Safeguard Duty and Market Slowdown Lead to Decline in Indian Solar Imports in Q2 2018

Solar imports declined by approximately 60 percent over the previous quarter


India’s solar imports declined drastically in the second quarter (Q2) of calendar year (CY) 2018. Solar modules and cells worth $436.6 million were imported by India in Q2 CY 2018, almost 60 percent less than the ~$1 billion of solar cells and modules imported by India in the previous quarter, Q1 CY 2018.

In Q2 CY 2018, India exported solar cells and modules worth $17.4 million, an almost 9 percent decline when compared to Q1 CY 2018. In Q1 CY 2018, India had exported solar cells and modules worth $19.15 million.

Safeguard Duty and Market Slowdown Lead to Decline in Indian Solar Imports in Q2 2018

“A slowdown in solar installations and the uncertainty around the safeguard duty case correlate with the lower procurement of cells and modules, thus negatively affecting import activity,” said Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group. “This downward trend is likely to continue for a few quarters,” he concluded.

According to Mercom’s India Solar Project Tracker, over ~1.6 GW (preliminary numbers) of solar was installed in India in the three-month period between April and June 2018.

India imported the largest portion of solar cells and modules from China. Chinese companies accounted for nearly 75.9 percent of India’s solar imports in Q2 CY 2018, a huge decline from over 90 percent in the previous quarter. Solar imports from China fell almost 67 percent from $991 million in Q1 to $331 million in Q2 2018.

Taiwan accounted for 8.3 percent of India’s imported solar cells and modules in Q2 CY 2018, totaling $36 million, making it the second largest exporter of solar to India. Taiwan almost doubled its market share in the three-month period (April to June 2018), compared to the same period in 2017, but solar imports from Taiwan declined by 24 percent quarter-over-quarter.

Vietnam was the third largest exporter of solar modules and cells to India, with 3.8 percent of market share. However, in terms of dollars, the exports only accounted for $16 million.

Canada accounted for 3.6 percent of all solar exports to India in Q2 CY 2018, followed by Singapore at 2.6 percent, Hong Kong at 1.8 percent, and Thailand at 1.7 percent.

In Q2 CY 2018, The U.S. accounted for 63 percent of all solar modules and cells exported from India, totaling $11 million. This is up from 14 percent in the previous quarter. Belgium, UAE, South Africa, Japan, and Canada were other major countries that imported Indian made solar cells and modules.

The Mercom India Q1 Quarterly Market Report found that uncertainty in the solar industry created by the announcement of trade cases led to a smaller development pipeline with slowing tender activity, leading to a lowered forecast for 2018.

Detailed import/export data and charts will be available in our upcoming Mercom India Q2 Quarterly Market Report.