Should India impose anti-dumping duty on solar cells?

There has been no increase in installed capacity of solar power for past two months

By Aruna Kumarankandath
Published: Wednesday 02 July 2014


The Union power ministry has opposed the imposition of anti-dumping duty on imported solar cells.

In May this year, the Directorate General of Anti-Dumping & Allied Duties of the Department of Commerce presented its findings on the Anti-Dumping Investigation concerning imports of Solar Cells originating in or exported from Malaysia, China Chinese Taipei and the US. After an investigation stretching over 18 months, the directorate recommended imposition of a duty of US $0.11 to US $0.81 per watt on cells to help domestic manufacturers compete with the really cheap imports.

The power ministry is against this, claiming that the domestic manufacturers do not have adequate capacity to cater to the needs of the Indian solar market. Power Minister Piyush Goyal commented that the country has solar power equipment manufacturing capacity of 700-800 MW, which is inadequate in meeting the huge plans that the government has in expanding renewable energy sources.

Goyal also told mediapersons that it's a quasi-judicial process and that government would respect the process and take adequate measures to get the support of the finance ministry and the commerce ministry in this regard.

Meanwhile, two American senators, Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman, have said that the decision to impose duty on US solar cell and panels would put companies like First Solar at a competitive disadvantage. The senators have asked the Brack Obama administration to intervene.

Market downturn
While the debates continue, there is a significant downturn in solar installation in India. In the past two months, there has been no increase in installed capacity of solar. In the same period last year, 73 MW of solar power was installed.

Recently, SunEdison announced that it will not be pursuing the 20 MW project allocated under the Batch I Phase II of Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission in February 2014 under the Domestic Content Requirement (DCR) part of 750 MW allocations. SunEdison dropped the project following issues raised by domestic manufacturing supply in India. They have apprehension over supply shortfall and unviable prices of the domestic products available.

The recommendation of levying duties has affected the solar market in India. The question still is what would be the impact if the finance ministry announced the imposition of anti dumping duties. It has to be kept in mind that developing solar cells and panels manufacturing base should not be at the cost of stagnating growth in the solar sector in India.

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