“700+ Wp Modules Increase Generation By Around 20% Compared To Existing 580-585 Wp Range”: Sarthak Sengupta, Amplus

“700+ Wp Modules Increase Generation By Around 20% Compared To Existing 580-585 Wp Range”: Sarthak Sengupta, Amplus 700+ Wp Modules Increase Generation By Around 20% Compared To Existing 580-585 Wp Range: Sarthak Sengupta, Amplus

Sarthak Sengupta, Vice President, Procurement, Amplus, has 17 years of experience in materials management, strategic sourcing, and procurement consulting. During his extensive professional journey, Sarthak has worked for organizations like Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited and Blue Star Limited, demonstrating expertise across diverse industries such as electric vehicles, renewable energy (solar, wind, battery storage, EPC), new technology, steel, HVAC, heavy machinery production, and projects, including start-ups. As a certified professional in Supply Management (CPSM) since June 2017, Sarthak plays a pivotal role in shaping and driving procurement strategies for Amplus. 

Sarthak Sengupta reflects on the current trends in the renewable energy sector and likely developments in the coming time… 

How do you view the looming situation of overcapacity and what has led it to in the first place?

Overcapacity is already prevalent in the market. There was a sudden and significant spike in demand and thus the prices (75%) across the solar value chain post covid. The industry was opening after two years and the global push for a green shift ensured momentum. This was seen as an opportunity by manufacturers for better margins and thus they increased production capacities across the value chain. Unfortunately, even with the right intent and positive growth trajectories, most economies could not achieve the targeted. This has led to underutilization of materials and resources.

What impact will overcapacity have on prices? Could it be contra intuitive, with prices actually increasing due to protectionist policies, as India has done?

No. While we might see a slight hike in prices in the near future, primarily due to a purchase halt by Europe, the demand will rise again once they start to replete their inventory, thus leading to price stability.  Parallelly, with new capacity additions across the value chain (polysilicon, wafer, cells, module) and with an increase in localization of module manufacturing backed by incentives given by major markets like India, US, the prices will continue to slope downward. Considering how China regulates the prices globally in the solar supply chain, even with protectionist measures like custom duties in a market like India, the prices will continue to be additions on the mark ups dictated by China.

There is a perception that dominant Chinese firms will seek to manage the issue by pushing for newer technology in the market. Like P to N type modules, HJT tech and more. How do you feel about that?

Yes, Chinese manufacturers have done this earlier, But, presently, we can see the premium earned over new technology is not that lucrative (P Type – appx 0.151 $/Wp, N Type – 0.157 $/Wp, Data Source: OPIS) and the same technology is getting replicated in local market within 6-8 months only. Until and unless the efficiency advantage is substantial, technology premium won’t go much higher.

What are the big tech changes you believe will impact the market the most in the coming period? Like changing from silver paste to copper based paste?

As of now, everyone is waiting for 700+ Wp modules because of conversion from P-Tye to N-Type, as claimed by major Chinese manufacturers. These modules will increase the generation by around 20% compared to the existing 580~585 Wp range. Other technology changes (like silver paste to copper paste) are yet to be translated into reality, at least in the offerings of the manufacturer.

Are we seeing the bottom of the market as far as prices go? Do you see space for more drops or a rise from these levels? Why?

As explained above, the material prices at present won’t go up or might slightly go up in the immediate future but after that are bound to go southwards. Only 700+ Wp module can claim slightly better pricing for initial period of 1-2 years, but after that it will come down as well.

There is a lot of talk about an inventory glut in the EU markets. How will that impact Indian exports, other dynamics in the market?

Indian Export Market is focussing more on USA than EU, thanks to the incentives declared under IRA by the US government. At least 4-5 Indian manufacturers have already declared to put up their facility in USA. Inventory glut in Europe is a reality, but the same is not impacting Indian exports or any other market dynamics.

What are your projections over the next three years with respect to demand and supply and the dynamics that will ensue?

Demand and supply both will improve in case there is no major change at the policy level. For now, the intent is clear, framework is set and there is no reason to believe that things will not improve from here onwards. Infact, once the market for Green Hydrogen evolves, the demand for renewable energy will increase manifold.

Do you see the market will shift from lowering production costs to efficiency improvements in modules, as many foresee?

Hopefully yes, however there are two contradictory forces at work here. Manufacturers can put a premium to the tech advanced high efficiency modules. At the same time, with high efficiency modules, the BoS costs are expected to decline.

Do you agree that TOPCON and HJT will take a higher share of market by 2025? Why?/Why not? What about the scenario in India?

Yes, TOPCon is already the most sought-after technology in module and from January 2024 onwards, most of the buying will be in this category only. HJT is yet to gather momentum, at least among present set of manufacturers. May be Reliance’s much hyped foray into this will change the scenario late.

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