The Indian government has announced the formation of the Solar Energy Industry Advisory Council (SEIAC) to help stimulate research and development and investment in the solar energy sector. The council will deliberate and offer advise to the government on matters of technology, manufacturing, and regulatory issues. The council includes some of the leading industrialists as its members.
Anand Mahindra, of Mahindra & Mahindra, has been chosen as the chairman of the council. Mahindra & Mahindra is one of the fast-emerging players in the solar power generation and EPC services sector. In addition to its own power projects, the company has set up a joint venture with Kiran Energy Limited to expand into the solar energy market in India.
The council has been tasked with the responsibility of reviewing the progress being made to achieve the targets set by the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission. The national solar mission aims to install 22,000 MW of solar power generation capacity by 2022. The mission has outlined intermediate milestones.
One of the main issues the council will have to consider is how to stimulate domestic manufacturing of solar modules. A large number of projects in India are importing solar modules, which has been very encouraging for domestic module manufacturers that have realised significant losses.
The council will also have to address the issue of levying duty on imported modules. The domestic manufacturers have appealed to the government to levy import duties on the large number of equipment being imported to the US, China, Taiwan, and other countries. The domestic players want anti-dumping duties levied on these imports, as they are significantly cheaper than the equipment being manufactured in India.
The formation of the council is a welcome step from the Indian government, as it would help in internal course-correction in its endeavors to become a global solar energy leader over the next decade. As the country is still a nascent solar energy market, input from all the stakeholders would help it to become one of the leading and most attractive solar energy markets in the world.
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