Anti-Dumping Duty on Imported Solar Glass: Another Hurdle for India Solar Sector

India reaching ~20 GW in solar capacity in 2018 from less than 3 GW in 2014 highlights a trend that has received ample support from Government of India and private players both. Precise and well-timed decisions to build a policy environment, increasing finance choices, and encouragement to entrepreneurs have helped this happen. However, recent investigation on imported textured, tempered glass (used to manufacture solar modules) imported from Malaysia by India’s Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD) does not appear as an act favourable towards Indian solar growth.

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Solar Anti-Dumping: The Question We Must Answer for Industry Favored Resolution

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Office of the Directorate General of Anti-Dumping (DGAD) presiding over the hearing of anti-dumping petition on 12th of December, can be considered another step in favor of domestic manufacturers towards demand creation within domestic industry. Domestic manufacturers have had a long history (nearly 5 years) of conflict against imported modules and cells.

While India kept practically doubling its solar capacity in recent years (from 5 GW in 2015- to ~16.6 GW in 2017), domestic solar manufacturers saw lack in demand creation. The industry being focused on importing solar modules, created an issue of capacity utilization of domestic manufacturers. In such a scenario, re-visiting the recent Anti-dumping issue in the solar industry can bring the results India desperately needs to become solar reliant.

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Proposed Blanket Safeguard Duty- Set to Affect Domestic Manufacturing

The news of The Director General (Safeguards) recommending to impose 70% safeguard duty on imported solar panels and cells has created a commotion within Indian solar industry. Domestic manufacturers have had a long history (nearly 5 years) of conflict against imported solar components, as foreign (Chinese) suppliers continued dumping solar components in India at a much lower rate than existing market price. Asking for protection of domestic industry growth was a valid appeal by the domestic manufacturers. However, recent announcement of safeguard duty imposition is not what the domestic industry hoped for.

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Solar Industry 2018: Opportunities Exist, More Efforts Needed

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Solar industry is growing globally and the year 2017 has been the year of expansion for solar. China led the growth spectrum by adding 52 GW of new solar installations in 2017, while US (12.5 GW), India (~6 GW), Japan (5.8 GW), Germany (2.2 GW) took positions respectively. Australia, South Korea, Chile, and Turkey also became GW markets in 2017 stepping into competition for solarisation.

With awareness growing and more developing countries investing in the renewable energy mix, 2018 is estimated to bring in huge opportunities, forwarding solar revolution to new heights.

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US Safeguard Duty on Solar: Situation analysis

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The move by United States of America to protect its domestic solar industry from imported modules has created unrest in the global solar market. Similar exercise to protect domestic solar producers is underway in India against dumped imports from China, Malaysia and Taiwan. The proposed US Safeguard measures are not likely to affect exports from India to the US, as US must exempt imports from India under the WTO Safeguard Agreement given that the share of India is nominal when compared to other countries

Excluding India from the safeguard investigation and duties that are initiated by the US can be validated as a fair appeal. A closer inspection is needed to highlight the facts and realize the background of such an appeal.

Exclusion from US Solar Safeguard Duty and Investigation: A Fair Appeal by India

Like the US, Indian domestic solar manufacturers are in favour of imposing protective measures against foreign solar modules. And in many occasion have initiated discussions with the Government and the Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD) to seek a favourable solution.

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