MNRE Leads from the Front to Push Solar Sector

The latest move by MNRE should be seen at a time when India had failed to comply with a World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruling on solar power.

MNRE

The government of India, through its MNRE, seems to have woken up by issuing the latest amendments to accelerate the growth of the solar photovoltaic sector. The recent measures should be hailed by the industry players as the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has issued a memorandum informing that it will punish those flouting the Domestic Content Requirement (DCR) rules – in WTO permitted cases – where imported solar modules are used, but declared as locally made.

The government had said that DCR local content rules were established to encourage domestic PV manufacturing. However, it noted, “Apprehensions have been raised that the policy may be misused by way of mis-declaration and imported solar cells and modules may be used in DCR projects instead of domestically produced cell and modules.” This eventually led the government through MNRE to take serious action in the case of such violations. Filing of criminal case under IPC 420 & related sections, blacklisting of developer for period of 10 years, forfeiting of relevant Bank Guarantee(s) or any other action, in addition to those above shall be taken who violate the procedures laid down by the central government body.

The latest move by MNRE should be seen at a time when India had failed to comply with a World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruling on solar power. The U.S. won the case in 2016, when WTO appeals judges ruled India lopers to use Indian-made cells and modules.

Since then the issue had embroiled into a huge controversy at regular times. However, MNRE recently took it as the serious issue and deleted the DCR from the next 5GW of solar projects coming out under Batch IV, Phase II of the National Solar Mission, as per the amendments.

Besides that, central government body extended the window to avail waiver of inter-state power transmission charges and losses for the solar and wind power projects by three years. The recent order approved by the power and renewable energy minister RK Singh to renewable projects commissioned up to March 31, 2022 is  expected to further encourage the renewable energy sector, currently buoyed by the anticipating of upcoming surge in renewable auctions after a brief lull.

One more development coming from the Power Minister is to stress upon the need of a dedicated R&D department in Central Electricity Authority (CEA) to coordinate the research in the power sector.

Overall, it seems MNRE is leading from the front to promote solar industry in 2018.

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