Solar power developers flouting domestic content norms may face penal action

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India plans to penalize solar power developers which are using foreign equipment in power generation projects awarded on the basis that they would only use locally made solar cells and modules, according to two government officials.

Image for representational purpose only

To curb such malpractices, the government will make it mandatory for developers to publicly disclose the radio-frequency identification (RFID) tag information of the panels used in solar projects. It will also be incumbent on the developers to share the RFID list of rejected panels.

According to a Mint report, published on September 7, poor quality Chinese solar modules, rejected by developers, were being sold in the domestic market at a discount.

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These projects, awarded under the so-called domestic content requirement (DCR) route by state-owned firms, are required to use solar cells and modules made in India. Also, under the solar roof-top scheme, the government gives subsidy on the condition that the modules should be made in India wherein solar cells can be imported.

Solar modules or panels account for nearly 60 percent of a solar power project’s cost. For China’s solar panel manufacturing capacity, estimated to be around 70 gigawatts (GW) per year, the major markets are the US, India and China itself.

As per Livemint, Ketan Mehta, managing director and chief executive of Rays Power Infra, a solar project developer said “The entire policy faces a risk when companies start flouting the existing rules which are there to promote domestic manufacturing and local jobs. It’s basically kind of profiteering out of a policy custom made for local jobs and it’s very important that the investigation is carried out in a time-bound manner and suitable action is taken against the people who are doing such activities.” 

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