• The World Trade Organization (WTO) had earlier decided in favour of the US regarding India’s position on the use of domestically produced solar cells and modules under the country’s flagship 100 GW solar power plan
  • India appealed against the decision, filing as many as 16 cases against the US citing the latter’s violation of international norms on the subject
  • WTO is now expected to give its final judgement in the case by September 2016

In another six or seven weeks, the World Trade Organization (WTO) is supposed to publish a decision that could strongly impact the course of the Indian solar industry for next few years to come. WTO is expected to give its final verdict on India’s appeal against the WTO decision regarding use of solar cells and modules in the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) program by September 2016. This assertion was made by a senior government official who was not named in a report by The Indian Express, an Indian Daily.

In February, the WTO backed a claim by the US, ruling that India is not allowed to make it mandatory for solar power project developers in India to use locally manufactured solar cells and modules under the 100 GW solar power target capacity planned by 2022. In response, India filed an appeal against the decision.

The Indian head of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Piyush Goyal had stated sometime back that his government will file 16 cases against the US while continuing to source the PV equipment from local manufacturers (see Protecting Domestic PV Makers). Moreover, there were rumours about the two countries seeking to arrive at a mutually agreeable solution, outside the WTO (see India-US Solar Trade Dispute).

If the WTO ruling expected by September is against India, then the country will be obliged to abide by the order within the next six to seven months, according to the report. This would impact India’s solar power auctions where a limited quantity is reserved for local products under the so-called domestic content requirement (DCR) category.

Like many other countries, India strongly tries to support existing and new local PV production. Recently, the Indian government introduced its Solar Zones Policy under which 10 solar zones of 10,000 hectares of land each are planned with 25% of the space being reserved for domestic manufacturers of ingots, wafers, cells
and modules (see India To Implement Solar Zones).