A large number of solar projects in India has been delayed and facing inflation in costs. It has been more than a month since when custom officials have blocked over 900 containers by demanding higher import duties.
At the Port of Chennai in South India, the officials are classifying the solar panels as motors which attract 7.5 percent import duty in contrast to 0 percent of the Solar Modules, said Sunil Jain, CEO of Hero Future Energies Ltd. Hero Future paid higher import duties to get its 30-megawatt shipment cleared.
This becomes an obstacle in Narendra Modi’s goal to make install 100-gigawatts of Solar Capacity by 2022. The developers were totally dependent on cheap solar modules from China to meet the goals set by our Prime Minister; additionally it would have enabled India to provide the lowest solar tariffs in the world. India is the second largest solar equipment market for China. Imports worth $3.2 billion have been made by India from China by the end of March 31, as per the reports of Bloomberg New Energy Finance Research.
A customs official, requesting anonymity, informs that the industry has an option to approach court after an investigation is complete and an order is passed. The tax department is refusing that the shipment will attract higher duties as it contains fitments apart from panels to power other appliances.
Azure Power Global Ltd has been listed by New York as it struggles to meet project deadlines after its shipment being held.“We had imported 40 megawatts of modules earlier in the year from the same port without any hassles and now, suddenly, we cannot get more panels from there,” Azure Power Chairman Inderpreet Wadhwa said.
Anand Kumar has written letters to other departments to sort out the confusion; he is top bureaucrat at the Ministry of Renewable Energy. We could not get comment from DS Malik, spokesman of Finance Ministry. Indian Customs falls under the country’s finance ministry.“These additional costs are not considered while bidding for projects.” Jain said.