July 23: The government is readying up to wave the green flag for the mega solar energy scheme that is expected to big a big sigh of relief for the local manufacturers. The 12 gigawatts solar energy scheme is now in the final stages of approval according to senior government officials.
The solar energy scheme, which will be setup at a cost of Rs 8000 crore, is being readied up to help the local industries by mandating local manufacturing without violating the trade rules of the World Trade Organization. With the new scheme in action, local players will have a big boost in manufacturing solar equipment including panels and help them fight against the cheap imports.
The scheme has already obtained the clearance from the Expenditure Finance Committee, and is now in the final stages of consultation with various government departments and ministries including the PMO. With the scheme, public sector undertakings under the central government will call for tenders for setting up power projects, and the power generated from the plants will be used for their own consumption.
The allocation of power for government institutions helps the scheme bypass the stringent norms of WTO, which had earlier ruled that India had violated trade rules by mandating use of locally made cells and modules.
According to officials, the scheme will be a big relief for the local manufacturers of solar cells and modules as it would finally bridge the gap between domestic manufacturing capacity and the imports. Besides, the directorate general of trade restrictions had also recently recommended imposing 25% safeguard duty on imports from China and Malaysia for a period of one year.
Once approved, the government will be implementing the scheme in a period of four years, following which the domestic manufacturing capacity is expected to rise to 3 GW of solar cells per year.