No Compulsion to Import Modules From China Amid Coronavirus Outbreak: RK Singh

India’s solar industry is under no compulsion to import solar modules from China following the coronavirus outbreak, Power Minister RK Singh has said

India’s solar industry is under no compulsion to import solar cells or modules from China following the coronavirus outbreak, power and new & renewable energy minister RK Singh has said.

“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.

The country’s solar sector is a highly import-dependent industry. Solar modules account for about 60 percent of a solar project’s cost and Chinese firms supply 80 percent of cells and modules used here.

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.

While answering a second question Singh added that “a total of 8,004.64 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy capacity has been installed during the period from April 2019 to January 2020 as compared to 5,978.47 MW installed during the same period during 2018-19.”

The government has set a target of installing 175 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity by 2022. As of January 31, 2020, the total renewable energy capacity of 86.32 GW has been installed in the country. Additionally, 35.09 GW capacity is under various stages of implementation and 34.47 GW under various stages of bidding.

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