India creates non-tariff barrier for Chinese solar products


From pv magazine India

India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has reinstated the ALMM mandate from April 1, 2024. Only solar products and manufacturers on the MNRE-approved ALMM are eligible for government-backed projects. The policy was introduced by the MNRE to protect the domestic industry from the dumping of Chinese products.

The ALMM mandate gives domestic manufacturers the opportunity to serve a sizable market by creating a non-tariff barrier for Chinese products. The ALMM includes models and manufacturers of solar modules that comply with the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).

“The mandatory use of ALMM modules ensures that Chinese modules are excluded, offering a substantial boost to Indian module manufacturers,” said Tanmoy Duari, CEO of AXITEC Energy India. “This not only expands the market for Indian manufacturers but also shields them from competition with Chinese counterparts, fostering indigenous solar production and innovation.”

Goldi Solar is one of the ALMM-listed PV manufacturers. It plans to invest in 6 GW of module manufacturing and 5 GW cell production by 2026.

“ALMM is a leveling mechanism, providing domestic manufacturers with a notable edge and fostering a favorable environment for Indian players,” said Ishver Dholakiya, managing director and founder of Goldi Solar. “This presents a golden opportunity for local manufacturers, particularly in two key sectors: rooftop solar and utility-scale projects.”

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While exports have historically been a focus for major Indian PV manufacturers, the ALMM necessitates a shift toward fulfilling the needs of the Indian market. This is because the ALMM incentivizes the use of domestically manufactured solar panels in projects.

Anurag Garg, the CEO of Jakson Solar's module business, said that domestic module manufacturing capacity was underused last year, even with 20 GW of installed capacity. Now, he doesn’t see any challenges in module availability.

Solar panel manufacturers in India are largely dependent on China for solar cells and various other components such as glass, frames, backsheets, and encapsulants.

“[This] is a step is in the right direction to ensure government support and push for domestic manufacturing, ensuring minimal dependence on imports,” said Garg.

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