Energy Efficiency

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19 May 2023

Module import curbs to hit solar projects, says industry body

While India aims to install a renewable energy (RE) capacity of 500 GW by 2030, a section of solar developers are worried over the Approved List of Models and Manufacturers (ALMM), which they think  have increased prices and reduced the supply of solar cells and modules. Only Indian companies have been  listed under ALMM, making it impossible to import cheaper modules.  

Speaking to FE, Sunil Bansal, President, Rajasthan Solar Association (RSA), said the decision to impose Basic Custom Duty on PV Cells and PV Modules was “ill-conceived.”The duty  rates are too high, at a flat rate of 25 % on PV cells and 40 % on PV modules.

India‘s RE plan for 2030  includes solar energy of 280GW, and 40 GW of this will come from Grid Connected Solar Rooftop Programme and 30.8 GW under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthan Mahabhiyan by 2026. The steep levy of duties has impacted plans of commissioning solar plants  because of which many plants became unviable.

“Even the Rooftop scheme and Kisan Urja schemes are performing badly across the states because the government has not taken into consideration the demands of all stakeholders,” Bansal alleged.

Commenting  on grid connection and energy trade, Bansal said, “Building a national grid is one thing but there is no enthusiasm for buying the excess power. Even the Net Metering system is allowed for connections up to 500 KW only, beyond that all the consumption and production is on a real-time basis.”

Striking a positive note, Surat-based solar module manufacturer Navitas Solar’s Director Vineet Mittal said, “Solar energy has become a large movement globally and the manufacturing is shifting gradually towards Asia. Looking at the government’s initiatives and future targets, it can be said that the solar energy sector has a bright future ahead.” He also said, “The government is supporting the industry by creating demand and also protecting it by imposing duties on the imports of solar cells and modules.”

When asked about the future viability of solar energy, Mittal said, “The other emerging areas of renewable energy will not be competitors rather they will be complementary energy sources for solar energy.” Echoing similar sentiments, Bansal added that “ solar energy is economically viable as it costs less than Rs 3/unit.”

It may be mentioned that the recent data by MNRE shows that, as of March 31, 2023, total solar installation capacity in the country is 66.78 GW. Rajasthan, Gujarat and Karnataka are the top performing states with an installation capacity of 17.05 GW, 9.25 GW and 8.24 GW respectively.


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