Big dip in import and export of solar modules and cells

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Hit by safeguarding duty uncertainty and reduced demand – as well as falling unit costs – the value of solar module and cell imports to India fell 37% last year, from $4.12 billion (Rs29,285 crore) in 2017 to $2.59 billion, according to Mercom India.

Last year also proved a bad one for cell and module exports, with India shipping a reported $107 million worth of goods, down 19% from 2017’s $132 million.

The disappointing figures came despite a bright start to the year with the value of solar imports recorded from January to March 73% higher than the amount seen in the same period a year earlier. Curiously, exports experienced a fall of exactly the same proportion compared with the same quarter in 2017.

April-to-June saw the total import value fall 60% on the previous quarter as exports slid 9%. The July to September period saw a recovery, with the value of imports rising 38%, from Q2’s $437 million to $602 million.

The value of third quarter exports leapt 223%, from the earlier period’s $17.4 million to some $56 million, according to Department of Commerce data. The U.S. took the lion’s share of Indian cells and modules – 58% – with Denmark, Australia, Poland, the Netherlands and Belgium also valuable customers.

Solar imports in 2018 again came almost entirely from China, which supplied 89% of Indian demand. Singapore and Taiwan were the second and third largest sources of cells and modules for Indian developers, respectively, with other product shipped from Malaysia, Canada, Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong.