India sets efficiency requirements for cadmium telluride solar modules

India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has established minimum efficiency standards for cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film solar modules to qualify for inclusion on the Approved List of Models and Manufacturers (ALMM).

From pv magazine India

India’s MNRE has established minimum efficiency standards for CdTe thin-film solar modules to qualify for inclusion on the ALMM. The minimum efficiency requirements for crystalline-silicon solar modules were set by the MNRE in May 2023.

The minimum module efficiencies for ALMM enlistment across large-scale (utility-scale), rooftop solar and solar lighting applications are as follows:

The ALMM mandate, reimposed from April 1, 2024, requires solar projects awarded by central agencies and state distribution utilities to only source PV modules from the manufacturers included on the ALMM list. The list currently only features domestic solar original equipment manufacturer (OEMs) and includes modules with efficiencies equal to or greater than 19%.

Arizona-based First Solar manufactures CdTe modules and has established a 3.3 GW manufacturing facility in India, which is now operational.

First Solar has repeatedly produced efficiency-record breaking CdTe research cells since 2013, and has brought CdTe to a level of maturity, in terms of products, factory productivity, reliability, and environmental performance, to be able to reach scale – in comparison to other thin-film technologies, featuring copper, indium, and selenium (CIS) and copper, indium, gallium, and selenide (CIGS), which are still addressing niche or emerging applications.

First Solar CdTe thin-film modules have one of the lowest carbon and water footprints of any commercially available PV module today.

“The MNRE directive mandating a minimum [c-Si] module efficiency of 20% for utility-scale photovoltaic (PV) projects serves as a catalyst for innovation and technological advancement within the industry. One of the keys to meeting the MNRE’s efficiency requirements lies in offering advanced technologies such as half-cut mono facial and bifacial modules, along with more sophisticated TOPCon (Tunnel Oxide Passivated Contact) panels,” said Akshay Mittal, director of Bluebird Solar. “These technologies offer higher efficiency levels, with module efficiencies exceeding 22%. By embracing these cutting-edge solutions, manufacturers can not only meet the mandated efficiency standards but also enhance their competitiveness in the dynamic solar PV market landscape.”

Under the MNRE directive, modules with efficiencies of 19.5% and 19% are eligible for rooftop and solar water pumping installations, and solar lighting projects, respectively.

“With PM Suryaghar Muftbijli Yojana and PM Kusum Yojana in place, PV modules below 20% efficiency can be effectively utilized in various rooftop and other solar applications, thus maximizing their contribution to rural electrification and agricultural sustainability,” said Mittal.

This post appeared first on PV Magazine.

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