We are looking at an expansion plan of 1 GW of TOPCon cell line: Surender Pal Singh, Premier Energies

We are looking at an expansion plan of 1 GW of TOPCon cell line: Surender Pal Singh, Premier Energies We are looking at an expansion plan of 1 GW of TOPCon cell line

Premier Energies has witnessed a remarkable journey of introducing the first solar panel assembly line with a 3 MW/year capacity, to setting up a fully-integrated 3.4 GW solar cell and module line. The firm is also capable of handling upcoming technologies of cells with larger sizes such as M10, M12 and Multi-Busbar cells. Surender Pal Singh, Chairman, Premier Energies, speaks about the advancements in the offing and growth trajectory of the firm.

Tell us about your facilities and module manufacturing capacities.

We are a 20-year-old firm, having started in 1995, with 3 MW of capacity. Presently, we have 2 GW of MONO PERC solar cell line, almost 3 GW of module manufacturing. We are looking at an expansion plan with 1 GW of TOPCon cell line and another 1 GW of module line which will be glass-to-glass modules.

Would you say TOPCon is the technology of the future since it has started to gain momentum in India? 

For the last couple of years, we have been following the technology growth in China as China has almost moved into 80% of the capacity to TOPCon. TOPCon is the future because the cost remains the same, while efficiency is high. Today, in MONO PERC, we are able to achieve 23.3% and 23.4% efficiency whereas in TOPCon the target is 24.4% and 24.5% Premier is setting up 1 GW of TOPCon cell manufacturing line very shortly.

How does TOPCon technology compare with HJT?

HJT is at a nascent stage in the India. Only Reliance delves into it after having purchased REC Solar Holdings in Singapore. They are looking at setting up a line for HJT solar cells and modules. But it is too early to say whether it will last or whether it will be replaced by the TOPCon. Yes, there is a possibility that HJT also can be the future. But for the next couple of years, it is going to be TOPCon and TOPCon alone.

Yes, the efficiency of HJT is undoubtedly better, but the capex cost is very very high. But it is not very economical because you cannot have that much volume. Today nobody talks of 50-60 gigawatts of HJT even in China.

What is your take on the 600-watt panels? Do you think that they are the thing of the present and the future?

Yes, 600 plus modules are definitely a future. But this would be restricted only to the ground-mounted power plants and not rooftop because, for rooftop, the handling of individual module of 600 plus watts would be quite difficult. You will need a few persons persons to carry to the second or third floor of the building. So, it will not be popular in the rooftop segment. Yes, for ground-mounted, 600 watts can be a good replacement.

You recently bagged a project from Bangladesh.

The project won from Bangladesh is an EXIM Bank-funded project. With Amara Raja, we have gone into a joint venture where the technology and the module supply are in the scope of Premier. Amara Raja will be responsible for the execution of this project. This is a 130-megawatt of ground-mounted power plant.

The project was won by way of a worldwide open tender, an international tender funded by EXIM bank where 65% of the material import should be from ‘Make in India’. It will entail Indian cells and modules.

What are your future plans with regard to capacities and your expansion plans in various countries?

We have drawn up a five-year plan for the Premier Group. In the next five years, we will look ahead at almost 16 gigawatts of solar modules, 8 gigawatts of cells, 4 gigawatts of wafers and 4 gigawatts of ingot. We are already planning wafer and ingot in the year 2024-2025 itself. But in the next five years, we would be close to 16 GW of module line and cell, wafer and ingot capacity as well.

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