- The recognition of the use of “non-tariff” barriers as an instrument by the energy minister should remove the ambiguity about possible easing of solar imports.
- The only outstanding issue now is the status after July 29th when the existing SGD expires.
The Energy and MNRE Minister RK Singh has categorically pointed out both tariff and non-tariff barriers in order to achieve this goal.
At an industry event organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on the topic of self-reliance in the production of renewable energy, Singh said, “If you want to sell in India, you have to set up a production here. If you do not set up production here, I can inform you in writing that you do not qualify for inclusion in the list of approved models and manufacturers (ALMM). “.
The ALMM list in question is increasingly being referred to as a non-tariff barrier by many multinational corporations because it is impractical for approval. An important point is a physical inspection of the manufacturers' factories, which is apparently supposed to be expensive and virtually impossible in times of travel restrictions. Then there is of course the refusal to accept any of the globally recognized certifications versus the domestic BIS certifications. The list has not been updated with new names since the release of the last version in March this year, which only includes domestic manufacturers. Furthermore, the minister's claim seems to counter claims made by some of the larger domestic players, notably Adani Green, that a separate list would also be drawn up for overseas suppliers.
Singh added that other countries have also put in place such non-tariff barriers and that it is necessary for India to retain the jobs created by the rapid expansion of renewable energy capacities in the country.
In view of the continuing dominance of Chinese imports, the explanations become more important. The bidders in the most recent successful tenders have also dismissed the obvious ambiguity in this question by orienting themselves on the bids in the most recent auctions, which continued to be submitted at quite attractive prices. Given that the ALMM rules apply directly to the equipment used on these projects, one wonders if the bidders know something that others don't.
While the actual imports for these projects will begin at the end of next year, which will also add a little more capacity in India, we had the clear impression during our discussions with bidders (who were not necessarily winners) that a blanket ban was not planned.
However, with the combination of April 1st customs duties and the claim on the ALMM list, we seem to have a situation very close to the projects supported by the government.
An option was given to import cells at an inch of 25% and assemble the modules in India. But even that requires sufficient capacity to ensure that the module manufacturer is on the ALMM list. Doesn't sound like a good start to a price negotiation, does it?
For the largest Chinese exporters to India, this is a decision that must be made sooner rather than later. At least assemble in India, or miss out on the largest market outside of China that is still available to them.