Solar modules stuck at Indian ports due to import duty dispute

Solar modules worth more than $150 million are stuck at various Indian ports due to a dispute over their classification and the import tax applicable to them, sources said, which could delay Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s clean energy goals.

Modi has set an ambitious target of nearly tripling the country’s total renewable energy capacity to 175 gigawatt (GW) by 2022, spurring global firms including Japan’s SoftBank and Goldman Sachs to invest in solar projects in the country.

Most of the solar modules come from China, but several consignments are now held up because customs officials have demanded that some of them be classified as “electric motors and generators”, attracting a 7.5 percent duty, not as “diodes, transistors and similar semi-conductor devices” with no duty.

Two customs officials in the southern port of Chennai confirmed the issue regarding the classification.

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