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MUMBAI: Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced a phased manufacturing plan for solar cells and modules, which is expected to boost domestic manufacturing capacity.

Currently, nearly 80% of solar cells and modules are imported from China.

Sitharaman said solar energy has a “huge promise” in India as her budget speech focused on sustainable power sources.

She also proposed a capital injection of more than Rs 3 lakh crore to reform state-owned electricity distribution companies.

The budget also proposed to increase import duties of solar inverters and lanterns to 20% and 15%, respectively, from 5%.

Previously, power minister RK Singh had said that the government would impose a basic customs duty on solar cells and modules, and the solar industry was hoping that an announcement around the duty would be made in the budget.

State-owned nodal bodies Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) and Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) will get Rs 1,000 crore and Rs 1,500 crore, respectively. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) conducts solar and wind auctions through both these agencies.

Additionally, Sitharaman also announced plans to launch a National Hydrogen Mission in the coming financial year, without providing details.