New Delhi | Bengaluru: Domestic solar manufacturers have welcomed the move to extend safeguard duty on Chinese equipment, although project developers said there should be a clear long-term policy.
The All India Solar Industries Association also said the duty should be increased to at least 50% from 15%.
“For investment in manufacturing, investors need visibility of business and protection against dumping for at least seven to eight years,” Hitesh Doshi, chairman of AISIA, told ET.
The National Solar Energy Federation of India’s CEO Subrahmanyam Pulipaka echoed the sentiment, saying: “We support any move that protects India’s domestic manufacturing interests.”
The Directorate General of Trade Remedies recommended the imposition of safeguard duty on Chinese solar imports for one more year at 14.9% for the first six months from July 30 and 14.5% for the following six months. While the local industry wanted the duty to be extended for four years, the directorate said a one-year extension would be adequate.
Many developers had expected basic customs duty (BCD) to replace safeguard duty at the end of this month. Power and renewable energy minister RK Singh recently told stakeholders that BCD of 20-25% on solar equipment would be imposed in August. “The only thing we have said ad-nauseum is to please give clarity. This is confusing and it doesn’t help anyone,” a developer said, requesting anonymity.
“We await clarity from the government on long-term policy interventions that have been in the realm of discussions, on creating a level playing field for domestic manufacturing of solar PV in India,” a leading panel manufacturer said. “Short-term measures like safeguard duty and the current recommendation on a limited extension will have a limited impact on creation of a truly self-reliant PV (photovoltaic) supply chain in India.”
India’s current manufacturing capacity is estimated to be 3,000 MW for cells and 10,000 MW for modules, but demand is expected to reach 20,000 MW in some years.