Solar equipment companies and power producers at ease with government help

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MUMBAI: Solar power producers and equipment makers, who were at war over the issue of anti-dumping duties on imports, have lauded the Modi government’s move to balance the needs of both sides by protecting the interest of local suppliers without imposing fresh duties. 

“The domestic solar manufacturing sector has been struggling in the last few years and facing losses and low utilisation due to subsidised imports. However, the new government comes with a fresh perspective and approach and has offered to support domestic industry on multiple fronts even without imposing any anti-dumping duty,” Ajay Goel, CEO, Tata Power Solar told ET.

“For instance, the government is in the process of deploying several policies and programmes for domestic manufacturers and we are confident that under its leadership India’s solar manufacturing industry will thrive to compete with the best in the world,” he added. Days before the Modi government came to power the commerce ministry had recommended imposing duty in the range of $0.11-0.81 per watt on solar cells and panels imported from the US, China, Malaysia and Taipei.

Domestic solar power producers had resisted this tooth-and-nail and argued that it will raise costs prohibitively and discourage states from buying solar power as tariffs will also increase. They are a happy lot now. 

Source: Economic Times

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“This is a very prudent move as the government has balanced the concerns of producers and manufacturers by removing these duties on solar imports and mandating that the equipment needs of solar power projects of PSUs like NTPC will be serviced by local solar equipment manufacturers,” said Sumant Sinha, CEO, ReNew Power.

“The government’s move of discarding the antidumping duty proposal is a game-changer for the solar industry. The important imperative at this juncture is to ensure balanced growth for the entire industry,” said Vineet Mittal, vice-chairman, Welspun Renewables. Domestic manufacturers who were earlier pushing for duties have also changed their tune after getting concrete assurances from the government.

“The government is now fully aware of all the stress and thus has clearly mandated that all government procurement in the solar power sector from government entities like NTPC, railways and defence will be catered to by local manufacturers like. For example, the new NTPC contract for 1000 MW of solar capacity will be 100% serviced by local manufacturers,” said Hulas Rahul Gupta, MD, Indosolar.

Senior government officials also told ET that this is also a key diplomatic decision taken by the government to strengthen economic ties with the US especially in the wake of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming US visit. The US has dragged India to the WTO with respect to the domestic sourcing norms for its national solar mission.

“This move is part of our efforts to incentivise solar power across the country but our focus remains on making India a global manufacturing hub for solar power panels, equipment and tools,” said Narendra Taneja, national convener, energy cell, BJP.

“The solar power sector has the potential to create half a million jobs in generation, distribution, manufacturing and training.” 
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