India’s Solar Imports Plunged by 83% in Q2 2020

Indian solar imports declined by 83% in the second quarter (Q2) of the calendar year (CY) 2020, totaling $69 million (₹5.15 billion) as compared to $399 million (₹29.7 billion) during the same period last year.

Quarter-over-quarter (QoQ), Indian solar imports fell by 54% in Q2 2020 compared to $150.5 million (~₹11.2 billion) in Q1 2020.

The slowdown in the imports is primarily due to the lockdown as a result of the COVID outbreak. Project development activity has stalled in many parts of the country as the labor shortage continues.

Solar exports also fell 31% and stood at $24 million (~₹1.8 billion) in Q2 2020, compared to $33.8 million (~₹2.3 billion) during the same period last year. QoQ, solar exports declined by 31% compared to $35 million (~₹2.5 billion) in Q1 2020.


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

Solar Imports 

According to the trade data, solar imports from China accounted for 77% of the total imports in Q2 2020, followed by Thailand at 7%, Vietnam at 5%, Singapore at 3.5%, and Cambodia at 3%.

In Q1 2020, China accounted for 79% of the total imports to India.

Recently, the Department of Revenue under the Ministry of Finance (MoF) issued a notification imposing safeguard duty on the import of solar cells and modules to India for another year starting July 30, 2020. The Ministry announced a duty of 14.9% from July 30, 2020, to January 29, 2021, and 14.5% from January 30, 2021, to July 29, 2021, for all solar cells and modules imported from China, Thailand, and Vietnam.

In the Union Budget this year, the government proposed a basic customs duty (BCD) of 20% on solar cells and modules. The main reason behind this step was to decrease the dependence on imports from China and increase the prices of solar imports, bringing it closer to domestic prices.

These moves come amid the government’s push to ramp up domestic manufacturing and reduce India’s dependence on imports.

The solar imports declined by 78% and stood at $227.8 million (~₹16.8 billion) during the first half of 2020 compared to $1.05 billion (~₹73.6 billion) during the same period last year.

Solar Exports    

India’s export to the United States continued to be strong, and it accounted for 89% of the total share in Q2 2020. It was followed closely by South Africa, Oman, Ghana, and Iraq, with 4%, 2%, 1%, and 0.5%, respectively. In Q1 2020, the United States accounted for 79% of the total market share. The exports saw a decline of 13% during the first half (1H) of 2020 and stood at $59 million (~₹4.4 billion) as compared to $68 million (~₹4.8 billion) during the same period last year.