No Basic Customs Duty on Imported Solar Cells and Modules for Now

A tariff rate of 20% was introduced in the recently released Finance Bill


The basic customs duty on the import of solar cells and modules into the country will remain ‘zero’, for now, an official of the Ministry of Finance confirmed to Mercom.

The officer said that there is a basic customs duty exemption (notification 24/2005 Customs dated March 1, 2005) in place for these items. Unless the earlier notification is amended to exclude the solar cells and modules from customs duty exemption, the items will continue to have 0% duty. The budget speech document released later in the day also confirmed that the BCD for solar cells and modules is nil for now.

Solar Cell Modules BDC NIL 0%

Following the Budget 2020 presentation, the government in an amendment also split the earlier tariff item 8541 40 11 (solar cells whether or not assembled in modules or panels) into two; 8541 40 11 (solar cells not assembled) and 8541 40 12 (solar cells assembled in modules or made up into panels) and proposed a basic customs duty of 20% on both the tariff items.

There was speculation in the industry that the 20% customs duty on solar cells and modules would be put in place immediately. To shed light on the issue, Mercom reached out to the official in-charge at the Ministry of Finance for clarification.

There is already an existing safeguard duty on these items. The safeguard duty for solar cells and modules imported from imports from China and Malaysia from January 30, 2020, to July 29, 2020, is 15%.

The Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman, tabled the Economic Survey 2019-20 in Parliament on Friday. The survey suggested that 2019 was a milestone in terms of progress towards sustainability goals for India, thanks to its initiatives towards inclusive development and its efforts to augment the use of renewable resources.

The survey noted that the country’s undertaking of one of the world’s largest renewable energy drives was a significant leap for the country and that it has already achieved 83 GW of its 175 GW target by 2022. It expects to exceed this target and eventually reach the 450 GW milestone. The survey stated that India was on track to achieve its nationally determined targets.

Article has been updated