Solar Exports Surged 6,293% YoY in Q1 2023, Imports Fell 34%
U.S. accounted for 99.2% of solar exports from India
May 22, 2023
India exported solar cells and modules worth $479 million (~₹39.5 billion) in the first quarter (Q1) of the calendar year (CY) 2023, a staggering increase of 6,293% year-over-year (YoY), according to Department of Commerce data.
On a quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) basis, exports rose 29% from $371 million (~₹30.6 billion).
During January-March, the U.S. was the top destination for solar exports from India, with 99.2% of the market share.
The share of exports to the U.S. has been significantly rising as the country has severely restricted shipments of solar components from China due to concerns about forced labor in China’s Xinjiang region.
South Africa, Turkey, Denmark, and Germany accounted for 0.2%, 0.1%, 0.1%, and 0.1% of the total exports, respectively.
India imported solar cells and modules worth $812 million (~₹67.06 billion) during the quarter, a decline of 34% YoY. The same quarter last year was when Indian solar developers procured 9.7 GW of solar modules and stockpiled them ahead of Basic Customs Duty on solar cells and modules, which took effect on April 1, 2022.
However, on a QoQ basis, imports rose 91% from $425 million (~₹35.09 billion). In January, there was a notable decline in polysilicon, cell, and wafer prices as Chinese manufacturers sought to reduce their inventory.
Some increase in imports could be a result of from exemption of solar projects commissioned by March 31, 2024, from the requirement of procuring modules listed under the Approved List of Models and Manufacturers (ALMM), where no Chinese supplier is enlisted so far.
Union Power Minister R.K.Singh had said that the fledgling domestic module manufacturing capacity was insufficient to cater to the large planned solar capacity pipeline. This could have jeopardized the goal of reaching 280 GW by 2030 from just over 60 GW.
China was India’s largest supplier of cells and modules during the quarter, followed by Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia.
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Detailed solar import and export data by component types, suppliers, manufacturers, and developers are available in Mercom’s India Solar EXIM Tracker.