Status of Solar Glass and Back Sheets after Safeguard Duty

With the recent levy of a 25 percent safeguard duty on solar imports from China and Malaysia, the next trade dispute focus is on the anti-dumping case on solar glass and EVA sheets, both of which are currently pending. Until the cases are finalized, there is added uncertainty in the market

Earlier, Mercom reported that Malaysia had landed on the radar of the Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties’ (DGAD) for exports of textured tempered glass (solar glass) to India, whether coated or uncoated. An oral hearing on the matter, facilitated by the office of DGAD, took place on June 11, 2018, with a ruling on this matter expected soon, per Ashok Jain, director at Gujarat Borosil.

“The demand for solar glass is expected to increase after the safeguard duty imposition, as the manufacturing of solar cells and modules will increase. This will also increase the demand for solar glass. Whether this rise in demand will be met is another matter, either through local manufacturing or import,” Ashok Jain, the director at Gujarat Borosil Limited, told Mercom.

“In the last two years, solar glass imports have increased. But the safeguard duty on solar cells and modules will improve the situation for domestic solar glass manufacturers. Currently, we cater to 30 percent of the market, and we are ramping up production to service 60 percent of the market. It is difficult to predict the prices as it will be determined by the international prices. Some changes in domestic regulations will not be enough to determine prices one way or the other,” he added.

Discussing the effect of a safeguard duty on the prices of back-sheet, an executive at Renewsys said,There will be no affect on the prices of EVA and back-sheet as of now, as the duty has been imposed on solar cells and solar modules, so there may be an increase in their prices. We would also prefer if there is a duty applied on imported back-sheets.”

“Things are still not clear, and we are working out what percentage of duty will be payable, and on what material. It may get clear in a week. In India, we are the only back-sheet manufacturing player with a capacity of 3 GW”, he added.

An industry insider, who deals with high-performance solar glass with anti-reflective coating, said that local manufacturing is limited to meet the demand. “The industry should also look for performance products, and not use the base glass as it will affect the efficiency of solar cells in the long run. This is an opportunity for Indian solar glass manufacturers to invest in a higher value product. It will not increase the cost much on a per watt basis and in one and half years, there will be a return on the higher investment cost,” he added.

Background of Pending Cases

Solar Glass

Malaysia landed on DGAD’s radar after Indian solar glass producer Gujarat Borosil filed a petition requesting the imposition of an anti-dumping duty. Gujarat Borosil claimed that the dumping of cheap products from Malaysia was causing material injury to its business, which it says is the only solar glass producer in India.

In response to the petition, DGAD initiated an investigation into Malaysian solar glass imports to components with a minimum transmission of 90.5 percent, a thickness that does not exceed 4.2 mm (including a tolerance of 0.2 mm), and at least one dimension that exceeds 1,500 mm, whether coated or uncoated.

In its response to the petition, DGAD agreed that there was enough evidence to support Gujarat Borosil’s claim that solar glass was being dumped in the Indian market from Malaysia, potentially causing material injury to the Indian company.

DGAD also agreed that there was evidence of a causal link between the alleged dumping and injury to the petitioner, which led them to initiate the anti-dumping investigation.

The period of investigation covers a 15-month period stretching from October 1, 2016 to December 31, 2017, and the injury investigation covers the data for the previous three years.

EVA Sheet

In April 2018, DGAD initiated an investigation on imports of ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) sheets for solar modules imported from China PR, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Thailand. This was done in response to a petition filed by Renewsys India Private Limited which sought the imposition of anti-dumping duty on EVA imports.

The investigation will focus on the EVA sheets exported to India between October 1, 2016 and September 30, 2017. The exporters of EVA sheets from the countries mentioned in the petition, and other interested parties have submitted their data and communication documents. An oral hearing was scheduled on July 19, 2018, and there has been no further developments in this case.

Image credit: AGC Solar

Nitin is a staff reporter at Mercomindia.com and writes on renewable energy and related sectors. Prior to Mercom, Nitin has worked for CNN IBN, India News, Agricultural Spectrum and Bureaucracy Today. He received his bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Communication from Manipal Institute of Communication at Manipal University and Master’s degree in International Relations from Jindal School of International Affairs. More articles from Nitin Kabeer