Solar power companies plan move against dumping probe into Chinese imports

Solar power developers hope that they would be able to get scrapped the Directorate General of Trade Remedies’ (DGTR) investigation on a petition seeking additional antidumping duties on solar equipment and component imports, people aware of the matter said.

The developers — already reeling under high commodity costs, cancelled contracts and prospects of a new customs duty of up to 40% on panels and cells from next April — believe the case could be thrown out based on a rule by the DGTR itself that forbids anyone with less than a 25% market share from making such a request.

Last month, the Indian Solar Manufacturers Association (ISMA), on behalf of two members — Mundra Solar PV, which is the Adani Group’s solar manufacturing arm, and Jupiter Solar Power — filed a petition seeking to impose duties on solar imports from China, Vietnam, and Thailand, accusing companies such as Longi, Jinko and Trina of dumping their goods in the Indian market. The petition claimed that imports from these countries — which account for more than 90% of the solar equipment used in the country — were priced lower than their cost and that they would be able to monopolise the entire market by taking control of the manufacturing supply chain.

Other major domestic manufacturers such as Solar, Waaree, Jakson, Moserbear Solar, Vikram, and Websol — all ISMA members but are not part of the petition — make up the rest of India’s 15-gigawatt module and 3GW cell manufacturing capacity.

Adani’s manufacturing unit is located in a special economic zone, which receives special privileges and enjoys exemptions on duties on imported machinery used to manufacture solar cells and modules.

Developers hope this should disqualify

as a petitioner. Without Adani’s 1,500 MW manufacturing capacity, Jupiter will not be able to meet the 25% threshold on its own.

Industry executives also feel Adani Green — the group’s renewable arm — has been the biggest beneficiary of Chinese imports and has been stockpiling equipment for its solar projects.

On the advice of former DGTR officials who are familiar with antidumping laws, developers are cooperating with the quasi-legal investigation and responding to queries, but “under protest”, said an executive, requesting anonymity. “While we are not happy with the probe, we will send in responses by next week,” the person said.

Currently, developers can either choose to approach the DGTR directly, or move the Delhi High Court. While no decision has been reached yet, companies that ET spoke to said they would avoid moving court if they could get the mater quashed at the DGTR level itself.