India: New PV tax measures announced

02. March 2011 | Markets & Trends, Products, Industry & Suppliers | By:  Jaideep Malayvia

Changes to India’s 2011 to 2012 Union Budget have seen solar modules and lanterns reclassified as renewable energy items, rather than electrical items. This means they are now exempt from customs duty.

Vikram Solar PV modules

PV modules in India are now classed as renewable energy items and not electrical items. Image: Vikram Solar.

Under the changes, full exemption from basic customs duty has been applied to any "Toughened Glass" and "Silver Paste", which is imported for the manufacture of solar cells or solar modules. However manufacturers are required to declare that the components will only be used in PV systems.

Previously, when a complete module was imported from outside of India, it attracted no customs duty, which impacted on those looking to manufacture modules in India. With the changes, this is no longer the case, and both local PV module and cell manufacturers have welcomed the move.

Solar lanterns

The customs duty on solar lanterns, the most popular rural household item in India, has also been reduced, from ten percent to five percent. The modules in lanterns, however, do not carry any custom duty.

Furthermore, LED’s used for the manufacture of LED lights and light fixtures are exempt from the special duty of customs, leviable under Section 3(5) of the Customs Tariff Act, 1975. Consequently, the excise duty on LED’s has also been reduced to five percent.

It is expected that the new measures will make PV development in India more attractive.

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