31 Oct 2019
INDIA: Imported Solar Cells Prohibited from Use in Government Projects
Only locally-produced solar photo-voltaic (PV) cells will be approved for use in government-sponsored solar energy projects, according to a recent affirmation by the country’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). The government’s renewed emphasis on this requirement follows reports that some contractors have previously ignored such strictures.
In particular, a number of companies have been found to have imported semi-processed solar PV cells in the form of diffused silicon wafers (commonly known as blue wafers) and then produced ‘finished’ solar PV cells with only minimal processing actually taking place in India. The MNRE’s statement makes it clear that, as the production of solar PV cells from such imported raw materials involves scant value being added within the country, such items do not qualify as domestic products under the terms of local sourcing rules.
Overall, the move is seen as intended to both boost the domestic production of solar PV cells, while also insulating the country’s manufacturing sector from being undermined by cheap imports. Of late, the country has had to contend with a flood of low-priced PVC imports from a number of overseas territories, most notably China, Malaysia and Singapore.