India to restrict solar module imports

New Delhi: The government on Friday said restrictions on import of solar modules will be reimposed from April 1, a measure aimed at fostering local capacity.

It had earlier exempted solar projects commissioned by March 31, 2024, from the mandatory requirement of procuring solar modules from the approved list of models and manufacturers (ALMM) for 2023-24.

The mandate, introduced in 2021, required solar project developers to buy modules from the approved list as a non-tariff barrier to boost domestic manufacturing.

The government is bringing back the order as it is of the view that domestic capacities had come up and needed to be supported, said people familiar with the matter.

In February, the government had said that while the ALMM restriction would restart from April 1, open access and captive consumption projects would be exempt. Exemption was also provided to projects in the advanced stage of construction which had opened a line of credit or placed orders for modules for import before March-end.

However, the order was withheld, and the latest order on reimposition of the restriction did not mention any of these exemptions.

India’s cumulative solar module manufacturing capacity reached 64.5 GW, and solar cell manufacturing capacity totalled 5.8 GW, as of December 2023, according to Mercom India Research.

Module manufacturing capacity is projected to surpass 150 GW, and cell capacity is expected to reach 75 GW by 2026, as per the research firm.

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