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.
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. Poor quality Chinese solar modules, rejected by developers, were being sold in the domestic market at a discount.
- 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. 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% 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.
- A case has been brought to our notice wherein a firm has put Chinese component under the DCR programme.
- The Indian government introduced stringent quality norms in August for solar equipment to be sold in the country and made the destruction of sub-standard equipment mandatory.
- With the average efficiency of a solar panel usually just 16-22%, sub-standard quality will impact generation. India has also been conducting an anti-dumping investigation on solar equipment from China, Taiwan and Malaysia.