Covid impact: Solar imports dipped 75% in ten months


India’s solar imports were badly hit by last year’s Covid-19 crisis. The value of imported solar cells and modules—INR2916 crore—from last April to January, was around 75% lower than the figure recorded for all of the previous fiscal year.

That was also down to the impact of an extension to safeguarding duties applied on products from China, Vietnam and Thailand.

China, the largest source of solar imports, saw the value of goods shipped to India from April to January fall 73%, compared with the figure for fiscal year 2019-20, from INR9239 crore to INR2488 crore. The impact was even more profound on goods from Thailand and Vietnam which, with respective values of INR115 crore and INR95 crore, saw falls of 86% and 90%, albeit managing to remain the second and third largest sources of imports.

Solar imports from troubled Myanmar, however, soared 403%, to INR35 crore, during the first ten months of the last fiscal year, from the whole-year 2019-20 figure. Malaysia, which has been exempted from safeguarding duty, appeared to be on course to maintain its pre-Covid shipment levels, with modules worth INR28 crore exported during April-to-January. 

The exporters of Chad (INR179 lakh), France and the U.K. (INR45 lakh each), and Russia (INR17 lakh) also increased their share of the Indian solar cell and module market, although the combined import value of goods from those countries formed a small proportion of the overall April-to-January solar import figure.

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