India is poised for a significant increase in domestic solar cell manufacturing, aiming to cut its dependence on Chinese imports, according to the country’s top renewable energy official.

Bhupinder Singh Bhalla, Renewable Energy Secretary, expects domestic solar cell capacity to jump fivefold by March 2025, reaching 30 gigawatts annually. This surge will allow India to tighten import restrictions and support Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of self-sufficiency in the solar sector.

To wean itself off Chinese imports, India has already implemented import taxes on certain solar components and established an “approved list” of models and manufacturers, essentially limiting foreign shipments. This strategy aligns with similar efforts by the US and Europe, which have also imposed tariffs on Chinese solar equipment to protect their domestic industries.

However, despite a rise in domestic solar module production due to existing import curbs, Indian manufacturers still rely on China for other crucial components needed to assemble solar panels.

Cells, another key component, will likely be the next target for import restrictions, though the government plans a more cautious approach this time. “We’ll give the industry roughly two years to prepare, ensuring sufficient domestic capacity,” said Bhalla. This strategy aims to establish a “firm, forward-looking policy” to avoid disruptions experienced last year when import restrictions on modules were temporarily lifted due to industry concerns about project delays.

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