Solar Imports to India Surge in Q1 2018

China is the highest exporter of solar components to India while Niger received the highest share of Indian exports


In the first quarter (Q1) of calendar year (CY) 2018, India imported solar modules and cells worth over $1 billion and exported modules and cells worth approximately $19.15 million.

There was a steep decline in solar exports from India and a considerable spike in solar imports in comparison to Q4 2017.

Over 3 GW of solar PV projects were commissioned in the three-month period from January to March 2018.

In Q4 2017, India imported solar modules and cells worth over $799 million. This is nearly 73 percent less than the $1.083 billion worth of solar imports to India in the period from January to March 2018.

India exported solar modules and cells worth $70.18 million in Q4 2017. This is 73 percent more than the $19.15 million worth of solar exports from India in Q1 2018.

India Solar Cell and Module Quarterly Import-Export Activity ($M)

China accounted for the largest portion of solar imports to India. Chinese companies accounted for nearly 91.5 percent of solar imports to India. However not all the modules are imported by developers, a significant portion of the modules are being imported by Indian manufacturers who re-brand the modules for sale.

Country-wise Breakdown of Indian Solar Imports (%)

Taiwan accounted for 4.4 percent of all solar imports to India in Q1 2018, followed by Malaysia with 1.2 percent and Canada with 0.8 percent market share.

Thailand and Vietnam are the other suppliers of solar modules and cells to India.

Country-wise Breakdown of Indian Solar Exports (%)

In Q1 2018, Niger accounted for 32 percent of all solar modules and cells exported from India. The U.S. accounted for 14 percent of all India solar exports.

In January 2018, the United States exempted India from the levy of a 30 percent anti-dumping duty on its solar imports. This is expected to lead to India exporting more to the U.S. going forward.

South Africa and Belgium had market share of nine percent each. The UAE and Italy are the other major recipients of Indian solar modules and cells.

Major policy changes in China announced last week imposing installation caps and reduced the feed-in tariff could result in declining module prices and increased imports of Chinese panels into India.

Saumy Prateek Saumy is a senior staff reporter with covering business and energy news since 2016. Prior to Mercom, Saumy was a copy editor at Thomson Reuters. Saumy earned his Bachelors Degree in Journalism & Mass Communication from the Manipal Institute of Communication at Manipal University. More articles from Saumy Prateek.