Supply Chain Casts a Shadow on India's Solar Dreams

By Freddie Pierce
Nobody knows the sun better than Indians, who enjoy some 300 days of sunshine per year. Given their growing energy needs and the rising specter of clim...

Nobody knows the sun better than Indians, who enjoy some 300 days of sunshine per year.  Given their growing energy needs and the rising specter of climate change, they’re in a perfect position to leverage that advantage – but so far, the supply chain on the sub-continent hasn’t been up to the challenge.

Part of the problem is the nascence of the industry.  The required technology is cutting-edge, and the Indian scientific community has been relying on the assistance of an international brain trust who’ve only themselves begun to work out the kinks of an efficient, large-scale model.

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Even more fundamentally, manufacturing of crucial components hasn’t yet been satisfactorily integrated into the local supply chain.  Indian companies have been forced to go abroad for essential materials, dramatically affecting the viability of a nation-wide investment in solar power.

That’s not to say they’re not trying, and gains have been substantial.  But considering that government planners fully expect the trend to explode – as demographics, energy needs, and environmental fears converge over the industry – it’s the kind of problem that supply chain managers need to address.

Fortunately for climate change activists and air conditioner enthusiasts both, stakeholders seem to have both the will and the way.

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