HOME > BUSINESS > Can’t block imports of cheap chinese solar panels – Nirmala Seetharaman

Can’t block imports of cheap chinese solar panels – Nirmala Seetharaman

The government of India said it cannot seek to slow down imports of solar power generation equipment from China as it has to watch out for the interests of Indian consumers as much as those of Indian industrialists.

Responding to questions from the opposition in Lok Sabha on why India was not taking action to help the country’s solar manufacturers, trade minister Nirmala Seetharaman said the government cannot ignore the interests of the consumers when trying to promote local manufacturing.

“While the Government is concerned about domestic manufacturers, our bigger concern is the price of power which is consumed by large number of consumers,” Nirmala Seetharam said in response to questions by Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia.

India has a target of installing 7,200 megawatt of grid-connected solar power generation capacity in the current financial year, but is likely to miss it by a wide margin. In the first nine months of the year, it added only about 3,000 MW.

Meanwhile, spurred by the targets, Indian power companies imported $1.96 bln worth of solar photovoltaic cells in the year ended March 2016 — a jump of 225% compared to imports of $603 mln in the previous year.

In the first nine months of the current year, India has imported solar cells worth $1.61 bln, up about 10% compared to last year on an annualized basis. In terms of volumes, the jump will be even higher due to the crashing prices of such equipment.

China’s share in India’s solar cell imports rose to 87.7% in the first nine months of this year from 83.6% last financial year.

China is by far the world’s biggest maker of solar equipment due to its edge in manufacturing the key ingredient in such panels — crystalline silicon, or the black substance that is found in nearly all solar panels.

Crystalline silicon is produced by heating extremely pure sand in electric furnaces at more than 1000 °C.

The technology required to produce silicon and cut it into very thin wafers has been improving rapidly. Given that the costs involved are inversely proportional to the quantity of silicon produced, larger and larger manufacturing plants in China have given an almost insurmountable edge to that country.

Though the technology originated in the USA, China invested in setting up large-scale manufacturing facilities for silicon years before other countries woke up to the potential of the so-called oil of the future. In the US, solar has found the going tough due to opposition from an entrenched fossil fuel lobby.

A few years ago, India tried to control the amount of imports used by companies to produce solar energy under the country’s prestigious ‘Solar Mission’, but it upset power companies and even led to a WTO lawsuit.

Of late though, the government has been taking a lenient view of imports — arguing that it is better to import solar panels that generate ‘free’ electricity for decades than to import oil and coal that disappear on first use. Chinese supplies have become crucial to meeting Solar Mission’s targets.

“In some cases the prices (offered by Chinese vendors) are much lower than what is being offered by domestic manufacturers,” Nirmala Seetharaman said.

“India does not have enough manufacturing capacity currently for solar cells and modules to cover full demand. We are dependent on imports and China is our biggest supplier of solar cells and modules,” Nirmala Seetharaman said.

Imported solar cells are subjected to a 14.7% import charge in the country — largely similar to what domestic manufacturers have to pay in terms of duties and taxes.

The government has unveiled various encouragements for solar manufacturers in the country, including capital subsidies, a tax holiday of 10 years, generation incentives, accelerated depreciation, viability gap funding), inclusion of solar rooftop systems as part of home loans, concessional excise and custom duties, and allowing direct foriegn investment under the automatic route.

“Government is balancing both these categories by allowing imports to increase the generating capacity and providing support to domestic manufactures through a provision of reserving some capacities for domestic cells and modules which gives assured market to domestic manufacturers,” the minister added.

Follow ULTRA.news
Raymond opens Ethiopia factory to cut costs, easy access to US, EU Textiles and garments brand Raymond inaugurated a garment manufacturing plant in Ethiopia to gain duty-free access to the US and European markets.The plant was set up at a cost of Rs 100 cr and will employ over 2500 people in the first phase. More people will join later, the...
IREDA to sell 14 cr shares in IPO to help meet India’s renewable targets The central government has okayed the listing of India's premier renewable energy agency, IREDA, via an initial public offer.Part of IREDA co-financed 202.40 MW Wind Power Project in APThe move will help the non-banking finance company "increase its equity base which wil...
Glaucus questions stock price of Hong Kong-listed Fullshare Holdings Ltd Glaucus Research Group, a California-based short seller, said it was selling Hong Kong-listed developer Fullshare Holdings due to peculiar trading patterns seen in the stock's counter."Fullshare is supposedly a commercial and residential property developer, but this business ...
India sets up committee to study Chinese interest in power grid India's ministry of power has set up a committee to examine concerns around the participation of Chinese companies in the country's fast-growing transmission sector.Since large Chinese firms typically have close ties to the Chinese government, concerns have been raised by bot...
Apparel exporters bemoan rising rupee, seek support Apparel manufacturing is a big job creator in Tamil NaduIndian apparel makers have sought government intervention to stabilize the rupee, which has been rising in recent months, in stark contrast to the situation in other countries that compete with India in exporting garmen...
Smuggling down on Indo-Bangladesh border, up on Bhutanese side Incidents related to smuggling of fertilizer and narcotics on the Indo-Bangladesh border fell sharply in 2016, but there was a compensatory increase in drug smuggling cases along India's border with Bhutan and Nepal, according to data from the Union Home Ministry.Fertilizers ...
India to add 34.5 GW of hydroelectric capacity in 10 years A hydro-power plant in Himachal PradeshIndia will set a target of adding 34.5 GW of hydro-power generation capacity in the next ten years, according to power ministry sources."The target for the 13th plan has been set at 13.31 GW and that for the 14th plan will be 21.15 ...
SEZ exports eligible for rewards under MEIS and SEIS schemes SEZ exports are now eligible for scripsThe government has extended the rewards under its merchandise and services export from India schemes to units located in special economic zones.Special economic zones are areas -- usually located close to seaports or airports -- whe...
Solar power output up 75% this year, but still only 1% of total Solar, wind in India's total power production 2016-17Production of electricity from solar power is all set to rise 75% this year, while that from wind is on track to rise 51%, according to the latest numbers available with the ministry of new and renewable resources, governm...
Chhattisgarh leads as India uses solar to take power to villages New villages electrified in India, year-wiseThe central Indian state of Chhattisgarh has come out as a leader in India's quest to take electricity to remote villages where grid-based power cannot be supplied due to economical reasons.The state accounts for 550 of the 852...
At 4.5¢ per unit, solar achieves grid parity in India with coal power About a week ago, India witnessed an event that environmentalists in India, and perhaps many across the world, have been waiting for -- the achievement of grid parity between solar and coal in India.India depends on coal for meeting about 75% of its power needs. The country a...
India may miss national solar mission target for 2016-17 After having met its solar power installation target for last financial year with relative ease, India could end up missing its target for the year ending March 2017.India had around 6 GW of installed solar power generation capacity at the end of March 2016, and by this year,...
ViVo, Oppo, Xiaomi need cheaper smartphone models to grow in India in 2017 China's LOVE brands -- Lenovo, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi -- will have to introduce cheaper models in 2017 to continue their strong growth in India, CyberMedia Research said in a report.The reason? India's replacement and upgrade market -- Rs 10,000-13,000 -- will no longer be...
TRUMP THREAT: TCS not worried, says we’re not the villains source: NasscomTata Consultancy Services, the largest Indian-owned outsourcing company, said it is able to manage with 75% less new visas this year as it has changed its business and recruitment models in recent years. It also said that outsourcing was key to protecting US j...
Mumbai’s Viviana Mall installs India’s largest rooftop solar plant Viviana Mall in Mumbai has installed one of the largest single-site solar plants in India.The mall, located in Thane, has constructed a 900,000 volt-ampere rooftop solar power plant, which the company said was the biggest in India.900,000 volt-ampere refers to the peak ca...
Exports increase share of jobs in India – Study A new study by the Exim Bank has found that around 15% of the total jobs in India are related to India's exports sector, including both IT, BPO and material goods such as garments.The total number of jobs supported by aggregate Indian exports increased from about 34 milli...
Despite Demonetization, India will beat China in GDP growth: Fitch Ratings Despite a moderation in India's GDP growth rate in the short term due to cash crunch, the Indian economy will still grow faster than that of China, global ratings agency Fitch said."We still expect India’s GDP growth to trend higher than China’s in the medium term," said the ...
Adani Group commissions India’s largest tracker solar plant Infrastructure company Adani Enterprises Ltd said it commissioned India's largest tracker-based solar power plant at Bhatinda in Punjab.The 100 megawatt plant is also the largest solar project in Punjab.Tracker plants are those with motorized panels that keep tracking the...
India overdependent on China for medicines – study India may have emerged as a key supplier of generic and affordable medicine for the world market, but it has an "overwhelming dependence" on China for the raw material required to produce these drugs, industry association Assocham said.Indian companies depend on China to supp...
ABB to install 600 KW solar energy in its Vadodara facility ABB, a power and automation technology company, today said it will install a 600 KW fully integrated and standardized microgrid solar energy at its Vadodara facility in Gujarat to help boost renewable energy generation while reducing dependency on fossil fuel.This microgrid w...
India-Pakistan invisible trade worth $5 bln a year – study Informal trade or smuggling of goods between India and Pakistan is estimated at over USD five billion, almost double the official two-way commerce between the two neighbours with history of chequered ties, said an ASSOCHAM study.There are more exports from India than imports...
Wonderla Hyderabad waterpark installs 500 kW solar plant Wonderla amusement park had set up a solar plant with an installed capacity of 500kW at it´s newly opened unit in Hyderabad.The installed solar plant will generate 2000 units of power daily and it is expected cater to 25 percent of Wonderla's daily power requirement. The capa...
Jain Irrigation unit to supply €18.7 mn solar-powered irrigation system to Eritrea NaanDanJain Irrigation Ltd., a producer and provider of tailor-made irrigation solutions company, said it entered into an agreement worth 18.7 million Euros with Ministry of Agriculture and National Development, Eritrea, for the supply and installation of solar-powered drip i...
ABB India doubles solar inverter manufacturing capacity in Bengaluru ABB India, a power and automation technology company, inaugurated a new solar inverter manufacturing facility at Nelamanagala in Bengaluru, said the company.The facility is set to double the solar inverter manufacturing capacity of the company to 2GW in a span of five months,...
BHEL bags order for 30 MW solar plants from West Bengal Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd announced that it secured an order for setting up 30 MW (3x10 MW) of Solar Photovoltaic Power Plants on engineering, procurement and construction basis from West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Corporation.The order is valued at Rs 169 c...