India’s Power Ministry Seeks to Scrap Solar Dumping Duty Plan

Jun 23, 2014 6:52 am ET

June 23 (Bloomberg) -- India’s power ministry is seeking to ditch a proposal to impose dumping duties on imports of U.S. and Asian solar equipment, saying tariffs would undermine Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plans to boost sun power.

“We’ve requested the commerce ministry and finance ministry to reconsider,” Power Minister Piyush Goyal told reporters today in New Delhi. “As things stand today, India doesn’t have adequate manufacturing capacity to support the kind of thrust we want to give to solar.”

The comments indicate growing opposition in Modi’s government to levies recommended on May 22 by the nation’s previous administration. The proposed tariffs ranging from 11 cents to 81 cents per watt threaten to more than double the price of U.S., Chinese, Malaysian and Taiwanese panels.

India has built 80 percent of its photovoltaic capacity using panels imported from those countries, according to New Delhi-based consultancy Bridge to India Energy Pvt. The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy says domestic makers can’t supply enough solar cells to keep pace with plans to quadruple solar power capacity in the next three years.

Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari warned his commerce ministry counterpart that duties would double the cost of solar power, the Hindu Business Line reported on June 11.

The Ministry of Finance has until Aug. 22 to implement the duties, which were recommended by the commerce ministry four days before Modi’s administration took office.