Imports of solar cells and modules surged by a staggering 1,000% in the second quarter (Q2) of the calendar year (CY) 2021, totaling $762 million (~₹56.6 billion) as compared to $69 million (~₹5.25 billion) during the same period last year which was severely affected by COVID-19.
Quarter-over-quarter (QoQ), Indian solar imports rose by 194% in Q2 2021 compared to $259.5 million (~₹18.9 billion) in Q1 2021.
Similarly, solar exports also rose by 151% to $61 million (~₹4.4 billion) year-over-year (YoY) in Q2 2021, compared to $24 million (~₹1.8 billion) during the same period last year. Exports surged 113% compared to $29 million (~₹2.08 billion) in Q1 2021.
This is the first big sign of market recovery and demand bounce back since COVID-19 shut down the markets at the end of March 2020. After the lockdown was announced on March 25th last year, solar construction activity was muted, and solar installations were down to just 3.2 GW in the calendar year 2020.
Activity has picked up this year, and the lockdowns were more targeted and managed by states resulting in a lot less disruption in construction and development activity.
Despite higher component costs and shortages, Imports soared 346% in the first half (1H) of 2021 compared to the 1H 2020, while exports rose by 50% compared to the same period last year. However, compared to pre-pandemic activity in 2019, imports were slightly lower. Exports, on the other hand, were up by 30%.
The effect of ALMM on imports is expected to show up in the second half of the year.
For a more 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.
Rahul is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Before entering the world of renewables, Rahul was head of the Gujarat bureau for The Quint. He has also worked for DNA Ahmedabad and Ahmedabad Mirror. Hailing from a banking and finance background, Rahul has also worked for JP Morgan Chase and State Bank of India. More articles from Rahul Nair.