Indian Solar Industry resort to Restructuring
India’s solar cell and panel makers continue to restructure their debt, as their plants are not able to compete with global solar manufacturers. Even as the global solar demand sees an unprecedented boom, India’s solar makers are not able to run their factories. Their costs are way higher than those of the Chinese solar panel manufacturers such as Trina Solar (TSL), Yingli (YGE) and others. We had rightly said during Indosolar’s (ISLR) founding that the company was a good short candidate, given the company’s high capex to volume ratio. The company has already restructured debt once and is going to restructure it again. It looks unlikely that Indosolar will be able to run its factories given that its equipment is becoming obsolete.
The company is not being able to produce solar modules, even as the country’s demand is growing rapidly pointing to deep seated structural issues with the company’s strategy. Moser Baer which had invested billions of rupees into producing poly, thin film and crystalline solar panels has stopped the pretense. The company had also gone for CDR and is now concentrating on solar EPC and development only. IndoSolar cannot run its 160 MW factory which forms less than 0.3% of the global capacity. Indian solar players have been clamoring for a clampdown on solar imports without much success. Their prices are way higher than that of imports, given that they have no advantages in scale or technology. Unless something dramatic is done, there is little chance that Indosolar or any other solar maker will become viable players again.
India’s DCR during JNNSM Phase 2 has come under fire from the USA, for restricting that at least half of the 750 MW capacity uses domestic made solar cell and panels. However, that is too small to allow Indian solar manufacturers to survive. The Indian government has to put in the right industrial policy, give good logistics, cheap finance etc. to allow Indian solar industrialists to survive. Until that is done, piecemeal efforts like DCR is unlikely to help.
Indosolar Ltd. (ISLR), India’s biggest manufacturer of solar cells by capacity, asked lenders to restructure its debt for a second time, saying it has idled a plant because prices are too low to make a profit.
“Due to continued liquidity issues the company has approached bankers for a second corporate debt restructuring package,” the New Delhi-based company said in a filing today. Short-term liabilities exceed short-term assets by 1.9 billion rupees ($31 million), it said.
Indosolar’s plant remains shut because the high cost of production and low solar cell prices “did not yield margins,” it said. The facility in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh state in the country’s north can produce 160 megawatts of photovoltaic cells a year, according to its website.
The company won approval from lenders in January 2012 to reorganize about 3.6 billion rupees of debt, according to its annual report that year.