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Mr. Vineet Mittal, Cofounder & Director, Navitas Solar

India has committed to achieve 40% of its installed electricity capacity from renewable energy by 2030 as a part of Paris Climate Agreement. To achieve this goal, 175 GW of non-fossil fuel energy will be installed by 2022 incorporating 100 GW of solar energy.

Write now, India’s solar sector is heavily dependent on imports from other countries. Certain countries has been dumping solar cells and modules that overpowers domestic solar module manufacturers and this is also noted by the Indian Government.

During COVID-19 pandemic, the international trade was heavily disturbed and Government of India has also noticed the disturbance faced by domestic solar module manufacturers. India need to promote its domestic solar module manufacturers to achieve its ambitious goals about installing solar energy. Therefore, Government of India (GOI) thought to levy a strong policy which promotes domestic solar modules and decrease its dependence on international imports.

NIMMA (North India Module Manufacturers Association) along with ISMA (Indian Solar Manufacturers Association) and AISIA( All India Solar Industries Association) met the Finance Minister. In the delegation, Vineet Mittal (Cofounder & Director, Navitas Solar), Manish Gupta (President, NIMMA, and Founder, Director, Insolation Energy), Arpit Agarwal (Neosol), Manish Agarwal (Enkay Solar) and Sandeep Gupta (Vice-Chairman & Managing Director of Jakson Group) were present on behalf of the solar associations.

This was basis a release shared by NIMMA, ISMA & AISIA. The meeting took place in the Ministry of Finance, North Block, Delhi under the leadership of Ramcharan Bohra, MP – Jaipur City. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has assured the delegation of domestic solar module manufacturers that BCD, which was announced 9 months back, will be levied from 1st April, 2022.

Vineet Mittal, Cofounder & Director, Navitas Solar, a leading Indian Solar Manufacturer said, “Local employment will be escalated by a huge capacity as wide job opportunities will be created in the solar sector. Dependency on other countries will be diminished after this historic implementation. India’s forex reserves can be saved to a large extent by having lesser dependency on imports.”

BCD has become a boon for Indian Solar Module manufacturers who has faced tough competition from imported modules. As per the announcement of Indian Government about its vision to install solar energy in a massive stage in the country, domestic manufacturers have invested hugely on that basis. BCD minimizes the scope of any type of imports from any country. The challenge associated with BCD is as it was announced but it is not implemented until now and due to that uncertainty persists regarding the same.

MNRE boosts the solar energy sector by including open access and net-metering projects in ALMM. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India has recently taken a major step towards making the Indian Solar Energy sector more vibrant and quality-driven. The ministry has amended the “Approved List of Models and Manufacturers (ALMM) of Solar Modules (requirements for Compulsory Registration) Order, 2019” to include open access and net-metering projects.

Both will be subjected to change from April 1, 2022. As per the amendment, for all government projects, government assisted projects, government-sponsored projects, open access projects, and net metering installations across the country, only products from manufacturers on the ALMM list will be allowed to be used.

The enlistment would also be necessary for projects under Component A of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM) program.

The enlistment requirement was identical to the prior rule, but it was not relevant to open access and net metering programs, which are now included in the change. The inclusion of open access and net-metering initiatives under ALMM is bound to bring in a positive change in the Indian solar energy market. As modules are the most significant component of solar power projects, this move will ensure that, the consumers get better quality and trustworthy products. This will result in an overall increase in demand and that would help small manufacturers expand their capacity, while the investor will have more confidence in their investments.

Navitas Solar, a Surat-based leading solar energy systems provider, welcomed the announcement, saying that the move will boost the manufacturing of the solar modules and the industry will see an acceleration in the demand while bringing much-needed quality assurance in the products.

An updated list of ALMM-ordered models and manufacturers was released by the MNRE in November. Mandatory registration rules for solar module manufacturers were established by MNRE in 2018. Models and manufacturers must have received Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) certification under the ‘Solar Photovoltaics, Systems, Devices, and Components Goods (Requirements for Compulsory Registration) Order, 2017’ and must have established a manufacturing capacity for production in India to be included on the list.

Anand Gupta Editor - EQ Int'l Media Network