Indian solar energy industry remains divided even as the government has moved closer to a decision on whether or not to impose anti-dumping duty on imports of solar cells and modules from China, Malaysia and Taipei.
The Directorate General of Antidumping and Allied Duties (DGAD) has called a hearing for its antidumping investigation into solar equipment from these countries on December 12. The hearing, to be chaired by additional secretary Sunil Kumar, was first scheduled for November 30, but has been postponed on request from legal representatives of the domestic industry, DGAD said in a notice on Tuesday.
The authority had initiated the investigation in July after manufacturers body Indian Solar Manufacturers Association (ISMA) filed a petition arguing that import of solar equipment from China, Taiwan and Malaysia is hurting the domestic industry.
Solar project developers, however, are concerned that their costs will rise if the government imposed antidumping duty on imported solar equipment, and make recently signed projects unviable as prices of imported cells and modules may shoot up.
“Antidumping duty would not help the country in long run as the additional duty shall increase solar power tariffs and reduce demand for solar power from discoms who are the ultimate buyer of this electricity,” said Sanjay Aggarwal, managing director at solar power developer Fortum India.
“While the petitions would be taken up on merit and outcome will be based on data provided, such duties if levied should be exempt from projects already under construction or awarded,” he said. “A suitable policy should enable this instead of developers second guessing the outcomes,” Aggarwal said.
Domestic equipment manufacturers, however, argue that an anti-dumping duty structure will provide them a level-playing field to compete with Chinese and southeast Asian counterparts.
“An antidumping duty on imports from countries which are undercutting prices and thus proving to be harming the domestic industry, is a positive step in creating a level playing field in India,” said Ashish Khanna, CEO at Tata Power Solar.
“Domestic solar manufacturers are currently at an unfair disadvantage against subsidised solar products from various countries, primarily China. Therefore, wherever the developers have an option of buying from India or outside, other than those projects that come under DCR (domestic content requirement), domestic cells and modules have not been able to compete with the heavily subsidised Chinese products,” he said.
Ratul Puri, chairman at independent power producer Hindustan Power, said antidumping duty will cause little impact on the solar industry, and instead help create a robust manufacturing ecosystem in the country.
Vinay Rustagi, managing director at solar consultancy firm Bridge to India, said an antidumping duty will help domestic manufacturers, but a 20-30% duty could push solar tariffs up by 50 paise per unit in the upcoming auctions. Also, solar power projects signed few months back may face the risk of being abandoned, he said. Read more
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