Domestic manufacturing only meets half of India's solar equipment demand: Power minister RK Singh

Domestic manufacturing of solar equipment meets only half of the country's demand.

NEW DELHI: Domestic manufacturing capacity of solar cells and modules meets only half of the country's demand, union power and renewable energy minister RK Singh said.

This means that the dependendence on China for India's solar imports is bound to continue. The minister recently announced a slew of duties to be levied on them, starting this year.

Presently, the solar cell manufacturing capacity is at 2.5 GW, with another 5 GW under construction. A further 3 GW has been approved, Singh told reporters at a virtual press conference on Friday.


This would mean that imports of solar equipment from China is likely to continue, which currently has an 80% share of the total imports. Singh pegged the total expenditure on renewable energy imports at $2.9 billion.

However, Singh stressed the need for self-reliance in India, saying that goods manufactured in India did not lack quality. "Solar modules are exported from India, so it is not a knock on their quality," the minister said.

2 GW of the 3 GW commissioned solar capacity will be part of Adani Green's Rs. 45,000 crore project, the biggest in the world. As part of the winning bid, Adani will develop a capacity of 8 GW by 2025, and will also establish a further 2 GW of solar cells and modules by 2022.
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Last week, Singh told reporters that the government plans to levy a basic custom duty of 15-20% that would rise to 40% in a year's time, to reduce dependence on China. However, he also told the industry that public power-purchase agreements that were signed before August 1 would be reimbursed for the duty they pay, through a "grandfather" clause.
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