By Natalie Obiko Pearson
First Solar Inc. (FSLR), the only profitable panel-maker among the 10 biggest in the world, plans to develop solar farms in India as chronic outages drive demand for electricity derived from sun power.
The target is to take at least a 20 percent share of India’s photovoltaic sales by expanding beyond First Solar’s role as a supplier, said Sujoy Ghosh, the new India head of the world’s biggest thin-film panel maker. Demand will probably come from industrial and commercial consumers without any government subsidies involved, he said.
The Tempe, Arizona-based company is betting that building plants and selling solar power is a better way to make money than competing with Chinese competitors on panel sales after prices fell 47 percent in the past year. India, which suffered the world’s biggest blackout this month, has a 30 gigawatt backup power market, created by factories and businesses that switch to diesel generators when power goes out, according to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.