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Don’t impose anti-dumping duty, say solar power producers

According to reports, the Solar Independent Power Producers Association (SIPPA) has petitioned the Government not to go ahead with imposition of anti-dumping duty on Solar PV modules in the larger interest of the country and instead put in place a long-term policy to ensure best outcomes for the solar industry.

In a representation to the Department of Energy, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and other related departments, SIPPA said India has achieved the lowest costs of solar energy creating a ripple effect among the financers and investors at the international level. Now the time is ripe to outline a global and integrated energy technology revolution which was essential to address the intertwined challenges of energy, security and climate change and at the same time meeting the growing energy needs of the world.

In fact, a recent research report by the Centre for Energy Environment and Water (CEEW) has pointed out that very few Indian developers have adopted Cystalline Technology due to the import restrictions under the Solar Mission 2020 initiative. “Though there are numerous advanced Crystalline Silicon Technologies available the world over, the developers’ choice is restricted to domestically-manufactured solar PV panels in this category, leading to them adopting latest thin film technology. The solar project bidding activity conducted by MNRE has resulted in bringing down the tariff from Rs.17.91 to Rs.7.49 in a span of two years and resulting in benefit of Rs.399 billion to the end consumers,” the representation added.

It said due to increasing supply-demand inequality, the prices of solar modules fell drastically and reduced by more than 50 per cent in a span of one-and-a-half year. “This has naturally affected a couple of domestic manufacturers who were till such time exporting the modules to other countries. These domestic manufacturers are only cell-on-module converters who import cells from other countries and assembly them in modules. Therefore, the value addition by such manufacturers and amount of domestic jobs created is very little,” they petitioned. The estimated number of jobs created by solar manufacturing was -0.3 per MW, whereas installation of a solar project creates 55 jobs per MW.

The Indian manufactures of crystalline silicon based modules import all major raw materials like poly silicon waters and cells and the prices of such raw materials have also crashed due to the heightened demand-supply gap. “In such a situation imposition of anti-dumping duty on solar photovoltaic modules would be counter productive to the country’s solar aspirations. The domestic manufacturers are totally dependent on other countries for import of raw material, it would be detrimental to those manufacturers as any anti-dumping action would invite retaliatory action by imposition of higher export duties or ban on export of silicon waters and cells. No provisional or final anti-dumping duty should be imposed on solar photovoltaic modules,” SIPPA pleaded.

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