In a move that is conducive for domestic manufacturers of solar modules, the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) passed an order which mandates sellers and makers of solar photovoltaic systems to get their products registered under quality parameters set by the Bureau of Indian Standards. However, in the order, MNRE said the directives will be enforced after August 30, 2018. An expert who did not wish to be identified told FE that the step is expected to weed out sub standard imports from China. About 88% of all module requirement in India is met through imports (84% from China). Solar module prices in India fell by about 29% over last year to Rs 20.5 per watt in Q1, FY18. In FY17, Indian module manufacturers had only 10.6% market share in the 5,523 MW installed across the country. India’s total module manufacturing capacity is around 6,500 MW.
While stating that the move will avoid spurious material from entering the Indian market, Gyanesh Chaudhary, managing director and CEO, Vikram Solar told FE that that manufacturers who have the Importer Exporter Code (IEC) certification already might incur a cost rise in procuring additional documentation. After the Indian Solar Manufacturers Association filed an application in May, the commerce ministry, in July, initiated an anti-dumping investigation against import of solar cells from China, Taiwan and Malaysia. Solar cells are the basic ingredient used in the manufacturing of solar modules.
Domestic solar module manufacturers have been losing market share in the country to Chinese equipment makers who sell their products at 8-10% lower prices. The situation worsened after a World Trade Organisation ruling, last year, went against India for favouring local manufacturers in its solar power programme.