New ALMM Guidelines for Solar Modules Under Co-branded Agreement

Highlights :

  • The new changes are likely to make it tougher for brand owners outsourcing production to OEMs.
  • With strong demand, OEMs are unlikely to be as badly hit as brand owners who had outsourced production.
New ALMM Guidelines for Solar Modules Under Co-branded Agreement Waaree Energies, Vikram Solar in Co-Branding Agreements Under ALMM

Introduced with an aim to give an impetus to domestic manufacturing, the mandate of Approved List of Models and Manufacturers (ALMM) is a list of models and manufacturers of solar modules that have received an approval from the MNRE (Ministry of New and Renewable Energy) for solar projects in India. Only the (domestic) manufacturers in the list can participate in government projects being bid out. Ever since its introduction, the ALMM order has seen several amendments. Last year, it was extended to include open access and net metering projects.

Now in a fresh announcement and in another revision of the guidelines for ALMM, the qualification for modules produced under agreements entered between an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and a brand owner have been widened.

As per the new provision, if the applicant has multiple manufacturing sites or sourcing product from some other manufacturer and selling them under his or her brand name, all the manufacturing sites will be subject to inspection. However, the sites and product will be exempted from inspection in case an ALMM enlisted model is manufactured under co-branding agreement in an ALMM enlisted manufacturing facility of the OEM using the same manufacturing process and Bill of Materials. An arrangement between an OEM and a brand owner is referred to as a co-branding arrangement that involves two firms (OEM and brand owner) that share manufacturing facilities. The exemption will also apply if an ALMM enlisted model of a manufacturer is under this agreement and bears the brand name of another ALMM enlisted manufacturer and has the same manufacturing process and Bill of Materials.

An inspection fee will also be levied for each additional site (in same country) and it will be 50% of the original inspection fee.

In another set of additional provisions for co-branded products under ALMM, both the brand owner and OEM must be ALMM-enlisted. The application is to be submitted by brand owner to MNRE along with copy of agreement between OEM and brand owner. The application must make a mention of the manufacturing capacity for co-branding agreement. The application fee will be INR 1000 irrespective of the capacity.

Thus, from now on, the OEM and a brand owner are to keep the ministry informed of their co-branding agreement.

It may be recalled that recently, ALMM requirement for solar projects has been deferred to April 2024. Orders for using only domestically approved modules in the ALMM will be suspended till March 31, 2024.

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