Delhi-based Gautam Solar has put on stream additional module manufacturing capacity at its Haridwar facility, taking the total capacity to 250 megawatts (MW), from the existing 120 MW. The company said the expansion policy “aligns very well with the government’s decision to incentivise solar production in the country”.
The announcement was made two weeks after the Union Cabinet approved the Rs 4,500 crore production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for solar manufacturing to reduce import dependency. “This has been made possible in the wake of the government’s decision to make India a solar manufacturing hub and reduce its dependency on other countries for importing solar equipment,” Gautam Mohanka, managing director, Gautam Solar, said.
The domestic solar manufacturers are enthused by the market visibility offered through various central government solar schemes with the mandatory domestic content requirement. The existing central public sector undertaking scheme aims to set up 12,000 MW of solar capacity using domestic ingredient by government companies by FY23.
To boost domestic manufacturing, the Centre had imposed a 25 per cent safeguard duty on solar imports from China and Malaysia in July 2018 for two years, which was extended to July 2021, at a rate of 15 per cent. From the beginning of FY23, solar module imports will attract a basic customs duty of 40 per cent.
About 50 per cent of the country’s 14 GW solar manufacturing capacity currently remains unutilised, as developers have preferred to import cheaper equipment, mostly from China, to build solar plants. However, overall solar imports in the first ten months of FY21 have fallen to $393 million from $1.6 billion in the same period a year ago as solar capacity addition fell 45 per cent to 4.8 GW and module prices fell by about 20 per cent.