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Solar developers call for no anti-dumping duty on panels

According to reports, miffed at the prospect of the Ministry of Commerce notifying anti-dumping duties on imported solar panels very soon, solar power producers say that something is not right in the unseemly haste in the Ministry’s move.

Last week, the Directorate General of Anti Dumping and Allied Duties brought out with its ‘disclosure statement’, in which it said that it concluded that the “dumped imports” of solar panels from the subject countries, (China, Taiwan, Malaysia and the US) had “increased in absolute terms as also in relation to production and consumption of the goods in India.”

Following such a disclosure, the solar power producers apprehend that a formal notification is just around the corner.

“Why cannot the Directorate General of Anti Dumping wait until the new Minister for Commerce is sworn in and he has an opportunity to review the issue,” asked the head of one large solar power company, who requested not to be named.

The Association of Power Producers, which also has companies that solar power, has put the sentiment in somewhat milder terms in a letter it gave today to J S Deepak, the Designated Authority, Directorate General of Anti Dumping and Allied Duties.

“We request that the final recommendations be deferred till another exhaustive hearing, which is representative of the views of solar lndependent power producers, is concluded,” the letter says. “This will enable the new Government to take a call after duty considering the views expressed by all the stakeholders.”

The ‘solar war’ in India between those who manufacture solar panels and those who use the panels to produce electricity, has reached a crescendo in the recent weeks, apparently in the context of the imminence of the anti-dumping duties.

Both sides have ratcheted up their lobbying efforts, including reaching out to the media. “The findings of the investigation should be respected. Data, after being compiled and analysed by the US, EU and India, have shown similar results. Indian manufacturers have been bleeding and such a step will only ensure fair business opportunities,” says Mr H R Gupta, Managing Director, IndoSolar Ltd, and a member of the Indian Solar Manufacturers’ Association.

On their part, the power producers say their letter to the Directorate that their views “have not been adequately and appropriately considered” and as a result the “injury assessment” has turned out to be one-sided.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has thrown its weight behind the power producers, taking a view that the reservation of 375 MW of capacity under the National Solar Mission’s Phase II projects, gives enough market for the domestic manufacturers.

The solar war has turned out to be intense, with the manufacturers accusing the developers of being opportunistic to the detriment of developing a manufacturing base in the country, and the power producers saying the domestic manufacturers have neither the capacity nor the quality. They stress that at a time when several projects are to be awarded under both the central and state governments, any imposition of duties would raise solar prices and derail the whole initiative.

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