Solar Imports in CY 2020 Down by 78%, Exports Declined by 67%

In the calendar year 2020, India imported solar cells and modules worth $475.78 million (~₹34.7 billion), a 78% drop compared to CY 2019. In CY 2019, the Indian solar sector had imported solar modules and cells worth nearly $2.17 billion (~₹158.29 billion).

Lower imports were due to decreased demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown that brought the solar industry to a standstill.

On the other hand, exports also declined by 67% for a total value of $84.16 million (~₹6.14 billion) in CY 2020 compared to $253.01 million (~₹18.45 billion) in 2019.

Solar Imports in Calendar Year 2020


China was the largest exporter of solar modules and cells to India in CY 2020, with a market share of nearly 84%, followed by Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan, and Singapore with 4.9%, 4.5%, 1.9%, and 1.5%, respectively.

Solar Exports in Calendar Year 2020

 The United States was the largest market for solar exports from India. It accounted for nearly 79% of the market share, followed by Turkey, South Africa, the UAE, and Oman with 4.4%, 2.8%, 1.4%, and 1%, respectively.

Solar Imports and Exports in Q4 2020

India’s solar imports declined by 20% in Q4 2020 compared to Q3 of CY 2020. The imports stood at $111.8 million (~₹8.15 billion) compared to ₹140.12 million (~₹10.2 billion) in Q3 2020. The Q4 imports represent a 79% decrease when compared to the same period in 2019. Exports of solar modules and cells from India also saw a decline of 57% and stood at $7.25 million (~₹528.8 million) compared to $16.91 million (~₹1.23 billion) in Q3 2020. Q4 exports were 90% lower compared to the same period in 2019.

In Q4 2020, China was the largest exporter of solar products to India with a market share of 88%, followed by Vietnam, Myanmar, Malaysia, and Taiwan with 3%, 2.3%, 1.8%, and 1.5%, respectively. The United States continued to be the biggest market for Indian solar exports with a market share of 65%, followed by the UAE, South Africa, Canada, and Nepal with 11%, 4.7%, 4.3%, and 2%, respectively.

Recently, the Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, imposed a countervailing duty at 9.71% of the cost, insurance, and freight (CIF) value for five years on the imports of textured and tempered (whether coated or uncoated) glass from Malaysia.

The glass is used in the production of solar panels and solar thermal applications.

Mercom reported in October 2020 that India’s solar imports were 77% lower in Q3 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, which saw $598.1 million (~₹42.2 billion) of imports. However, solar imports rose to $140.1 million (~₹10.4 billion) in Q3 2020, a 102% increase from the previous quarter’s $69.2 million (~₹5.3 billion).