India imported solar cells and modules worth $1.23 billion (~₹92.62 billion) in the first quarter (Q1) of the calendar year (CY) 2022, an increase of 374% compared to the same period last year, according to the data published by the Department of Commerce.
The rise in imports was primarily due to Indian solar developers stockpiling modules in large quantities — around 10 GW, ahead of Basic Customs Duty (BCD) on solar cells and modules, which took effect on April 1. The stockpiling was to save on module costs, which increased by 40% once BCD kicked in.
Exports decreased by 74% to $7 million (~₹535.01 million) in Q1 2022 compared to $29 million (~₹2.08 billion) in the same period last year. On a quarter-over-quarter basis, the exports fell 68% from $23 million (~₹1.74 billion) in Q4 2021.
Solar imports in Q1 2022
China was the largest exporter of solar modules and cells to India in Q1 2022, making up for nearly 96%, followed by Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, and Switzerland with 2%, 1%, 0.6%, and 0.3%, respectively. In Q4 2021, China’s share of India’s solar imports was 89.50%.
These numbers, however, could see a shift with the BCD imposition that has taken effect since April. Most of the tenders issued by implementing agencies have also mandated the use of modules specified in the ‘Approved List of Models and Manufacturers (ALMM).’
The Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) has recommended anti-dumping duty on fluoro backsheets imported from China and extended the anti-dumping duty on imported textured tempered glass (solar glass) from China by two more years.
The government’s policy moves aim to encourage domestic production and curbing imports. But the question of whether domestic manufacturing would be able to meet the industry requirements remains.
The United States continued to be the largest market for solar exports from India in Q1 2022. The U.S. accounted for 52% of the market share, compared to 39.6% in Q4 2021. Somalia, Afghanistan, Oman, Canada, and South Africa made up 15%, 15%, 5%, 5 and 2%, respectively.
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Arjun Joshi is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Before joining Mercom, he worked as a technical writer for enterprise resource software companies based in India and abroad. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism, Psychology, and Optional English from Garden City University, Bangalore. More articles from Arjun Joshi.