With more than 1.8 million cases, India accounts for 10% of the global Covid-19 count. National shutdowns have been accompanied by significant drop-offs in solar project development and industry supply chain challenges and workforce availability have been significantly affected.
Independent analysts such as the U.S.-owned WoodMac have projected pandemic-affected financing and support challenges could slow demand and investment and newly published quarterly data from Mercom India Research echoes those concerns – with the value of Indian solar imports in the April-to-June period reportedly down a huge 83% on the same period of last year.
The Mercom India subsidiary of the U.S.-based Mercom Capital Group reported solar cell and module imports were worth $69 million (Rs515 crore) in the second quarter, having fallen off a cliff from the $399 million reported in the same period of last year. The quarter-over-quarter results were slightly less grim, with the value of solar imports falling 54% from the $151 million recorded in the first three months of the year.
Mercom said China accounted for 77% of the Indian PV imports in the second quarter, followed by Thailand (7%), Vietnam (5%), Singapore (3.5%) and Cambodia (3%).
Covid-related impacts on the national solar industry have raised concern at solar companies and the government alike. Chinese companies looking to take advantage of coronavirus-battered Indian companies by buying cheap shares prompted a response from the federal government, with a recent requirement enacted which related to oversight of foreign investment proposals.
India’s solar exports also fell in the second three months of the year, down 31% on both an annual and quarterly basis, according to Mercom. The United States remains the largest importer of Indian PV products, accounting for 89% of solar exports.
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