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India plans levy on US, Malaysia and Taiwan solar panels

LiveMint logoLiveMint 23-05-2014 Marc Roca

London: India’s commerce ministry proposed anti-dumping levies for photovoltaic cells imported from the US, China, Taiwan and Malaysia following an 18-month probe.

The duties required to offset dumping and material injury to local manufacturers are $0.64 to $0.81 a watt for Chinese imports, a notice from the ministry shows. They would add $0.11 to $0.48 a watt for US cells, $0.62 for Malaysian units and $0.59 for those from Taiwan.

India, Asia’s third-biggest solar market, is joining a protectionist trend that developers say threatens the viability of projects as they compete against conventional power. The US applied tariffs as high as 250% on Chinese products in 2012, and the European Union followed with its own measures a year later. Australia started its own probe into the sale of products below costs, a practice commonly known as dumping, on 14 May.

The ministry indicated last week that it was preparing to recommend duties on imports, making them less competitive with Indian-made solar equipment. It concluded that more than 20 overseas suppliers sold the devices in India for as little as half the cost as in their home markets and undercut local prices by as much as a third.

The new tariffs are likely to increase the capital cost of solar plants by about Rs2.7 crore ($461,000) a megawatt if their average levels are approved, according to the notice. Companies have invested about $10 billion in Indian solar plants since 2010, with more than 2,400 megawatts already operating, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

The government started the probe in November 2012, after domestic makers Indosolar Ltd., Websol Energy System Ltd. and Jupiter Solar Power Ltd. alleged that companies from four countries dumped products in India.

A group of project developers that includes US maker First Solar Inc is challenging the probe’s findings in court, claiming that it rejected data submitted by overseas competitors. They also say the ministry failed to consider evidence showing that local producers don’t possess sufficient domestic production capacity to legally warrant a probe. BLOOMBERG

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