In its latest notification, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has issued guidelines for the import of secondary cells and batteries of lead-acid and nickel-based chemistries that are utilized in solar project development.
This notification is concerning its earlier regulation for solar PV systems, devices and components goods (a requirement for compulsory registration), an order passed in 2017.
It has now clarified that secondary cells and batteries of lead-acid or nickel-based chemistry type, are covered under the Indian Standard (IS) 16270 for storage batteries that are used in solar projects.
The ministry has underlined that these imports are subject to mandatory certification (IE C61427) obtained from the BIS along with a certificate issued by the MNRE mentioning its use in solar projects in India only.
The notice also mentions that any other usage of these said items would require a separate no objection certificate and undertaking from importer stating that it will not be used for solar PV project, along with order or supply copy of agencies or companies, and their usage duly approved by the customs.
As the Indian renewable energy industry expands, the government is trying to catch up with quality issues and is setting up testing guidelines to ensure all products sold meet established standards. MNRE issued a new National Lab Policy in December 2017 to improve the quality and reliability of renewable energy projects in India.
The MNRE has recently issued draft guidelines for performance testing of batteries (lead-acid and nickel-based chemistry type) series approval for mandatory registration with the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).
Previously, the government issued a proposal to set up a national mission on transformative mobility and battery storage initiatives. The Cabinet has also approved the creation of the Phased Manufacturing Program (PMP) to support the development of large-scale, export-competitive integrated batteries and cell-manufacturing giga-scale projects in India. The Phased Manufacturing Program will be valid for five years until 2024 and help in localization of production across the entire electric vehicles value chain. The program is expected to be finalized by the national mission on transformative mobility and battery storage.
Unlike for solar components, battery testing guidelines are being established before the announcement of the national mission for battery storage.