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Indian Solar Manufacturers Stuck In Limbo As Government Dithers On What And How To Save The Industry

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The Indian solar panel manufacturers are stuck in a morass as the government is dithering on how to save the industry in the face of billions of dollars in low cost Chinese imports. The industry has a large capacity but its cost structure is higher than the Chinese solar panel suppliers due to a multitude of reasons. Most of the solar panel companies were earlier surviving due to the domestic content policy which allowed them to sell solar capacity in a protected market. However, with the WTO ruling killing this policy, the manufactures are stuck in a limbo.

They cannot compete in open market terms with imports which are subsidized by the foreign governments through a variety of measures plus the advantages in scale and technology. The Indian companies have filed a safeguard and an anti-dumping petition a few months but the results are still awaited. In fact their parent ministry itself does not want to save them by saying that the directorate general in charge of imposing ADD should not put too high duties on imports otherwise it will make the existing solar projects unviable.

solar panels india

The Indian solar power developers, on the other hand, are hammer and tongs against any form of duty which would raise the costs even slightly. Companies like ACME, Renew, Amplus and others are almost wholly dependent on China and even a slight hitch will result in a big hit to their bottom lines. Given that most developers bid very aggressively with very low risk margins, there is a big danger that many of the projects will run aground. On the other hand, India’s “Make in India” policy which is supposed to support India’s manufacturing sector is going for a toss. With manufacturing in India facing the onslaught from imports, Indian industrialists are under siege.

There needs to be a balanced approach to saving the industry in India while at the same time keeping the costs of solar power low. The 20 GW solar tender which is supposed to help Indian manufacturing has been heavily short on details. Past policies on supporting Indian manufacturing have also been a non-starter. Even in projects which mandate Indian made products, developers have been sometimes shortchanging the government by using imported solar products which are causing further issues. The solar industry will keep growing rapidly in the future with further technological improvements and cost reductions. Not being present in this industry and ceding the whole ground to China and other SE Asian countries does not seem to be a very intelligent move for the government which is already facing a backlash due to a massive and growing trade deficit with China.


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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