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The Largest Solar Power Plant in the World

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The largest solar power plant in the world is located in California’s Mojave Desert and is made up of over 930,000 mirrors that convert the sun’s heat into electricity. The plant has a gross capacity of 392 megawatts (MW). It deploys 173,500 heliostats, each with two mirrors focusing solar energy on boilers located on three centralized solar power towers.
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Safeguard Duty on Solar Units in SEZs and Other Policy Highlights from December 2018

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The month of December was a busy one for the domestic renewable sector, with a series of orders issued by various state and central agencies, especially the state electricity regulatory commissions. However, the highlight of the month remained the notification from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry stating that the solar module and cell manufacturers in India that are operating in special economic zones (SEZs) will not benefit from the levy of 25 percent safeguard duty on solar imports. These units will have to pay safeguard duty for the modules and cells produced by them and utilized for solar projects in India.

Here is a roundup of key policy announcements made by central government and state agencies in the renewable energy sector in the month of December 2018:


The Ministry of Power (MoP) announced the ECO Niwas Samhita 2018, which is the Energy Conservation Building Code for residential buildings (ECBC-R). The implementation of this code is expected to boost energy efficiency in the residential sector, its occupants, and the larger environment by promoting energy efficiency in the design and construction of homes, apartments, and townships.

The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC)  issued an order stating that the introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) that came into effect from July 1, 2017 will constitute a change in law event for the transmission service providers in India.

The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) issued an order extending the scheduled commercial operating date for 72 MW of grid-connected solar photovoltaic projects. The commission was examining a petition filed by Welspun Energy Private Limited against the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI).

With the goal to facilitate the widespread adoption of electric vehicles (EV) in the country, the Ministry of Power announced guidelines and standards for the development of electric vehicle charging infrastructure in India.


The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) issued a memorandum for the implementation of public procurement in renewable energy sector giving preference to ‘Make in India’ products. This is in response to the central government’s order, issued by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) to promote manufacturing and production of goods and services in India in order to improve income and employment in the country.

The MNRE also amended the guidelines for the implementation of its scheme under which the government aims to develop 5 GW of solar projects with Viability Gap Funding (VGF) under the fourth batch of the National Solar Mission (NSM) Phase-II.

Moreover, the agency amended two clauses in the policy to support the promotion of biomass-based cogeneration projects in sugar mills and other industries in the country up to March 2020. MNRE had announced the program in May 2018.


The Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) set the generic tariff for grid-connected solar rooftop units between 1 kW and 10 kW installed by domestic consumers in the state. While the generic tariff without capital subsidy has been fixed at ₹4.15 (~$0.06)/kWh, the tariff with capital subsidy will be ₹3.08 (~0.044)/kWh.

The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) approved the competitive bidding process for the long-term procurement of power from wind-solar hybrid projects in the state. The MSEDCL had also proposed an upper tariff ceiling of ₹2.75 (~$0.039)/kWh and a PPA tenure of 25 years.

The MERC has also approved the competitive bidding process for the long-term procurement of 1 GW power from floating solar projects which will be established on the state’s Ujjani Dam. The MSEDCL had proposed that after the scheduled commissioning date, if the project is ready but the necessary power evacuation infrastructure beyond delivery point is not ready, no compensation will be permissible to the generator.

The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC)  issued draft guidelines to implement a group net-metering and a virtual net-metering framework under the Delhi Solar Policy 2016. According to the draft, the purpose of this group net-metering framework is to help maximize the utilization of rooftop space for solar energy generation for consumers with multiple buildings and service connections.

The Uttarakhand Electricity Regulatory Commission (UERC) issued a draft order regarding the review of benchmark capital cost for solar PV, solar thermal, grid-interactive rooftop, and small solar PV projects to be applicable for the financial year (FY) 2019-20.

The Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission (TNERC) rejected the plea made by Neyveli Lignite Corporation India Limited (NLCIL) for a tariff protection of ₹4.41 (~$0.062)/kWh for 400 MW solar power projects under force majeure clauses. The commission has agreed on tariff of ₹3.05 (~$0.043)/kWh (with AD benefit) for these projects.

Source : Mercomindia

adminSafeguard Duty on Solar Units in SEZs and Other Policy Highlights from December 2018
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Supreme Court Allows Government to Levy 25% Safeguard Duty on Solar Imports

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Orissa High Court had stayed the proceedings on safeguard duty imposition

India will soon begin with the imposition of safeguard duty on solar cells and modules which had been put on hold by the government. In a significant order, the Supreme Court of India has made it clear that safeguard duty will be levied effective July 30, 2018. Through this interim order, the apex court of the country has nullified the Orissa High Court’s stay order on levy of safeguard duty on imported solar cells and modules.

According to Mercom’s source at the Supreme Court, “The Ministry of Finance, Government of India, had moved the apex court seeking relief from the stay order put on the levy of safeguard duty on solar cells and modules by the Orissa High Court. This is an interim order and the next hearing is scheduled for October. Basically, this paves the way for levy of duty while the case is being deliberated by the apex body.”

The Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) had recommended levy of 25 percent safeguard duty on solar cell imports from China and Malaysia for the first year, followed by a phased down approach for a second year. In the first six months of the second year, a safeguard duty of 20 percent will be payable by exporters to India and in the latter half of the second year, exporters will pay a safeguard duty of 15 percent.

Per an industry source aware of the development, “Supreme Court has stayed the stay order by Orissa High Court in case of Safeguard duty. Ministry of Finance had petitioned in the Supreme Court against the stay order passed by Orissa High Court on the order imposing safeguard duty on July 30, 2018. The resulting implication is that solar imports from July 30th may attract a safeguard duty of 25 percent and all the developers who had their solar module shipments released by providing bonds may now have to pay the safeguard duty.”

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Around 69,784 MW of renewable energy capacity has been installed in the country as on 31.03.2018

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Renewable energy installations in the country are progressively increasing and do not appear to be facing any major challenges

The renewable energy sector in India is attracting companies from across the world

In the year 2016-17, the aggregate capacity of around 11,322 MW of renewable energy was installed in the country, and in the year 2017-18, aggregate capacity of around 11,887 MW was installed. Thus, renewable energy installations in the country are progressively increasing and do not appear to be facing any major challenges at present.


There is no reliable formal institution which carries out rankings on renewable energy country attractive index. However, there are private agencies who carry out such rankings. The renewable energy sector in India is consistently growing and continues to remain attractive for investors from across the world.

 Solar tariffs in India saw the lowest ever level of Rs.2.44 per unit in reverse auctions carried out by Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) in May 2017, for 200 MW and again in July, 2018, for 600 MW.

Renewable energy sector in India is attracting companies from across the world. However, as at the stage of auction, the details regarding their fund tie-up for the project are not required to be submitted, this ministry has no information about the capital structure /composition of the companies participating in the renewable energy auctions. Thereby indicating the absence of any major challenges to low solar tariffs in India.

 A total of around 69,784 MW of renewable energy capacity has been installed in the country as on 31.03.2018 from all renewable energy sources which includes around 34,145 MW from Wind, around 21,651 MW from solar, around 4,486 MW from Small Hydro Power and around 9,502 MW from Bio-power.

 The Government has set a target of installing 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by the year 2022 which includes 100 GW from solar, 60 GW from wind, 10 GW from biomass and 5 GW from small hydro capacity. So far, 71.33 GW of renewable energy capacity has been installed in the country up to June 2018. To achieve the balance target of 103.67 GW, investment of around 76 billion US$ has been estimated at present capital cost which includes 53.20 billion US$ as debt and 22.80 billion US$ as equity for the debt-equity ratio of 70:30 as per Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) norms.

This information was provided by Shri R.K. Singh, Union Minister of State (IC) Power and New & Renewable Energy in written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha today.

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Kerala : How a Rooftop Solar Power Plant saved lives in Times of Deluge

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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : It was five years ago that Dr AP Sreekumar, a staunch environmentalist, installed a rooftop solar power plant at his house in Chengannur in Kerala’s Alappuzha district. Little did he know then that one day it would help save lives during the devastating floods in the state.

When the electricity board had turned off power distribution at Chengannur to prevent further danger following the unprecedented rain and deluge, Sreekumar’s house in the locality remained lit up. It sheltered five families from the neighbourhood.

It became a centre from where the refugees sent SOS messages, everyone charged their phones and remained connected to the outside world. “Even though we had enough power, we tried our best to reduce the usage as we did not know how long the uncertainty would prevail,” Sreekumar said. The doctor could also alert the local youths, who were carrying out rescue operations along with police, fire and rescue personnel, and save the lives of an elderly man and his son stranded in the neighbourhood. Fortunately, the house was not submerged as it is located on a higher plane.

Indukantham Hospital run by Sreekumar, which is again solar powered, had sheltered five other families, including that of two in-patients. Sreekumar and wife Dr Lakshmi Sreekumar had administered first aid to many fishermen who were injured in rescue operations. After the flood waters receded, the couple joined the medical camp at Chengannur.

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Age Of Solar : After Swachh Bharat, India Needs A Swachh Energy Campaign

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In May 2014, India’s solar-generation capacity stood at a mere 2,650 MW. For 2022, the Government of India is targeting 100,000 MW.

In the fight against the rising global temperatures and change in climate patterns, countries must inculcate both short-term and long-term solutions. Investing in nuclear energy, elaborate research and development, and gradual exit from coal-fuelled industries are ideal options for the long-term. However, to get things going in the short term, investments in renewables are warranted.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been vocal about his concerns on climate change. In May 2014, India’s solar-generation capacity (SGC) stood at a mere 2,650 megawatt (MW). Four years later, it totals over 21,000 MW. India’s SGC saw an increase of more than 100 per cent in 2015-16. By January 2018, India had achieved its goal of 20,000 MW four years ahead of the target. As on July 2018, the SGC is more than 23,000 MW. For 2022, the Government of India is targeting 100,000 MW.

India’s Solar Irradiance Map. Irradiance is a measurement of solar power and is defined as the rate at which solar energy falls onto a surface. (Wikimedia Commons)


At the end of 2017, India’s SGC was a little over 18,000 MW, behind Italy with 19,700 MW, Germany with 42,000 MW, Japan with 49,000 MW, United States with 51,000 MW, and China with 131,000 MW. For India alone, the average price of solar electricity has dropped 18 per cent as compared to that by coal.

India’s geography makes it ideal for solar energy. With more than 300 days of sunlight, there is enough reason for the country to inculcate solar energy. Also, with a nation aiming for a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of more than 8 per cent, a consistent supply of power is essential without relying too much on oil and coal imports.

In the northern region, Rajasthan registered the highest solar power capacity with more 2,250 MW at the end October 2017. For the same period, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand recorded capacity of 876 MW, 510 MW, and 250 MW respectively. Aided by a favourable climate, the states are now harnessing solar power for their energy needs.

To put things in perspective, Rajasthan’s solar power capacity at 2,250 MW was more than that of Switzerland (1,900 MW), Chile (1,800 MW), South Africa (1,800 MW), twice than that of Austria (1,250 MW) and Israel (1,100 MW).

In the western region, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, aided by a favourable climate, have registered a solar power capacity of 1,290 MW and 1,140 MW, followed by Maharashtra with 515 MW. In 2017, between March and October, Madhya Pradesh witnessed a 50 per cent increase in its solar power capacity.

However, regarding solar power, the southern region outshines other states. Telangana alone has a capacity of 2,570 MW, followed by Andhra Pradesh with 2,140 MW, Tamil Nadu with 1,710 MW, and Karnataka with 1,500 MW. For 2017 alone, the four states have more capacity than Australia, South Korea, and Spain.

Given the lack of sunlight in the north-eastern regions of India, solar capacity remains low here, with Assam leading with 12 MW. For Meghalaya, the capacity is only 0.06 MW.

The numbers show further enhancement from October 2017 to June 2018. Karnataka, India’s leading solar state is set to have over 5,000 MW in terms of installed solar capacity. Rajasthan’s capacity increased to 2,290 MW by the end of June 2018.

For a nation constrained by power cuts seven decades after its independence, renewables offer an ideal solution. By the end of 2012, over 4,600,000 solar lanterns and close to 1,000,000 solar-powered home lights had been installed. By 2022, the government aims to sell 20 million solar lights, offering a subsidy of 40 per cent.

India intends to go big on solar energy, and rightfully so. Already, more than 60 solar radiation resource assessment stations have been installed to evaluate India’s potential. Given that the government aims to have 100,000 MW capacity by 2022 alone, it would be ideal to harness energy from areas favoured by constant sunlight across the year. Most of these stations, thus, have been set up in Rajasthan, Gujarat, and parts of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

The solar story goes beyond numbers, however. India, in its pursuit of 100,000 MW solar generation capacity will be faced with many challenges. Firstly, India’s weak electrical grids, distribution losses, and the monetary burden operators find themselves under adds to the strain. Two, to harness solar energy, India must invest heavily towards efficient storage of energy. While research on batteries has lowered the cost of storage, increased the transportation feasibility, and enhanced life, there is a lot that must be done to ensure effective implementation of solar energy on a national level.

(Abhijit Kar Gupta/Wikimedia Commons)
The world today is at a tipping point when it comes to climate change. While developed and developing nations can keep arguing about who should do more to combat climate change and which government has the right to continue with its use of fossil fuels, the consequences do not look at the size of an economy before wrecking havoc. Thus, irrespective of where the origins of global warming were, it is in the betterment of nations like India to invest in renewables like solar energy.

So, how does India go about the challenges? Firstly, the authorities must look beyond the grid. Coal, in the long-term, cannot serve as an excuse to get power to rural India. Instead, research must be undertaken to developed localised grids to ensure minimum losses and maximum gains. If 400-million people in rural India can be helped with affordable options in solar energy, they shall have enough incentive to discard the use of kerosene, coal, and even wood for their energy needs.

Second, people in the urban regions must be made active participants of this movement. Given how housing societies and corporations form a core of the residential areas in cities like Bengaluru, Pune, Chandigarh, Noida, Gurgaon, and Mumbai, state governments should pursue them to inculcate solar energy options. With some of these private groups housing more than a thousand families, a significant change could be witnessed in a few years.

Three, if the government finds it hard to pursue civilians, how about starting with government buildings and residential areas housing government employees or civil servants? For a nation that still struggles to look beyond the conventional means of generating electricity, the government may have to do some heavy lifting in terms of setting an example. After Swachh Bharat, perhaps, it is time for Swachh Energy.

There is always the question of China when it is about renewable energy. Given the country is trying to recreate an export-driven economy based on renewables, the solar industry is highly subsidised. Thus, there is an excess production of solar cells, panels, batteries and other essential components, leaving the local manufacturers distraught.

India can tackle this problem in two ways. One, it imposes harsh tariffs like the US has or two, invests heavily in research, and ensure gradual phasing out of Chinese solar products from the Indian market. While the investments in research and development may take a few years before yielding any results, India’s pursuit of clean energy in the solar realm should not suffer for lack of innovation on the domestic front.

From agriculture to electrifying rural India, and from urban cities reeling under power cuts to moving towards a Swachh Energy Bharat, there is enough incentive for India to inculcate solar energy as a short-term solution against climate change. Already, the foundation for International Solar Alliance has served as the ideal start. However, India will have to take giant strides across the 2020s across renewables and clean energy options, along with exploring the nuclear option for the long-term. By the end of the 2020s, the question should not be of helping 1.4 billion people with electricity, but clean electricity.

In the age of solar, more than numbers, India should look at an energy transformation that is too significant to be measured in numbers alone. With a target of generating 100 GW of solar energy, the focus should be on offering 1,000 million people clean energy options to power their houses – an accomplishment worthy of a celebration.

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CEA Working On Optimized Power System Cost For 2030

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The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has undertaken a study to ascertain the cheapest power mix in 2030, its Chairman Pankaj Batra said.

“We are working on what should be the ‘Ideal System Cost’ in 2030 and a report is expected in a month’s time,” Batra told .

The report will try to find out the cheapest power mix with grid stability in 2030, and would give a direction to the power sector developers, he said.

The outcome of the study will also act as components to the regulators in determining power tariffs.

According to estimates by the Ministry of Power, the share of renewable energy in India’s electricity mix is set to increase to around 55 per cent by 2030.

At present, renewables account for nearly 20 per cent of the total installed capacity.

India has committed to produce about 40 per cent of its installed electricity capacity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030. It has also set a target of adding 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022.

Meanwhile, the CEA is also closely working with stakeholders in building a cost-effective power evacuation infrastructure in Leh and Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir.

“The region holds potential for 35,000 MW of solar power. We need to build a cost-effective evacuation transmission network before the solar projects are awarded there,” Batra said.

It can be executed by a combination of underground cables and towers installed by airlifting, he said.

The Jammu and Kashmir government has already signed an MoU with the Centre for development of two mega solar parks with a total capacity of 7,500 MW in the Ladakh region.

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No Change In Solar Safeguard Duty Until Next Hearing In Odisha High Court

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The government will consider changes to the safeguard duty imposed on solar cells imported from China and Malaysia only after the next hearing in the Odisha High Court that had stayed the levy, three people with the knowledge of the matter told BloombergQuint.

The government will submit its notification to the court along with the reasons cited by the Directorate General of Trade Remedies to increase the safeguard duty in its report, said the first of the three officials. It will then decide whether to roll it back or not, the official said.

As of today, the notification to hike the duty stays, the second official quoted earlier said.

On a petition filed by Acme Solar Holdings, the Odisha High Court ordered on July 23 that the central government should not issue any notification to impose the duty. The Department of Revenue, however, imposed the safeguard duty on July 30.

The government didn’t receive a copy of the judgment, and it was also not available on the court’s website when the gazette notification was issued, the officials quoted earlier said.

The court will now hear the matter on Aug. 20, according to its order—BloombergQuint has obtained a copy of it.

Emailed queries to the Ministry of Finance remained unanswered.

India imposed the safeguard duty for two years effective July 30 after Indian Solar Manufacturers’ Association filed an application late last year, saying the domestic industry sustained heavy losses due to a surge in solar cell imports. A July 26 parliamentary panel report also said the dumping of Chinese solar panels resulted in loss of nearly two lakh jobs as about half of India’s domestic industry capacity remained idle.

A levy of 25 percent has been imposed for imports in the first year starting July 30, and 20 percent and 15 percent for the two subsequent six-month periods, respectively. But confusion persists over the notification’s status due to the court order.

Forum Shopping?

The Madras High Court had dismissed a similar petition in April that challenged the Directorate General of Safeguards’ recommendation of 70 percent safeguard duty on import of solar panels and modules. The petitioner, Shapoorji Pallonji Infrastructure Ltd., claimed that had not been given enough time to respond during the investigation.

Solar developers are moving different courts to seek a judgment in their favour, the official said.

Acme had earlier moved Delhi High Court challenging a 70 percent safeguard duty proposed by Directorate General of Safeguards on solar equipment. The court disposed of the petition as the government counsel informed the court that DG Safeguards recommendations were not binding. The petitioners were told by the judges that they could move a fresh petition if the government takes such a step, according to the court’s order.

However, after the duty was hiked, the petitioner moved the Odisha, and not Delhi High Court, said the first official.

Questioning the use of term “forum shopping”, Shashi Shekhar, vice-chairman of Acme Solar Holdings, said it’s unfair to impose safeguard duty without any notice.

Acme Solar Holdings, which participated in the Indian solar auctions in 2018, and won bids to implement capacity of 1,325 megawatts. Shekhar said the duty will result in tariffs rising by nearly Rs 3 from the current Rs 2.44 per unit.

Solar capacity addition may not exceed 30,000 MW, he said, adding: “Utilities won’t buy such expensive power unless they’re incentivised.”

Shekhar said solar developers have urged the government to provide interest subvention, or grant, of 2 percent to domestic solar cells manufacturers. “The government can reserve projects in which solar cells made by domestic companies can be used for rural electrification.”

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SEZ Solar Units Hit By Blind Spot in Safeguard Duty

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NEW DELHI: Lack of clarity on whether the 25% safeguard duty (SGD) on imported cells and modules will apply to solar manufacturing plants in special economic zones (SEZs), which account for 70% of domestic capacity, have got major domestic players worried over the future of their investments in such units.

The finance ministry last month notified 25% SGD on imported solar cells and modules to check dumping by Chinese-owned companies in the mainland and Malaysia. This was done on the recommendations of Directorate General of Trade Remedies. The notification did not clarify whether the duty will apply to items supplied to the local market, called ‘domestic tariff area’ in industry parlance. Since SEZ units use imported components for solar manufacturing, the companies say the ambiguity in the notification could hit their investments and cause loss of jobs.

The Adani group, Vikram Solar, Web sol Energy and Renews are among the major investors who have set up solar manufacturing facilities in SEZs. The manufacturers have now knocked on the finance ministry’s doors to clarify that SGD will apply only on the value of imported cells used by SEZ units to manufacture modules that are then supplied to DTA. They have also requested the ministry to clarify that the SGD will not apply to solar modules manufactured and supplied to DTA by using imported wafers or other raw material that are not within the scope of DGTR’s anti-dumping probe.

The National Solar Mission envisages 100 giga watt GW of solar power generation capacity by 2022 and a total domestic manufacturing capacity of 4-5 giga watt (GW) by 2020. India has commissioned close to 15,000 MW of solar power capacity and 5,000 MW more is at various stages of execution. But industry data pegs the current manufacturing capacity at 3,164 mega watt (MW) for solar cells and 8,398 MW for solar modules.

This has led to a skewed market and opened the gates for dumping. There are a handful of manufacturers, while solar power project developers have mushroomed, leaving the field wide open for Chinese manufacturers, who have failed to set up plants in India.

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India Imposes 25% Safeguard Duty on Solar Imports

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The Indian government has imposed a safeguard duty of 25% on solar imports from China and Malaysia for two years. The Ministry of Finance (Department of Revenue) levied the duty based on the final recommendations proposed by the Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR). While most industry players are dismayed, believing project costs could “immediately” go up by 15%, others are more optimistic.

In its report, the DGTR concluded that increased imports of solar PV cells in India have caused “serious injury” and “threaten to cause serious injury” to domestic producers. The safeguard duty of 25% on PV modules and cells will now come into force from July 30, 2018.

The notification was issued by the Ministry, despite Orissa High Court’s stay order on the safeguard duty proceedings until August 20, 2018.

According to the notification, a 25% safeguard duty has been imposed between July 30 2018 and July 29, 2019. It will gradually come down to 20% between July 30, 2019 and January 29, 2020, and 15% from January 30, 2020, to July 29, 2020.

India’s import of cells has jumped from 1,275 MW in 2014-15, to 9,790 MW in 2017-18. Imports from China and Malaysia account for nearly 90% of this total. India, meanwhile, produced just 842 MW solar cells in 2017-18.

Industry reaction

Gaurav Mathur, Director, Trina Solar India, calls the imposition of duties “highly detrimental” to the country’s ambitious solar plans. “Instead of imposing duties, the government should provide incentives to domestic and foreign companies to manufacture in India,” Mathur told pv magazine. With more than 1 GW in total shipments, the Chinese firm was the largest solar PV module supplier to India in 2017.

“It is a very regressive step. Currently, India does not have enough manufacturing capability and 25% duty will certainly lead to hike in price of solar panels and consequently, solar tariff. It will, however, lead to short-term gain for India’s top domestic manufacturers,” said Adarsh Das, Co-founder & CEO, SunSource Energy.

“A two-year horizon is too narrow a window for any company to step in and begin manufacturing locally,” he added.

“In one stroke, the Indian solar industry has been pushed back by a couple of years. The cost of solar projects will straightaway go up by 14-15%, which would not only derail the ongoing projects but will also dampen the new pipeline,” Gagan Vermani, Founder & CEO, Mysun, told pv magazine.

“We can expect an almost immediate slowdown in the solar industry and that would also have a huge impact on the large number of solar jobs in the downstream business,” added Vermani.

Vikram Solar was also critical of the move. Gyanesh Chaudhary, MD & CEO commented, “The Safeguard Duty Notification issued by The Ministry of Finance does not provide exemption to the projects which have already been auctioned out (approximately 20-25 GW ). This will completely derail the solar industry. To add on to that, the notification does not provide any relief to Solar cells and modules manufactured in SEZ and cleared to DTA. Currently, 40% of Solar Module Manufacturing Units and 60% of Solar Cells Manufacturing Units are located in SEZs.”

He continued, “In light of the SEZ issue, the notification defeats the very purpose of Safeguard Duty, which is to protect and promote domestic industry. While it may seem logical that SEZs should be exempted, considering that the whole purpose of applying Safeguard duty is to protect domestic industry against imports so why should they pay these duties, unfortunately the policy makers seem to be in dilemma.”

Waaree Energies, which has 1.5 GW of solar PV module manufacturing capacity in India, however, calls the decision “a welcome respite. “The recent developments kept the manufacturing players on the fence, but we are glad to receive the much-awaited clarity. The move will pave the way for Indian manufacturers to showcase their capabilities,” said Sunil Rathi, Director, Waaree Energies.

Global repercussions

In her latest column, solar analyst, Corinne Lin stated, “After the recommended 25% duty, China’s module costs will still be lower than India’s. As a result, whether the safeguard duty can protect Indian manufacturers or not, is not clear. However, it will negatively impact India‘s PV project develoment, such as raising the construction costs of PV power plants, or reducing the efficency of modules.”

She continued, “For 2019, China’s demand is likely to stay as low as this year, and it will have difficulties bouncing back. Therefore, the global market demand will need India’s growth, in order to once again exceed 100 GW.

“Should the safeguard recommendation become a reality, manufacturers planning to establish production lines in India will speed up their progress; also, the higher costs of PV projects will affect the Indian government’s planned installation volume.”

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