25% safeguard duty levied on import of solar cells

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New Delhi | Published: July 31, 2018 4:40:28 AM

The government has imposed a 25% safeguard duty on import of solar cells, the basic ingredient needed to manufacture solar panels, for a year ending July 29, 2019.

25% safeguard duty levied on import of solar cells

The government has imposed a 25% safeguard duty on import of solar cells, the basic ingredient needed to manufacture solar panels, for a year ending July 29, 2019. The duty would be 20% for the next six months, till January 29, 2020, and 15% in the subsequent six months, a notification released by the Department of Revenue said.

The safeguard duty will not be applied to import of solar cells from nations notified as ‘developing countries’, except China and Malaysia, the notification said.

The Director General of Safeguards, after preliminary investigations, in December 2017 proposed to impose a provisional 70% safeguard duty on solar cell imports for 200 days. The investigation was triggered by an application of probe filed by the Indian Solar Manufacturing Association (ISMA).

Solar plant developers, which depend heavily on cheaper imported products, have pointed out that imposition of the duty would raise costs, delay solar capacity building and make it impossible to achieve 100 GW solar target by 2022.

Imported solar modules are 8-10% cheaper than those made in India, making them vital for cheap renewable power — solar modules comprise about 60% of total project costs. About 88% of module requirements are met through imports.

The parliamentary committee on commerce has recently said that some estimate a loss of nearly two lakh jobs as nearly half of the country’s domestic industry capacity will remain idle due to dumping of Chinese solar panels. India imported solar cells and modules worth around Rs 17,000 crore in FY18.

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