Solar Imports in Q3 Down 77% From Last Year

According to the latest trade data, India’s solar imports were 77% lower than the same period last year, 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).

The quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) rise was primarily due to pandemic related restrictions easing up globally and the nationwide lockdown being lifted domestically. On an annual basis, imports continued to remain low as the economy struggles to cope with the Coronavirus crisis.

Solar exports fell about 30% during the quarter to $16.9 million (~₹1.3 billion) from $24.1 million (~₹1.8 billion) in Q2 2020. Year-on-year (YoY), imports were around 75% lower compared to $67.4 million (~₹4.8 billion) in Q3 2019.

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

In the first nine months of 2020 (9M 2020), imports slipped 78% to $359.9 million (~₹26.5 billion) from $1.6 million (~₹115.7 million) during the same period last year.

Exports during 9M 2020 also fell 44% compared to the same period last year. The country saw $76.1 million (~₹5.6 billion) of solar exports, down from $135.6 million (~₹9.5 billion) in 9M 2019.

India Solar Cell and Module Import-Export Activity ($M) 9M 2017 - 9M 2020

Country-wise Statistics

In Q3 2020, solar imports from China accounted for about 88% of all imports into the country – up from 77% in Q2 2020. Thailand’s share of imports fell to 3.4% during the quarter from 7.4% in the previous period.

Imports from Vietnam and Singapore accounted for 2.2 % and 1.7%, respectively, in Q3 2020, down from 9.2% and 2.1% in the previous quarter. However, imports from Taiwan rose to 3% from 1.3% previously.

In terms of exports, the United States remained the largest market for Indian solar exports. India shipped 71.8% of its solar exports to the country, lower than the 89% exported in the last quarter.

Meanwhile, India exported 2.6%, 2%, 1.9%, and 1.8% of its solar goods to Zambia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam in Q3 2020. In the preceding quarter, it exported 0.1%, 2.7%, to Zambia and South Africa, respectively, while the United Kingdom and Vietnam received no shipments.

In July, Mercom reported that the Indian Department of Revenue issued a notification imposing a safeguard duty of 14.90% from July 30, 2020, to January 29, 2021, and 14.50% from January 30, 2021, to July 29, 2021, for all solar cells and modules imported from the China PR, Thailand, and Vietnam.

In the calendar year 2019, India imported solar cells and modules worth $2.17 billion, a drop of almost 16% compared to CY 2018. In CY2018, the Indian solar sector had imported solar modules and cells totaling nearly $2.59 billion (~₹184.57 billion), a 37% decline from the $4.12 billion (~₹269 billion) recorded during the preceding year.

Image credit: Photo by Erwan Hesry on Unsplash