According to reports, as soon as a solar developer gets an order to set up a solar rooftop system in the city , they dial a Chinese company for the panels to be shipped to India. Despite the distance and logistics, the panels are far cheaper–with a difference of Rs 5 to Rs 6 per panel–than what a manufacturer in Noida or any other part of the country would quote. It takes about 30 to 45 days for the consignment to be delivered, but there are still no takers for locally-made ones.
So, while cities like Delhi are gearing up for ambitious solar rooftop projects, the solar panel and cell manufacturing industry is dying a slow death. The manufacturers have recently petitioned the government to impose an “anti-dumping duty” on the cells and panels imported from China, US, Taiwan and elsewhere as they have flooded the market.
A solar cell manufacturing company based out of Delhi that has its factory in Andhra Pradesh has stopped making cells altogether. “We have the same technology. In fact, our products are of superior quality but the government has put no checks on imports. I read with great interest Delhi’s draft solar policy –of installing 2 GW by 2025–but will it all be with imported panels? We have mailed the Delhi government our concerns,” said Arun Mishra, member of the Solar Energy Society of India and vice-president of a solar products manufacturing company. Delhi’s solar policy mandates all Delhi government buildings to install solar rooftop systems within three years of its notification. “We, as developers, and even state governments will opt for the lowest bidder. Indian manufacturers are expensive. It will take a long time to bridge this gap,” said a manufacturer currently developing rooftop projects on government buildings in Delhi.
In fact, solar manufacturers have petitioned the ministry of commerce to impose an “anti-dumping duty” a second time. “The last time around, the ministry of commerce recommended our demand to the ministry of finance but it did not take action. We have filed a petition again in September. While the number of solar projects is rising nationwide, the import base is also expanding massively . It’s a global phenomenon but US, Europe, China all have antidumping duty to address the problem,” Rahul Gupta, secretary , Indian Solar Manufacturers Association, said.
The commerce ministry had recommended an antidumping duty of 0.11 to 0.81 US dollars per watt on solar cells imported from the US, China, Taiwan and Malaysia.The only time private entities source India-made panels is when they are working on a government project. Projects under Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission mandatorily use locally made products.
Activists have also been campaigning against US reservations regarding India’s local content requirements under Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission. “The US continues to fight a WTO case against India’s domestic content requirements for the solar sector, undermining India’s shift to renewable energy and the fight against climate change. We had written an open letter to the prime minister on this. The Indian solar market is struggling and enough jobs are not being created,” Pujarini Sen of Greenpeace India said.
“We have been told there are also quality issues with locally made solar panels and cells. Plus, even after paying import duty Chinese panels are cheaper. We are not sure how state governments can help address this,” said an expert associated with developing Delhi’s solar policy.
Source : Panchabuta, 19th October
URL : http://panchabuta.com/2015/10/19/china-rules-indias-solar-power-market-preference-for-foreign-made-panels-has-firms-struggling/