US efforts to support the growth of India's solar industry may inadvertently expose a loophole allowing the entry of components manufactured with forced labor in China.
Waaree Energies Ltd., a prominent Indian solar producer, has shipped numerous panels to the US containing components from a Chinese company. These products were previously denied entry to the US due to forced labor concerns, as revealed by an investigation by Bloomberg News into Indian and US import records. The solar cells, produced by China's Longi Green Energy Technology Co. in facilities located in Malaysia and Vietnam, are integrated into Waaree panels widely used in solar farms across Texas and other states.
This situation raises concerns about the enforcement of the ban on products associated with the repression of Uyghur people in China's Xinjiang region by US Customs and Border Protection officials. Despite detaining multiple shipments of solar panels from Chinese-owned firms since the ban's initiation in June 2022, the predominant focus on China has inadvertently created an opportunity for Indian solar producers. Data compiled by BloombergNEF indicates that India exported nearly $2 billion worth of panels to the US in the first 11 months of the preceding year, marking a substantial increase from the entire year of 2022.