India Solar Imports Grow by 41 Percent, Exports Decline 49 Percent in the First Nine Months of Financial Year 2016-2017


In the nine months from April to December in financial year (FY) 2016-2017, export and import activity totaling $1.9 billion (~Rs.127 billion) was registered in the Indian solar sector. This was $0.38 billion (~Rs.25.26 billion) more compared to import and export activity worth $1.5 billion (~Rs.101.78 billion) in the same period in FY 2015-16.

During the nine-month period India exported solar modules and cells worth $59 million (~Rs.3.94 billion) and imported solar modules and cells worth $1.8 billion (~Rs.123.1 billion). Compared to the same period in 2015, solar imports have grown by 41 percent, whereas exports have declined by 49 percent, down from the $116 million (~Rs.7.75 billion) in the same period in 2015.

As installation activity picks up, imports rose by 74 percent and exports dropped by 95 percent in the month of December 2016 compared to December 2015.


China continues to be the largest exporter of solar modules and cells to India, accounting for $1.6 billion (~Rs.107.9 billion) worth of India’s total solar imports and an 87.7 percent market share. Malaysia is the second largest exporter to India, accounting for $134 million (~Rs.8.94 billion) of India’s imports and a 7.3 percent market share.


India’s solar exports are witnessing a gradual decline. The United Kingdom was the largest importer of Indian solar modules and cells, importing modules and cells worth $18.83 million (~Rs.1.25 billion) accounting for 31.87 percent of India’s total solar exports. Italy accounts for 8.41 percent of exports, followed closely by Belgium at 8.02 percent. The United States and China account for over 7.50 percent each.


Imports of solar modules and cells into India are likely to continue increasing, particularly with the declining DCR projects. The DCR category was recently scrapped by Solar Energy Corporation of India at its Bhadla Solar Park. In conversation with Mercom, an official at SECI stated that there will be no future tenders carried out under DCR category by SECI.