Chinese solar panel maker wants to ‘Make In India’ as anti dumping measures threat looms large

One of China’s biggest solar panel makers, LONGi Solar will invest nearly $309 million in India in the wake the US protectionism and India’s anti-dumping measures threat.

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The Solar Energy Corporation of (SECI) would sign 25-year power purchase agreements (PPAs) with the winning bidders and sell the power to electricity distribution utilities (discoms).

One of China’s biggest solar panel makers, LONGi Solar will invest nearly $309 million in India in the wake the US protectionism and India’s anti-dumping measures threat. The company’s total investment will include $240 million in construction investment and $68 million in working capital, to double the capacity in Andhra Pradesh from 500MW to 1GW.

India, which has vowed to achieve 100 GW solar energy capacity by 2022, is being considered one of the most promising markets for solar equipment makers; however, is considering anti-dumping safeguard tariffs to protect local manufacturers from cheaper solar products being imported from China and Malaysia.

“While global demand for solar modules continues to grow, LONGi is making moderate capacity investments in select markets to hedge against the risks of trade protectionism,” Wenxue Li, the president of LONGi Solar said in a statement.

The Directorate General of Safeguards, on January 5, had proposed to impose 70% “safeguard duty” on imports of solar power equipment from China for 200 days. The Renewable Energy ministry, however, has shown concern that the growth of solar power capacity to achieve the 2022 target may take a hit and has asked the government to refrain from sudden imposition of high import duty.

Last month, the United States announced to impose an extra 30% duty on imported solar modules, which China said, “aggravated the global trade environment”. India is China’s biggest export market, and after the US’ protectionism, the threat of higher tariff from India is making Chinese manufacturers to explore India both as an investment destination and market.

In 2017, India imported 24.1% solar products from China. China produced a total of 76 GW of solar modules and 68 GW of solar photovoltaic cells, up over 33% from the previous year. LONGi is looking to explore low costs, local resources, and generous policies toward the solar industry.

Meanwhile, India is planning to achieve an ambitious 175 GW renewable energy target by 2022. PTI reported that with the higher focus on increasing renewable energy capacity — both solar and wind — the tariffs are likely to fall below Rs 2 per unit in a couple of years. In fact, a senior official of transmission firm Sterlite Power told PTI that states like Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Karnataka, have the opportunity to become exporters of power in global markets.

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