A solar power plant near Bangalore: AFP

As India pushes for renewable energy to reduce its fossil fuels dependency, the Commerce Ministry has recommended imposing a two-year duty on imports of solar cells to protect domestic manufacturers.

The recommendation was made after an investigation by the Directorate General of Trade Remedies revealed a more than seven-fold increase in imports of solar cells in only three years. This rapid rise in imports is causing ‘serious injury’ to domestic producers, Press Trust of India reports.

Imports of solar cells, mostly from China, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan,  jumped to 9,790 MW in 2017-18 from 1,275 MW in 2014-15.

The duty recommended by the directorate is 25% in the first year, to be lowered to 20% in the first six months of the second year and to 15% in the remaining six months. However, the Finance Ministry will make the final call.

India produced 842 MW of solar cells in 2017-18. The Indian Solar Manufacturers Association has claimed that on account of the surge in imports of the cells, many domestic producers have kept their production facilities almost idle, and that resulting heavy losses have crippled the domestic industry.

India targets building up to a solar production capacity of 100 gigawatts by 2022.

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