Anti-dumping dispute bottlenecks solar projects in India

Greentech Lead India: The anti-dumping case has taken a toll on the domestic solar projects as the tiff between domestic solar cell producers and solar power producers remains unsettled.

If industry reports are to believe, the second phase of India’s ambitious National Solar Mission is put on hold due to the anti dumping dilemma gripping the industry.

The first hearing of the anti-dumping case was held last Thursday and was attended by more than 100 participants, including three petitioners and around 12 respondents from the US, China, Malaysia and Taiwan.

 

The petition was filed by Indosolar, Jupiter Solar Power and Websol Energy System last November seeking anti-dumping duties on import of solar PV cells and modules from the US, China, Taiwan and Malaysia.

The affected parties included solar power project developers, EPC contractors, glassmakers and electric cable manufactures.

It is to be noted that the petition was filed by only three out of more than 40 solar cell and module manufacturers in India. This, according to the affected parties, shows lack of weight in the case.

Solar power producers opposed the anti-dumping duty on solar cell imports saying such a move will push the cost of solar power to a higher level. Meanwhile domestic cell makers say the investigators have found enough prima facie evidence of dumped imports hurting the domestic industry.

Another argument by power producers is that domestic manufacturers do not have enough scale to meet project developers’ requirements. They also observe that over the past three years, the cost of solar power has come down to an average Rs7 per unit from Rs17.50 mainly due to the cheap imports of solar cell.

“Solar power is helping in achieving the target of energy access as now it’s cheaper than diesel and kerosene,” Inderpreet Wadhwa, CEO at Azure Power, said. “Imported content had a lot of contribution in bringing down the cost of solar power in India.”

However, according complainants, there is strong prima facie evidence of injury being suffered by the domestic solar industry due to dumping of solar cells from the US, China, Taiwan and Malaysia.

Glass manufacturers in the country have been supporting domestic solar cell makers and are concerned in this matter. If the domestic solar panels are replaced by those from foreign manufacturers, glass manufacturers will lose great business opportunity.

Several countries including the U.S and EU have implemented anti-dumping duty against Chinese solar products. If it is implemented in India, the biggest beneficiaries will be domestic manufactures and suppliers from other countries that are not under investigation.

The confusion over anti-dumping duty will affect several projects especially those in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Karnataka including those allocated  as part of the National Solar Mission.

Experts believe anti-dumping duty will have an adverse impact on solar industry as it will reduce competition in the industry and allow only top manufacturers to survive. However, it will have a positive impact if it is accompanied by a clear long-term strategy that would make local solar PV manufacturing competitive and sustainable in the international level.

editor@greentechlead.com