Anand Kumar, secretary at MNRE, said the components to make a solar panel such as glass, metal cast and other equipment that are imported, will also see a hike in duty. “We want global firms to come and set up manufacturing units here — to not only cater to the demand in India but also of the world,” he said.
Last year, the Centre had announced imposition of safeguard duty for two years — 25 per cent for that year, 20 per cent for the next six months, and 15 per cent after that. The duty would specifically impact solar panels coming from China, given above 85 per cent of India’s solar capacity is built on Chinese panels.
In wind, however, domestic manufacturing caters to above 90 per cent of the sector’s demand. Global players such as Vestas have set up manufacturing units in India.
Meanwhile, the country’s first tender for solar manufacturing has seen tepid interest. MNRE announced the tender for setting up 6 Gw solar power
plants, linked to the setting up of 2 Gw (per annum) of solar manufacturing plant.
After several extensions of over a year, the Centre in January decided to cancel the lone bid that came from Azure Power with Waaree Energies.
Now, the Centre has revised the tender specifications for the upcoming bidding process. Hoping to attract higher interest, the tariff cap has been set at Rs 2.75/unit. In an interesting amendment, MNRE has allowed using imported solar modules at the power plant and not necessarily from the manufacturing unit set up by the company.
In a bid to build up local export capacity, the Centre has focused on exports that can substitute Chinese exports to the US, which are now facing heat due to the trade war.
Bridging trade deficit
India is exploring all options to bridge its enormous trade deficit with China
As of 2018-19, the deficit stood at $53 billion, down by $10 billion
This was because India raised duties on many products by as much as 8x in 2018