Indian government okays import of low-priced Chinese solar cells

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Panchabuta has reported that the Indian government has made it clear that it has no objections to imports of low-priced Chinese solar cells, so long as they meet predetermined quality standards. The news has made ripples in the domestic manufacturer’s community, which are in the midst of combatting the cheaper Chinese imports as well as US manufactures who are dealing with the World Trade Organisation over the dumping claims of solar cells and panels.

“The market will always bend towards the products which are low-priced. But, yes the quality matters,” said Tarun Kapoor, joint secretary, ministry of new and renewable energy. “We support what is legal, this is a case and we support WTO-accepted norms. It is not country specific, its rule specific.”

While India’s National Solar Mission gives preference to domestic manufacturers, it is not a mandated law and only governed on a central level, allowing states to choose whether or not to follow the policy. Kapoor confirmed the detail stating, “There’s only one scheme that offers this provision and it’s not a law. We give the projects to developers who in turn are free to choose the products. If the prices are low and quality is good, then obviously, anyone would go for it.”

Panchabuta noted that ministry officials advised that the thin-film technology is facing the most threat in the current market. “Given that over 90% of the installed global solar cell capacity is based on the more reliable crystalline silicon technology, the government may well consider further extending the domestic content requirement to sustain the momentum of solar manufacturing in the country,” said Rupesh Agarwal, advisory lead at Cleantech at Ernst & Young.

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