India’s solar cell and module exports grow 157% in eight months

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India’s exports of solar cells, whether or not assembled into modules, jumped 157% to Rs133,000 lakh in the first eight months of this fiscal year.

Exports for the whole of 2018-19 stood at Rs84,700 lakh and in 2017-18, Rs 91,300 lakh, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

The U.S., which accounted for almost half of India’s cell exports in the last financial year, emerged as an even bigger destination this time around, with 85% of shipments heading Statesside.

Interestingly, exports to the U.S. almost tripled despite the Trump administration removing preferential treatment for Indian panels in June. The U.S. government later exempted bifacial solar modules from its 25% Section 201 import duties, although that decision is also currently under review by the climate-change-skeptic administration.

U.S.-bound shipments clocked in at an estimated Rs114,000 lakh in the April-to-November period, against Rs36,800 lakh in the last fiscal year and Rs25,800 lakh in 2017-18.

Turkey and Belgium were the other two major destinations for Indian cells and panels in the latest, part-year returns.

Exports to Turkey increased 44-fold to the end of November, although that comparison was down to the catastrophic slump to just Rs99.3 lakh worth of deliveries in the last fiscal year after a healthier Rs18,900 lakh in 2017-18.

Shipments to Belgium to the end of November almost doubled the Rs2,440 lakh posted in 2018-19 to hit Rs4,330 lakh. Belgium imported Rs6,930 lakh of Indian solar products in 2017-18.

Imports falling?

India imported Rs993,000 lakh of solar cells from April to November, against Rs1,510,000 lakh in the whole of 2018-19, hinting at a full-year fall this time unless there is a surge in imports in the final four months of 2019-20.

China, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan were the major cell and panel exporters to India with Chinese products accounting for Rs761,000 lakh, compared to Rs1,184,000 lakh in 2018-19.

Imports from Thailand almost doubled to Rs72,700 lakh in the latest eight-month returns as those from Singapore and Taiwan fell sharply, to Rs19,600 lakh and Rs 13,400 lakh, respectively.