NewEnergyNews: THE U.S.-INDIA THIN FILM FIGHT

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    Friday, August 24, 2012

    THE U.S.-INDIA THIN FILM FIGHT

    Are U.S. Thin-Film Deals 'Killing' Solar Module Manufacturing In India?

    Jessica Lillian, 21 August 2012 (Solar Industry)

    “As solar manufacturers battle it out under cutthroat pricing conditions…the most well-known conflict pits the U.S…[against China’s] illegal subsidies to its PV manufacturers…The latest controversy, however, paints the U.S. as the aggressor…[India] claims the U.S. is ‘killing’ India's domestic PV manufacturing industry.

    “Through its Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank) and Overseas Private Investment Corp. (OPIC), the U.S. government has long promoted the export of domestically manufactured PV modules and related products to projects in India through low-interest loans to Indian solar developers…[D]eals involving the shipping of U.S.-manufactured thin-film PV modules to projects under development in India have regularly dotted the PV finance landscape over the past few years…[supporting] both U.S. manufacturing and India's ongoing drive to ramp up its solar deployment…”

    “…In a strongly worded press release issued this week, [India’s Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) slammed] the Ex-Im Bank and OPIC for using…low-interest loans to Indian solar project developers on the mandatory condition that they buy the equipment, solar panels and cells from U.S. companies…[distorting the market] in favor of U.S. companies…[It named] First Solar and now-bankrupt Abound Solar as the primary winners…[and reported] 80% of India's PV manufacturers have fallen on hard times…

    “…Thin film has struggled to gain sizeable market share in most locales, but it has enjoyed an unusually strong presence in India…50% of the first batch of PV projects in the government-promoted Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission used thin film, compared to just 14% of the overall solar market…[D]omestic-content requirements (DCR)… require crystalline modules used in NSM projects to be manufactured in India, but thin film is currently exempt…[The CSE said] U.S. companies and government finance agencies…[took] advantage of this loophole…[Changing the DCR or a tariff may follow]…”

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