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Solar power growth hit by GST, import duty woes


Solar power growth hit by GST, import duty woes

The ambitious target of setting up 40 gw of rooftop solar power in the country by 2022 seems impossible with the government taking its 'eye' off this ambitious programme.

"Rooftop solar has taken a back seat… The government has taken its eyes off rooftop solar," SunSource CEO, Adarsh Das told DNA Money.

SunSource, the Rs 400 crore start-up company, is in the business of erection of commercial and residential solar rooftops, besides building large solar power plants across the country and some overseas nations, including the Philippines.

So far, India has 3 gw of commercial and residential solar rooftops and adding 37 gw in the next 3-4 years is virtually impossible, that too at a time when there is a general slowdown in the solar industry.

Frequent changes in solar power policies, regulatory issues, safeguard duties, lack of clarity in manufacturing policies are coming in the way of rapid solar growth. The ambitious 100 gw of solar power generation including 40 gw of solar power by 2022 looks elusive, analysts said.

"There is a slowdown in solar. It is slowing down because of safeguard duties on the import of solar panels. There is also GST issues, which are still unresolved. GST refunds are not coming. There is a lack of clarity on government policies. The government has imposed 25% safeguard duty on solar panel imports, leaving tremendous uncertainty about future," Das said.

But the saving grace is rooftop solar, which had huge potential in India, is still growing on its own, though not rapidly.

Some of the state electricity boards have surplus thermal power production. Also, most of the state electricity boards' finances are in bad shape. As a result, they want to discourage rooftop solar power in particular so that there is no loss of revenue on this count particularly from large commercial consumers. Under the net metering system, rooftop power generated will be set off against the power consumed from the grid. Rooftop solar is, however, good for grid stability.

Read  the full story on DNA