Indian Solar Exports Grow 227% YoY in 2023, Imports up 89%

Solar imports surged 383% YoY in Q4 2023, while exports dropped by 5.8% YoY


Indian solar exports rose 227% year-over-year (YoY) to $1.8 billion (~₹152.6 billion) in CY 2023 from $561 million (~₹46.4 billion), according to recent data published by the Department of Commerce.

Solar photovoltaic modules accounted for 97.4% of the annual solar exports, while solar cells accounted for the remaining 2.6%.

The U.S. was the top buyer of Indian solar cells and modules, accounting for 97.3% of the exports in 2023. After imposing the anti-dumping and anti-circumvention duties on Chinese solar modules, the U.S. Department of Commerce clarified the scope of the anti-circumvention probe, allowing the import of solar modules made outside of Southeast Asia. These duties and clarifications have enabled Indian solar manufacturers to increase module shipments to the U.S.

EXIM CY 2023

Solar Imports in 2023

India imported $5 billion (~₹416.8 billion) worth of solar cells and modules in 2023, the highest in a year. The imports rose 89.3% from $2.6 billion (~₹218.5 billion) in 2022.

Solar modules accounted for 60.7% of the annual solar imports, while solar cells accounted for the remaining 39.3%.

The primary reasons for the surge in imports include the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy’s suspension of the ALMM order for projects commissioned until March 2024, lower module costs, and the planned commissioning of a large pipeline of solar projects in the first quarter of 2024.

China was the largest supplier of solar photovoltaic products to India, accounting for 58% of the total imports, followed by Vietnam (16.6%) and Malaysia (11.7%). Thailand, Hong Kong, and Cambodia were the other major suppliers, accounting for 5.6%, 3.5%, and 3.1% of the total imports, respectively.

EXIM Q4 2023

Solar Exports in Q4 2023

In the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2023, Indian solar exports fell 35.7% to $349.4 million (~₹29.1 billion) from $543.8 million (~₹45.5 billion) in Q3 2023. Exports were down 5.8% YoY from $371 million (~₹30.4 billion).

The U.S. remained the top export destination in Q4 2023, accounting for 93.5% of the overall export value. However, Indian solar shipments to the U.S. saw a 38.2% QoQ decline.

Solar Imports in Q4 2023

Solar cells and modules amounting to over $2 billion (~₹171 billion) were imported in Q4 2023, a QoQ increase of 69.1% from $1.2 billion (~₹101.6 billion). Imports were up 383.3% YoY from $425 million (~₹34.9 billion).

Solar cells accounted for 20.9% of the quarter’s imports compared to 40.8% in Q3 2023, whereas solar modules’ import share increased to 79.1% from 59.2% in the previous quarter.

The MNRE allowed developers to procure solar modules from manufacturers not included in ALMM until March 31, 2024. As the deadline approached, developers accelerated their cell and module procurement to complete their projects on time.

In Q4 2023, China accounted for 69% of India’s solar imports compared to 50.2% in Q3. Imports from China totaled $1.4 billion (~₹116.9 billion), a 55.2% QoQ growth.

For an in-depth look at the data, analysis, and charts, subscribe to our quarterly market report – Mercom India Solar Update.

Detailed solar import and export data by component types, suppliers, manufacturers, and developers are available in Mercom’s India Solar Exim Tracker.