Imposing anti-dumping duty on solar modules, panels and glass exported from USA, Malaysia, China and Taiwan, as recommended by the Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties – Ministry of Commerce, will not lead to a significant increase in the cost of solar power and instead facilitate flow of investment, both domestic as well as foreign, into the solar power sector thereby boosting the country’s economy, claim Indian solar manufacturers.
The final decision with regard to imposing the anti-dumping duty, ranging from 11 cents per watt peak to a maximum of 81 cents per watt peak, on dumped imports of solar cells and modules will be taken by the Ministry of Finance.
Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Coal, Power and New and Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal has already sought review of the recommendation made by the Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties on the ground that the country lacks adequate solar manufacturing capacity.
Many among those opposed to the recommendation of the Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties argue that the prices of Indian solar cells and modules are very high. They claim imposing the anti-dumping duty will jeopardize 4,000 MW of solar power projects and also double the cost of solar power.
Countering the claims made by those opposed to the anti-dumping duty, the Indian Solar Manufacturers’ Association, which represents 25 domestic solar manufacturers, said in a recent press statement that the current price of unsubsidized solar power was in the range of Rs. 7.5 – Rs. 8.5 per kWh and imposing the anti-dumping duty would lead to an increase of only 6 – 8 percent in price. The overall price of power at the billing point of the consumer would be a mere 2 to 3 paisa per kWh more based on the present energy mix, it added.
The representative body of domestic solar manufacturers pointed out that once the government laid down a clear manufacturing policy for solar equipment, the success experienced in the automobile sector could be replicated in the solar power sector.
“There is strong international and domestic investor interest in solar manufacturing in India. Investors are awaiting clear message from government to ramp up their manufacturing program in India. With its abundant solar resources, India will lead the world in solar energy,” it said.
ISMA said that setting up the total solar manufacturing chain in the country would result in zero imports and fall in prices. It added that Indian solar manufacturers including Tata Power had announced capacity expansion of 300 MW in response to the recommendation made by the Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties.
Stressing on the need to encourage domestic solar manufacturers, ISMA said the country’s economy would receive a major boost if the existing solar power programme totaling 20,000 MW and worth Rs. 1,50,000 crore actually translated to manufacturing. It said a renewable energy policy based on self sufficiency, conservation of foreign exchange and promotion of domestic manufacturing would halt the massive outflow of foreign exchange and attract foreign direct investments to solar manufacturing.
ISMA also rejected the claim that the anti-dumping duty would jeopardize solar power projects of 4,000 MW capacity. It said solar power projects of only 975 MW capacity were pending at present. The other projects, it added, could not take off due to reasons unrelated to the anti-dumping duty.
On the pricing issue, ISMA said that Indian modules were competitive in price as well as quality in markets such as the European Union and Japan, which provided a level playing field.
“When the price of something is low because a foreign government is subsidizing it, then it is an artificial price. This is bound to correct over time,” it said.
The USA and European Union have already imposed anti-dumping duties on solar cells and modules from China.