Taiwan-based integrated solar photovoltaic cell manufacturer, AU Optronics, is keen to enter into the Indian market, and is looking for local partners to work with. The company sells solar products under the brand name ‘BenQ’.

The offered solar solutions are expected to be available for the Indian market in the fourth quarter of this year, James C.P. Chen, Vice-President and General Manager, Solar Business Group, AU Optronics, told Business Line recently.

BenQ is looking for partners in India, Chen said, and would collaborate with them in the areas of technology development, manufacturing and project development. “We will not be a developer or asset owners,” Chen said.

Asked if BenQ could provide funding to Indian customers, Chen said that BenQ had access to global finance and would facilitate Indian companies get funding. “We can consider case by case on the funding increasing our value in downstream segment,” he said.

Chen was in India to deliver the inaugural address at Solarcon 2012, a conference-cum-exhibition event of the solar industry, which was held in Bangalore between September 3 and 5.

The solar modules sold under the name BenQ are manufactured by AU Optronics. Some high efficiency cells and modules are also produced in a joint venture with SunPower of the US. Chen said that the modules produced by the company boast efficiency levels of 20 per cent. (Efficiency is a measure of how much of solar energy falling on the panels are converted into electrical energy.)

Providing a contrarian view, Chen said that India had the potential to be competitive vis-à-vis China even in manufacturing. “The eco-system needs to support this. Local manufacturing of other products like glass, packaging and structures need to scale up and produce with comparable costs,” he said.

Further, Chen said that the global trend was a shift from ‘component sale’ to ‘value-added sale’. “This is to India’s advantage, because India is quick to adopt and create solutions required by the market,” he said. “It is also to India advantage to experiment on different solution options at economic engineering and development cost which is difficult for developed countries, he said.

ramesh.m@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on September 7, 2012)
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