Chinese dumping hits India’s solar industry

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India’s National Solar Mission may be offering huge opportunities to global players but the domestic solar industry is bleeding owing to poor policy and stiff competition from foreign companies, especially the Chinese, says an IANS report.

The National Solar Mission is a major initiative of the Indian government to promote ecologically sustainable growth while addressing the country’s energy security challenge. Launched in 2010, it sets a target of 1,100 MW during the phase I by 2013 and 20,000 MW of installed solar generation by 2022.

The picture looks rosy when one looks at the growth of the solar energy market in India in the last two years and the vast potential the sector offers due to an abundance of sun (a good 300 solar days annually). New solar energy investments in India increased to more than  $2.5 billion in 2011, according to the Council on Energy, Environment and Water.

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But things have become gloomy for the domestic industry, which is unable to catch up with global players, who get incentives like subsidies for exporting their products. China is dumping solar products in the market the world over at much cheaper rates and many countries are coming up with anti-dumping guidelines to give an edge to their domestic companies.

“There is massive potential for solar energy in India with over 30 per cent of population still having no access to electricity. The government came up with the solar mission but unfortunately it remained silent on what role Indian solar companies can play,” Ajay Prakash Srivastava, president of Solar Energy Society of India (SESI), said. The ministry agrees that the manufacturing in India has suffered.

The industry got a ray of hope after new and renewable energy minister Farooq Abdullah promised that the government would limit imports and encourage domestic manufacturing. But at the moment, the picture is gloomy.

According to SESI, domestic solar companies are running with only 15-20 per cent of their capacity and even big companies likes Moser Baer, TATA BP and Indosolar have either shut down operations or are running into huge loses.

SESI feels India has much better technology but there’s need for a level playing field, as China offers subsidies to their companies.

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