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Price gap between local and imported solar modules trouble manufacturers in Andhra Pradesh

According to reports, power holiday for three days in a week in Andhra Pradesh is proving beneficial to China and European solar module importers indirectly.

Though various module manufacturing companies are seeing an increase in number of enquires for solar modules, they are not sure if they would be converted into sales as cheaper options, in the form of imports from China, are available.

Importing finished modules attract no duties. On the other hand, the cost of module production for Indian companies is about 20 per cent higher due to local taxes. Many companies said are selling below cost of production.

According to Narender Surana, managing director of Surana Ventures, making solar photovoltaic modules, the domestic solar industry is struggling for existence. “We have been asking for an anti-dumping duty to be levied on Chinese and European imports for a level play for Indian companies,” he said adding that the solar photovoltaic module industry was operating at about 20 per cent of the total capacity due to lack of orders, he said.

In India, the installed capacity of modules is about 2,000 mw and the demand is about 1,000 mw. Out of this, about 800 mw is contributed by imports while remaining came from domestic players, he said adding that government should make mandatory use of a set quantum of domestic modules in projects.

“I can say we have not got a single bulk order due to price difference between Indian panels and the imported ones,” he told Financial Chronicle.

The company has been quoting around Rs 32 a watt to deal with import competition. It has plans to add a 60 mw solar cell facility and 10 mw solar farms depending on the market conditions.

According to Ravi K Chodagam, chief operating officer of Titan Energy Systems, which is into development and manufacture of solar photovoltaic modules, this is a bad phase to be a solar module manufacturer.

“On one hand, there is an opportunity for us to expand our markets due to shortage of power. And due to the same reason – shortage of power – we are not able to produce the modules,” he said explaining the dilemma of a solar module maker.

The good news is enquiries for captive solar plants from poultry, cement, agriculture and other segments are on the rise.

According to Venkat Rajaraman, chief executive officer of Solarsis, also a maker of solar photovoltaic modules, the enquiries for solar home systems have increased more than 100 per cent from AP and other power deficit states as well in the recent months. However, conversion of enquiries into sales was still far. Prices of solar products in general have fallen significantly in the last few quarters.

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