India Likely to Reimpose Solar Module Import Restrictions

ALMM Exemption to Expire on March 31st, Commissioning Window for Delivered Modules Considered

The Indian government is unlikely to extend an exemption on solar module imports beyond March 31st, according to sources familiar with the matter. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) met with solar project developers and module manufacturers on Tuesday to assess industry progress and commissioning timelines.

“The overall view was that a further relaxation is not required as adequate time has been given to the industry,” said one source speaking to ET, indicating the ALMM (Approved List of Module Manufacturers) restrictions are likely to return.

A final decision is expected soon, but some concessions for commissioning modules already delivered to project sites before the deadline are being considered.

The ALMM mandate, introduced in 2021, requires developers to purchase modules from a government-approved list to promote domestic manufacturing. However, due to a gap between domestic supply and demand, the mandate was suspended for the 2023-24 fiscal year.

In February, the government announced plans to reinstate the ALMM program with exemptions for projects in advanced stages of construction with pre-placed orders. This was put on hold a week later.

Industry officials are divided on the potential relaxation for projects nearing completion. While some propose a six-month extension for commissioning modules delivered before the deadline, discussions are ongoing regarding modifications for projects with pre-placed orders or opened lines of credit.

The decision to reimpose ALMM restrictions reflects the government’s balancing act between promoting domestic solar manufacturing and ensuring a steady supply of modules for India’s ambitious renewable energy goals.