Sunday, October 2, 2022

Coronavirus: Solar industry under no compulsion to import from China, says govt

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New Delhi: Minister of New and Renewable Energy RK Singh said on Tuesday that the solar industry in India is under no compulsion to import solar cells or modules from China, following the outbreak of Coronavirus. “The solar industry is under no compulsion to import solar cells, modules and other equipment from China. They are free to meet their requirements either from domestic market or alternative sources,” Singh said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.

Singh urges solar industry in India to invoke force majeure clause

While responding to a question on whether Coronavirus outbreak has affected India’s ability to increase its solar capacity, Singh said, “The government has already clarified that disruption of supply chains due to spread of coronavirus in China or any other country should be considered as a case of natural calamity and force majeure clause may be invoked, wherever considered appropriate, following the due procedure.”

A force majeure clause can be invoked if there are extraordinary events which are beyond human control or if there are natural calamities. The clause frees both the parties from contractual liability for fulfilling their obligations under the contract. The solar industry in India is highly dependent on imports, most of which comes from China. Solar modules account for about 60 percent of a solar project’s cost and 80 percent of cells and modules used in India comes from China.

Indigenous alternatives

Listing the alternative sources, Singh said that the government was actively promoting domestic manufacturing of solar equipment in India through several programmes such as M-SIPS, PM-KUSUM, CPSU Scheme, grid-connected rooftop solar programme, and also tenders for setting up solar photovoltaic manufacturing facilities.

The ministry had recently decided to give extra time for the commissioning of solar power projects that were facing delays because of the virus outbreak in China.
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