WTO ruling against India ‘won’t have long-term effect on Indian solar market’

Indian solar market observers have downplayed the likely impact of a World Trade Organization ruling against local content policies in the country’s flagship solar programme.

Indian business newspaper Live Mint today reported that the WTO has ruled against India in a long-running dispute instigated by the US over the inclusion of domestic content requirements (DCR), which require some projects awarded contracts under India’s JNNSM national solar mission to use locally produced cells and modules.

India’s government has also offered financing of up to INR10 million (US$152,000) per megawatt to implementing agencies who place orders with domestic manufacturers to set up PV projects.

The US claimed that the DCR discriminates against foreign players looking to access opportunities in India and therefore breaks global trade agreements.

WTO members are not meant to impose national content requirements that discriminate against foreign products and rules dictate that governments must also treat imports on a par with domestically manufactured products. Thus the new ruling will require the Indian government to level the playing field for both foreign and domestic manufacturers of solar panels.

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