India imported solar cells and modules worth USD 1,179.89 million from China in the first nine months of the current financial year RK Singh has informed.
India imported solar cells and modules worth USD 1,179.89 million from China in the first nine months — between April and December — of the current financial year (2019-20), union minister of new and renewable energy RK Singh has said.
In FY17, FY18, and FY19 India’s solar imports from China stood at USD 2,817.34 million, USD 3,418.96 million, and USD 1,694.04 million, respectively, the minister said in a written reply in Parliament. “The solar panels or modules imported from China are generally cheaper than those produced by domestic manufacturers,” Singh said.
The total value of solar photovoltaic cells or solar cells imports, whether or not assembled in module or panel, stood at USD 1,525.8 million for the April-December period of FY20.
For the past three financial years, FY17, FY18, and FY19 the total value of the country’s solar imports was USD 3,196.5 million, USD 3,837.6 million, and USD 2,159.7 million, respectively. Chinese firms supply about 80 percent of solar cells and modules to India.
Recently, the power minister had said that the country’s solar industry is under no compulsion to import solar cells or modules from China following the coronavirus outbreak.
“The solar industry is under no compulsion to import solar cells, modules and other equipment from China. They are free to meet their requirements either from the domestic market or alternative sources,” Singh said in a written reply in Parliament. He was replying to a question on whether the dangerous virus has affected India’s ability to increase clean energy capacity.
Speaking of alternative sources, he said the government was actively promoting domestic manufacturing of solar equipment in India through several schemes such as M-SIPS, PM-KUSUM, CPSU Scheme, grid-connected rooftop solar programme, and also tenders for setting up solar photovoltaic manufacturing facilities.
“The government has already clarified that disruption of supply chains due to the spread of coronavirus in China or any other country should be considered as a case of natural calamity and force majeure clause may be invoked, wherever considered appropriate, following the due procedure,” Singh added.
The ministry had recently decided to give extra time for the commissioning of power projects that face delays due to the virus outbreak in China. A force majeure clause holds that if there are extraordinary events that are beyond human control or natural calamities this clause can free both the parties from contractual liability from fulfilling their obligations under the contract.