US efforts to encourage the expansion of India's PV industry may have opened a backdoor to parts made with forced labor in China.
Bloomberg reports this based on its own research. According to the news agency, India's largest PV manufacturer – Waaree Energies – allegedly shipped millions of solar panels to the US using components from a Chinese company whose products have been repeatedly denied access to the US market over concerns about forced labour.
According to Bloomberg, the importation of Wari solar panels raises questions about how U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials are enforcing the ban on products made by Uyghurs in China's Xinjiang region.
According to the Uighur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), US Customs has seized thousands of shipments from Chinese companies since the summer of 2022. Imports of solar panels from India exploded due to the ban on solar panels from China. Almost US$2 billion in the first 11 months of 2023.
India, which has limited manufacturing capacity to produce its own solar cells, has ambitious plans to build a vertically integrated PV industry to take advantage of opportunities in the US and domestic markets.
Waaree has 3 factories in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state of Gujarat and has announced plans to expand production capacity using government incentives over the next 2 years. The company wants to make solar cells and wafers. The company also plans to open a factory near Houston later this year.