Solar Cell Imports Close to Double in First 9 Months of 2021-22: R.K Singh

Highlights :

-MNRE Minister RK Singh informed the Parliament that imports of solar cells in the April-January 2021-22 were of $3,447 million; overwhelming quantity came from China.

-Most of India’s installed solar manufacturing capacity is for modules, with some  cell manufacturing  only picking up in the past year or so.

New & Renewable Energy Minister RK Singh informed Parliament that the imports of solar cells in the April-January 2021-22 period were of $3,447 million which is a huge growth from the corresponding period of the last fiscal and most imports were from China. In terms of rupees the imports will come to around Rs 26,000 crore. RK Singh also stated that in the April-January period of 2020-2021 the solar cell imports were of the order of $572 million.

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In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, RK Singh held that in 2019-20, the total imports were worth $1,684 million and in 2018-19, $2,160 million. Out of the total imports in the 9-month period of April-January of the last fiscal, the maximum import was from China at $3,117.78 million.

RK Singh informed that the government aims to install 100 GW solar power capacity by December 2022 in India. He stated that projects of 108.91 GW have either been commissioned or are in the pipeline against the set objective. For the record, actual commissioned solar capacity currently is under 51 GW, as confirmed by the minister who said a total 50.78 GW of solar power capacity has been installed as on February 28, 2022. About 44 GW capacity solar projects are at various stages of implementation. Also, 13.86 GW capacity is under bidding stage in the country.

In March, the All India Solar Industries Association (AISIA) was written to RK Singh for the structural safeguard of ALMM (Approved List of Module Manufacturers) and tariff-based barriers through basic customs duty and safeguard duties along with production-linked incentives for the local manufacturers up to five years.

The association informed RK Singh that the local solar manufacturers are operating at 30 percent of their production capabilities.

AISIA believes that India’s 500 GW target by 2030 cannot be achieved at the cost of energy security and domestic manufacturing. “Imports since April 2021 have been consistently over 800 MW per month, for 11 months till February 2022, which is 16 GW more than the rate of deployment of 10 GW, clearly indicating huge stockpiling & speculative activities,” the association wrote to RK Singh.

Developers bodies on the other hand, notably the NSEFI has consistently pitched for a balance between imports and the need to maintain low domestic prices which the market demands.

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