Washington: Seeking a sizeable pie in India's fast emerging solar energy market, the American solar industry has asked it to remove the trade barriers which discriminates against US solar exports.
Testifying before a Congressional committee, Solar Energy Industry Association vice president John Smirnow alleged that India's local content requirement ‘discriminates against US solar exports and, thereby, provides an unfair competitive advantage to India's domestic solar manufacturers.’
With some of the best solar resources in the world and the cost of solar continuing to decline, India's solar sector is poised for explosive growth, providing an important export opportunity for US solar manufacturers, he told lawmakers.
However, India's growing use of an industrial policy which discriminates against US solar exports, thereby providing an unfair competitive advantage to India's domestic solar manufacturers, Smirnow said on Friday during the
Congressional hearing on ‘A Tangle of Trade Barriers: How India's Industrial Policy is Hurting US Companies’ convened by the Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
While local content requirements may provide some protection for domestic manufacturers, they also stifle innovation, limit a country's access to next-generation technologies and increase costs, not to mention the fact that
local content requirements are explicitly prohibited by global trading rules, he explained.
"Returning to the specifics of India's solar industrial policy, the national solar mission is divided into three phases. Under the first trench of phase one, India required that eligible products - projects based on crystalline silicon
technology - that's the other half of the solar panel industry - versus thin film," he said.
"That is where the US has a technological advantage – in this first phase India required that one half meet a local content requirement for cells, and solar cells are the heart of a solar panel for this technology," Smirnow said.


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