Indian solar panel makers demand anti-dumping duty against China

In a fresh attempt to bar Chinese solar panel makers from flooding the Indian market at an ultra-low price, the domestic companies approached the Directorate General of Anti-Dumping (DGAD), requesting an imposition of a duty on importers.

The application has been filed against China, Malaysia and Taiwan. The domestic industry via the Indian Solar Manufacturer’s Association (ISMA) pleaded that as the imports led to considerable damage to the indigenous sector; a retrospective duty should be imposed.

Business Standard recently reported that among other measures, anti-dumping is one of the attempts to filter out low-quality solar imports in the country. 

This is the third attempt by the Indian panel makers to approach the DGAD for anti-dumping duty. The domestic industry has alleged that around 80 per cent of the market has been taken away by imports.

The first case was filed in 2012 against the US, European Union, China, Malaysia and Taiwan. The case ran for two years saw solar cell makers, allied electronics industry and even glass makers asking for protection against the import of solar panels. 

The domestic industry had alleged imports consume 60 per cent of the market. 

While DGAD finalised duties from $0.48 per unit to $0.81 per unit on solar cells imported from the above mentioned countries, the ministry of finance did not impose the same and let the duty lapse in May last year.

In 2014, the makers filed a complaint with Directorate General of Anti-Dumping (DGAD) under the ministry of commerce and Directorate General of Safeguards (DGS) under the ministry of finance. The ministry of commerce in 2014 identified a dumping margin range of 50-60 per cent from the US and around 100-110 per cent by China, the largest exporter of solar cells worldwide.

But the very next year the minister for new and renewable energy Piyush Goyal assured the domestic industry of enough business opportunity requesting them to drop the case. The NDA government has revised the National Solar Mission targets by five fold to 1 lakh Mw by 2022.

However, in just a year, the domestic players are back in the dock asking for investigation, “considering the aggravated situation of imports and consequent injury to the domestic industry,” said the application.

Cheap Chinese panels have made their way into India since the beginning of the National Solar Mission in 2010. The price of panels have crashed to 32 cents per kWh from 50 cents per kWh in three years, owing to global over-capacity and almost ‘dumping’ by China, as alleged by domestic solar panel makers, time and again.

Currently, 10 per cent capacity in each of the tender issued by the central government for solar power project is kept for domestic content sourcing. Earlier it was 50 per cent and was brought down after the first appeal made by the US in the WTO in 2014. Apart from this, major PSUs such as National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC) and Coal India have committed to build solar power generation capacity from domestic content.

Currently, the installed capacity of Indian solar cell manufacturing is around 1386 MW and module is close to 2500 MW.  Less than 20 per cent of manufacturing capacity is operational due to low demand. Of the total solar power generating capacity, more than 75 per cent is built on imported cells from China, 15 per cent from the US and the balance by domestic players. India's current solar power installed capacity is 10,000 MW.

More than Rs 85,000 crore worth of investments in the country have been lying dormant due to the influx of such Chinese imports and the resulting self-inflicting loss making industry which is being created, said a PwC analysis.


2012: First case of dumping filed by group of indigenous solar cell & module makers

May 2014: DGAD identifies injury to tune of 60-110% by the US and China, finalises anti-dumping duty

June 2014: Finance ministry did not impose the duty, let it lapse

July 2014: Piyush Goyal urges domestic industry to drop case, assures enough demand pipeline

| 950 Mw projects for domestic industry during 14-15

September 2016: WTO rules against India to have a separate solar programme for the domestic solar cell & module industry

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel