Amid fears of a proposed safeguard duty on imported solar cells thwarting India's solar mission, the government wants to ensure that the duty is prospective in nature, and does not impact ongoing solar projects, a top official in the renewable energy ministry said.
After directorate general of safeguards (DGS) this week proposed 70% safeguard duty citing "serious injury" to the domestic industry on account of increased imports, there have been concerns of solar project costs going up by as much as 40% if the duty is levied.
The Indian government has set itself an ambitious target of installing 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022, of which 100 GW is to come from solar projects.
An inter-ministerial committee led by secretaries of commerce, revenue and new and renewable energy will meet shortly to consider the possibility of a safeguard duty.
MNRE secretary Anand Kumar said his ministry is clear that if a safeguard duty comes, it should be prospective in nature and not affect projects which have already been bid for.
"We have to take a judicious view, considering our manufacturing capacity, our requirements and whether such a duty will affect our programme," Kumar said.
The Indian solar industry is concerned about project costs and solar tariffs going up on account of the proposed duty, the burden of which will ultimately be borne by the end consumer.