Home Business & Finance US, India feud over solar rules, China corners market
US, India feud over solar rules, China corners market

US, India feud over solar rules, China corners market


Almost shut out of India’s expanding solar-panel market, the US won a ruling against domestic-production requirements, but Indian companies are overwhelmingly choosing Chinese products over US and Indian.US solar-panel exports to India—which doubled its solar capacity over 22 months ending January 2016—fell 83% since 2011, while Chinese exports grew 90% over the same period, according to an IndiaSpend analysis of Indian commerce ministry data.

Plunging US exports led that country to successfully dispute a “make in India” requirement for solar panels and modules used in the country’s national solar-power programme. That requirement was inconsistent with international trade norms, the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled late in February.

Domestic-content requirements (DCR) were imposed in 2011 for government solar-power projects.
China’s solar-panel exports grew from $577 million in 2011-12 to $1,094 million in 2015-16 (April-December). China is the largest exporter of solar panels (solar cells/photovoltaic cells, whether assembled or in module/panel form) to India, accounting for 65% or $3.2 billion of $5 billion in solar-panel imports by India over the past five years.

India’s import of solar panels from across the world increased 60%, from $821 million in 2014-15 to $1.3 billion in 2015-16 (April-December), despite the DCR, and it has been reported that India will contest the ruling.The US ranks fifth in terms of India’s imports of solar panels, based on data for 2015-16 (April-December). Over the last five years, India has imported solar panels worth $298 million from the US. India’s imports of solar panels from the US declined 83%, from $120 million in 2011-12 to $21 million in 2015-16 (April-December).

Chinese panels are cheaper by Rs 5 to Rs 6 each than those produced domestically. In addition, there are quality issues with locally made panels and cells, according to this Economic Times report. While a consignment from China takes 30-45 days to be delivered, there are few customers for domestically produced solar panels.



Anand Gupta Editor - EQ Int'l Media Network


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