Indian Solar Imports Surge 448% to $1.97 Billion in 9M 2021 as Installations Pickup

Imports of solar cells and modules increased by 448% to $1.97 billion in the first nine months (9M) of the calendar year (CY) 2021. India had imported solar cells and modules worth $359.93 million in the same period last year.

In 9M 2021, the country’s solar exports stood at $110.25 million, a 45% surge compared to $76.13 million in the same period last year.

In the third quarter (Q3) of CY 2021, Indian solar imports stood at $953 million, a 580% increase compared to $140 million in the same period last year. Solar imports increased by approximately 25% quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) in Q3 2021 compared to $762 million in the previous quarter.

In Q3 2021, solar exports rose 25% to $21.2 million from $16.9 million in Q3 2020. However, exports dropped 65% QoQ from $60.6 million in Q2.


India Solar Cell and Module Import-Export Activity ($M) 9M 2018 - 9M 2021

Import and export activity has picked with the market recovering from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. According to Mercom’s Q2 2021 India Solar Market Update, in the first half (1H) of 2021, India added 4.57 GW of solar capacity, growing 251% over the same period last year, surpassing installations in all of 2020.

Solar module manufacturers believe that prices of Chinese modules are expected to stay high until Q1 CY 2022. Modules prices have gone up from $0.25/W in Q1 2021 to over $0.30/W to date.

According to the Asia Europe Clean Energy (Solar) Advisory (AECEA), raw material prices have increased, and as a result, prices for polysilicon, EVA, backsheets, aluminum frames, and solar glass have gone up. The price for solar panels has reached a level not seen in the past 12-18 months. Bid prices for a recent 60 MW solar module tender averaged 2.1 renminbi (RMB) (~$0.33)/W, with the highest bid at RMB 2.208 (~$0.34)/W. In December 2020, the average bid price was RMB 1.55 (~$0.24)/W.

For an in-depth look at the Exim data by country and charts, subscribe to our quarterly market report – Mercom India Solar Update. Detailed solar import data by component types are available in Mercom’s India Solar EXIM Tracker.