Solar industry needs GST sops to meet mission targets: Stakeholders

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With over $4 billion lined up for investments in India’s solar industry, its viability depends much on exemptions continuing on related equipment under the proposed goods and services tax (GST) regime to power 4.8 GW of electricity generation, stakeholders maintain.GST seeks to simplify the complex network of state and central taxes by subsuming them into a single tax. But the renewable energy sector, currently enjoying several indirect tax exemptions, may be “caught unprepared” as the new regime proposes to withdraw most of the exemptions.“If solar cells and modules come in the list of standard GST rate and there is no exemption, we fear that the industry might be caught unprepared,” said Jasmeet Khurana, associate director with Bridge To India, a consultancy and knowledge services provider on renewable market.This can have an adverse impact on a significant number of planned investments and the overall investment climate,” Khurana told IANS, adding the impact could primarily be on the investments planned for 2017 while also affecting several recently allocated projects.According to a report of the consultancy firm, around 4.8 GW (Gigawatt) of solar capacity is expected to be installed with an investment of around Rs.27,000 crore. This number is likely to swell by around 50 percent for investments planned in 2017.“It’s a matter of serious concern. Over 5,000 MW of projects that have been awarded and are under implementation would be affected if solar equipment does not fall in the exemption list of GST,” said Pranav Mehta, chairman of the National Solar Energy Federation of India.

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