Indian government authorities have prematurely ended anti-dumping investigations against imported solar modules and may now start a new one where a larger volume of imports would be investigated.
According to media reports, the Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD) recently terminated the anti-dumping investigation it had launched against imported modules on 21 July 2017. The decision was taken after the petitioner, the Indian Solar Manufacturers Association (ISMA), argued that the Directorate should consider a longer period that it had considered in the now closed investigation.
ISMA claimed that the impact on domestic module manufacturers has been very severe. Chinese imports have increased their share from around 80-85% to around 90% over the last two to three years. The investigation had covered imports for only the preceding 15 months, from April 2016 to June 2017. ISMA now wants the DGAD to look further in the past and check the damage caused by rapidly increasing imports have caused to the domestic manufacturers.
Some of the leading solar module manufacturers in India have suffered gravely due to the sudden and huge spike in imports from China, Malaysia, and Taiwan over the last few years. Companies like Moser Baer and IndoSolar have suffered massive losses due to lack of orders from Indian project developers. Only a few manufacturers have managed to survive the wave of increased imports. Tata Power Solar and Waaree Energies have managed to survive as they have used their own modules to set up projects under various schemes. Some manufacturers have also entered the rooftop solar market.
India is also investigating whether or not to impose safeguard duties on imported solar cells. While the Directorate General of Safeguards continues to look into the impact of imported solar cells on domestic manufacturers, it has already recommended the imposition of 70% duties on imports from China, Malaysia, and Taiwan for a period of 200 days.
The imposition of such duties has not only been opposed by the project developers but also the Indian Parliament itself. A committee in the Indian Parliament has advised the government against imposition of such duties as it may have an adverse impact on the solar power sector.
While no duties are currently in place for either solar cells or modules, their impacts are already visible. We recently reported the low interest shown by project developers in 2.2 gigawatts of solar power tenders floated in two states. Both the tenders were grossly under-subscribed as developers feared a post-facto increase in power generation once duties are imposed.