Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stated resolve to tap the energy of the sun to substantially power the economy and everyday life is to be welcomed, because it could help chart a green deal for the future. He restated the case for greater reliance on solar power, for energy and as a path for self-reliant industrialisation, at the inauguration of a 750 MW photovoltaic project at Rewa, in Madhya Pradesh last week. But as he would recognise, the idea of building a domestic solar manufacturing industry that delivers increasing volumes of quality photovoltaic cells, modules and associated equipment is long in the tooth. India’s installed base of this green power source is about 35 gigawatts (GW), and its projected addition of capacity until 2024 in a COVID-19 affected future is estimated by the industry to be of the order of 50 GW. Viewed against the goals set five years ago for the Paris Agreement on climate, of installing 100 GW of solar power by 2022, there could be a sharp deficit. Combined with low domestic cell manufacturing capacity at 3.1 GW last year, and heavy reliance on China, high ambition must now be supported by aggressive official policy. The Chinese story is one of a steady rise from insignificant manufacturing capability in the 1990s, to virtual dominance through active government support in identifying and acquiring top technologies globally, importing critical raw materials such as polysilicon, acquiring solar manufacturers abroad, and investing in third countries with ready capability. Importantly, the domestic market was treated with great importance while promoting exports.