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Indian Solar Module Producers want Protection from Cheap Panel Imports as Most down Shutters

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Indian Solar Panel Companies are asking for protection from cheap imports from China and other countries. Note the prices of solar panels have fallen by 60% in 2011 due to a number of reasons such as cheap raw material polysilicon prices,high competition between major module manufacturers, dropping processing costs. The biggest reason for the solar panel price crash has been the support of the Chinese and other Asian government to their respective domestic solar industries.

It is a fact that many of the major solar module companies would be bankrupt right now without government support. LDK is the prime example of a zombie company flourishing on the back of Chinese government support. Indian solar panel makers have got some protection with the federal subsidy policy JNNSM mandating that cell and modules be made in India.However thin film solar panel technlogy is exempt which means that they are not fully protected.Besides state government solar polices don’t protect them at all. The consequence has been that most of the solar panel companies are running at 0 to 20% utilization as orders dry up.

Note there is precedence of protecting the solar panel makers by

1) Ontario,Canada

2) Japan ( which follows a  implicit policy)

3) USA which is set to introduce dumping duties on Chinese solar panels

4) China itself which for a number of years had domestic content requirements on Wind Energy

Ontario,Canada  has a 60% “local content” requirement for renewable energy installed in the province. This is illegal according to WTO but unless someone challenges it in the body nothing will come out of it

China from 2004 to 2010 had a “70% local content” requirement.Now that their wind turbine makers are making major inroads into foreign markets ( read A-Power Systems) , they revised the law in Jan 2010 . No doubt as it has become redundant .

USA which has not done anything major to mitigate climate change , now wants to put a local content requirement on renewable energy. This was pushed because a large amount of cash grant going to a large wind power project promoted by a Chinese consortium.

Note India has got USA already protesting against solar panel restrictions of imports and this should ratched up the voices of both the pro and con camps.

USA has opposed India’s Local Content Requirements for the Federal Solar Energy JNNSM program. Note according to the JNNSM rules,solar panels will have to be produced in India for the first year and solar cells will also have to produced from the second year. There is also a proposal that the local content requirements may be extended beyond 2013 and will also include solar inverters. US administration is opposed to these rules as it will lead to export hurdles for its solar companies Sunpower and First Solar. India installers and developers have also opposed the move as it will lead to lesser choice amongst suppliers and probably higher costs.

Read about Solar Power in India to get more backrgound

Domestic Solar Cell/Module Producers

  • Moser Baer – This is primarily a Solar Panel Production Company which has recently made a big bet to get into the Power Production Space as well.Moser Baer Projects Private in which the Blackstone Group made a $300 million bet  has plans of a 20:80 mix of Green and Dirty Power.
  • Tata Power / Tata BP Solar – The biggest private utility in India has big plans for Clean Energy as well.Its subsidiary Tata BP Solar is one of the biggest producers of solar panels and cells in the country.The company has huge plans in wind,solar and geothermal energy.It has also invested in a geothermal energy project in Indonesia..
  • Solar Semiconductor – A Producer of Solar Power Modules and Cells. It has some operations in Solar Installation as well.
  • The following  companies are similar to Solar Semiconductor in having a small capacity to produce silicon based solar cells or solar panels or both.
  • IndoSolar
  • Topsun Solar
  • Titan Energy
  • PLG Power
  • Maharishi Solar
  • Kotak Urja
  • Photon Energy Systems
  • Lanco Solar – A major private utility in India.Has bagged a JNNSM bid to build a big solar thermal plant.Also getting into production of poly,wafers,cell and modules based on c0Si Technology.

This is a very complex issue and given the current circumstances,I have changed my stance to allow some protection of the domestic solar industry given the kind of crazy support being given to major solar module manufacturers by foreign governments.

What do you think?


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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