Chinese solar module cos remain in the dark

The Indian government is turning the screws on Chinese solar power equipment firms, keeping on hold decisions to grant them permission to feature in the approved list of solar photovoltaic (PV) models and manufacturers (ALMM), said two people aware of the development.

Being on the list is essential to do business in the world’s largest green energy market. Equipment of firms on the list can be sourced for government-supported schemes and projects from where electricity distribution companies (discoms) procure electricity. The ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) issued an order on 10 March enforcing this approved list, which features around 23 manufacturers and is a non-tariff barrier, effectively discouraging Chinese imports.

As part of India’s economic squeeze on China, manufacturers and solar modules are to be approved by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and the MNRE. Also, to be included in the approved list, an MNRE team has to inspect the facilities in China and conduct a production and sale audit.

“Only the models and manufacturers included in this list shall be eligible for use in government/government-assisted projects/projects under government schemes and programmes installed in the country, including projects set up for sale of electricity to government as per the guidelines issued under Section 63 of the Electricity Act, 2003, and amendment thereof,” according to a 10 March MNRE order.

“The Indian team could not travel to the Chinese factories due to the pandemic. The applications have been pending for a while even after payment of fees,” said the second person mentioned above.

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