Off-Grid Solar Products – Tax Ready Reckoner

India is a federal country, and prior to introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), multiple indirect taxes were levied on transactions in India. Some of the taxes such as Central Excise Duty on manufactured products, Service Tax on specified services, and the Central Sales Tax (CST) on interstate sale of products were levied and collected by the Central Government. Other taxes like Value Added Tax (VAT) on intra-state sale of products and Entry Tax/ Octroi Duty (as applicable) were collected by the State Governments.

This Tax Ready Reckoner has been prepared to help companies interested in importing solar products into India – as well as those already selling within India – navigate what can sometimes be a complex operating environment.

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Latest Global Off-Grid Solar Market Report Reveals a Buoyant Market Despite a Dip in Sales

More than 30 million off-grid solar products sold and over $5 billion saved by consumers in energy-related spending since 2010

 

USA/Netherlands, October 23, 2017 – Today, Lighting Global, the IFC/World Bank Group’s platform to support sustainable growth of the off-grid solar market, and GOGLA, the industry association representing the off-grid solar sector, launched the latest Global Off-Grid Solar Semi-Annual Market Report, which includes performance data from 65 companies and covers the period of January to June 2017.

Overall, there was a 7% drop in worldwide sales volumes of off-grid solar products since the last six-month update, which covered July to December 2016. However, while unit sales were down, the market continued to move up to higher value products and larger system sales, and there remains a buoyant market in which companies are taking an optimistic approach. At the same time, according to the International Energy Agency, the sector needs to grow significantly in order to meet universal energy access targets by 2030—on the order of an additional 195 million people. To realize this goal, critical barriers to growth need to be addressed.

“Today’s report shows that companies working in the off-grid lighting and electrification sector operate in difficult and often unpredictable market conditions,” explained Koen Peters, Executive Director of GOGLA.
“As the association representing the sector, we see an increasingly urgent need to work with governments, investors, and other stakeholders to accelerate the development of the off-grid sector”, Peters continues. “With the right partnerships and a supportive policy environment in place this sector can thrive, and deliver on its role to help meet the 2030 universal energy access target.”

The report identifies several market drivers that have played a significant role in influencing the results of this reporting period. They include the East African drought, the continued effects of demonetization in India, and increasing commodification in smaller product categories. Despite these external factors, companies are continuing to expand into new markets, and are innovating with new kinds of government partnerships that are enabling even further market penetration.

Key Sales Figures:

  • 3.52 million product sales were reported in the first half of 2017.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia account for approximately 1.77 million (50%) and 1.16 million (33%) of the total reported sales, respectively, with India remaining the highest volume sales market globally.
  • The combined cash sales revenues in H1 2017 amount to about $95.57 million globally.
  • 30.7 million products have been sold by Lighting Global associates and GOGLA members since 2010.

 

Market Drivers:

  • The drought across East Africa has continued to impact the region. While some areas are showing signs of recovery, there are still severe consequences, including food security emergencies in several countries.
  • Demonetization that occurred in India in November 2016 continued to negatively impact sales in the largely cash-based economy.
  • Commodification of the market for entry-level products has increased competition in the sector from copycat and unbranded, unreported product sales. At the same time, we observe increasing brand awareness among consumers for high-quality products.
  • A range of broader and ongoing market dynamics including:
    • policy change affecting duties, taxes, and regulation of the sector;
    • limited availability of finance, in particular working capital and local currency financing;
    • macro-economic factors, including general economic conditions and currency fluctuations;
    • political influences, including elections;
    • seasonal trends and other environmental factors.

 

Key Impact Figures Since 2010 (estimated):

  • $5.2b has been saved in energy-related spending by off-grid households (due to switching from expensive energy sources such as kerosene).
  • Over 120 million people have benefitted from improved energy access due to off-grid solar products.
  • Cumulatively, 28.6 million metric tons of CO2e has been avoided due to a reduction in kerosene use, equal to taking eight coal-fired power plants offline for a year.

Following today’s report, the next biennial Global Off-Grid Solar Market Trends flagship report will be published by Lighting Global and GOGLA in early 2018. This in-depth study into the off-grid solar sector worldwide will include detailed research into investment trends, advances in technology, marketing, finance, and policy developments, while also looking at the nuances of the social impact made by the industry—thus building an even deeper understanding of the market.

In addition, GOGLA and Lighting Global are co-hosting the 2018 Global Off-Grid Solar Forum and Expo from January 22-24 in Hong Kong. As Russell Sturm, Global Head for Energy Access at IFC notes, “This is the first time that the biennial event, which started in 2007, will take place in East Asia—acknowledging the growing and critical role Asia plays in the development of the off-grid solar market worldwide. As the essential meeting place for the sector, the Forum and Expo is the place where the industry holds its seminal conversations, and the pivot point for the next two years of the market’s development.”

More than 600 key stakeholders including manufacturers, distributors, investors, entrepreneurs, donors and policymakers will explore industry developments across five important areas: business development, access to finance, technology, quality assurance, impact and policy. The event will also be an opportunity for companies to showcase their latest products, services and innovations at the industry’s leading exhibition. View the agenda.

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From Gap to Opportunity: Business Models for Scaling Up Energy Access

This report breaks new ground by estimating that there is a $37 billion market opportunity for improved energy services at the base of the pyramid. It profiles companies with innovative business models and explores in detail what it takes for them to succeed.

More specifically, the report sizes the commercial opportunity for lighting, basic electricity and cooking services, and explores in depth how companies are capturing this potential around the world. With a view to scaling up market-based successes, it offers a series of recommendations for operating firms, social and commercial investors, as well as policy-makers and donors.

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Lighting Asia: Solar Off-Grid Lighting, Market analysis of India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Indonesia, Cambodia and Philippines

Catalyzing markets for off-grid lighting (Lighting Asia/India) conducted a research of the off-grid lighting market in seven countries across Asia – India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Cambodia, Indonesia, Pakistan and the Philippines – and presents the opportunity for investors and industry players to make a real and necessary impact by serving communities without access to reliable electricity.

The report provides analysis to support the Asian off-grid lighting market by guiding enterprises in formulating their strategy to enter / scale up in these markets.

The report also assists investors, financial institutions and regulatory authorities in understanding these markets and in identifying potential opportunities to catalyze their growth.

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Consumer Preference for Off-Grid Lighting Products: Insights from a study in Bihar and Odisha

A variety of modern off-grid electric lighting technologies for areas not connected to the electric grid have emerged over the last decade. Good quality off-grid lighting products are cost-effective, robust, and use small amounts of energy. As a result, there is a large market for these technologies. This study is based on focus group discussions (FGDs) conducted in Bihar and Odisha states of India during February and March 2013 to gain insight into consumer preferences for off-grid lighting products. Field sites were selected to determine whether preferences varied significantly between regions with different characteristics. While both states have large off-grid populations, income levels and population densities in the study area in Bihar were significantly higher. Twelve FGDs were conducted in these two states, with separate male and female groups involving 113 respondents.

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Market Presence of Off-Grid Lighting Products: Insights from a study in Bihar and Odisha

This study looks at the presence of off-grid electric lighting products in conventional retail supply chains in Bihar and Odisha states of India. Baseline information for this study was collected in February and March 2013. While large populations in Bihar and Odisha live off-grid, there are significant differences in geographical and socio-economic conditions between the two states. This makes them a representative cross-section of the off-grid lighting market in India. The report provides a snapshot of the current market scenario with respect to technology, product pricing, product penetration, sales volume, and retail store characteristics. It also presents information about the presence of solar-charged off-grid lighting technologies in the conventional retail supply chain. This study is especially useful to manufacturers and distributors of solar-charged off-grid light technologies interested in understanding the options available to end-consumers in the two states.

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