And where will India be positioned in the world's top markets?
India is an emerging market but is growing rapidly without a doubt. With the implementation of the National Solar Mission, as well as a number of local government support programs, and thanks to the abundance of sunshine there, it’s a perfect market for PV development. We believe India will be one of the top solar markets in the world in the near future, with 1 GW new installed PV projects in 2012.

What is your current position in the Indian market? Do you already have some experience in India? And what do you want to achieve in the coming two years? Would you be looking for specific partners?

On 17th January, a 25 MW project, of which 13 MW of high-quality solar modules were supplied by CSUN, was implemented, in partnership with Visual Percept Solar Projects Pvt. Ltd (“Visual Percept”).
Thanks to our high efficiency, good product quality and efficient sales services, we are very proud to now be one of India's major module suppliers, with 45 MW of shipments in 2011. We are targeting 100 MW of shipments in the coming two years.
It’s very important to maintain relationships with our current partners, whilst at the same time expanding the sales network to deliver our high-efficiency solar modules to other good partners.

Do you have plans or do you foresee CSUN producing or manufacturing solar products in India?
This is a good question. The National Solar Mission requires only locally-manufactured solar cells and solar modules for the national project. So if we want to penetrate, local manufacturing looks like the only path. This is under discussion internally and we don’t have any solid plan for the near future.

How are you planning to support local partners with PV power plant development in India? Financing is a crucial and challenging issue in India. How are you able to help?
We know that the Indian market is quite different from the EU market, so right from the very beginning we had a very clear idea about how to run this market. We are not only selling our solar modules there, but we are also paying a lot more attention to technical support, after-sales services and financing. In the financing area, in addition to the traditional approaches, we are trying to help our strategic partners to obtain buyers' loans from Chinese banks. I believe there are just a few module suppliers who have this access.

What do you foresee or expect to be the major threats to or thresholds for the Indian PV market development?
I believe financing is still the biggest threat or threshold in the Indian PV market development. But we have confidence that the Indian Government and local key players will try to find the best solutions to support this market. Furthermore, we hope that the PV supporting policy remains stable.

Let’s look into the crystal ball... What will the Indian PV market look like in 2015 compared to other markets throughout the world? How will market share be divided between PV power plants, commercial applications and residential/diesel replacement?
As I explained, the Indian market will be very hot in the next five years. There is no doubt that this market will grow rapidly, despite some difficulties and thresholds. As you know, there is a large population in India and its economy is growing rapidly. How to meet the huge power demand is a major challenge for the Indian Government. However, sun irradiation here is so abundant. With the cost deduction of solar power generation, solar power is a very good solution for the Indian Government. Let’s say 3 – 5 GW in 2015 is a very reasonable market size. In my opinion, solar power plants will remain the main segment with more than 50% shares, while commercial and residential will also grow fast.

If you were in the year 2015, looking back, what, in your opinion, will have been the surprise that the PV business did not foresee?
Efficiency & Cost! 2007 - 2008, solar cell manufacturers were happy enough to see their mono cell conversion efficiency reach 17% - but now CSUN are delivering a high-efficiency product with 19% efficiency. But most importantly, the solar module cost has gone down very rapidly as well, from 4 USD/watt to 1 USD/watt now.
The solar industry is still too young for us to fully see its potential - which indeed has taken us by surprise many times in the past few years and is going to surprise us again and again by 2015.

Stay on top of the global solar market by joining one of our upcoming events.