• Chinese module suppliers increase their market share with demand being much larger than manufacturing capacities in India, according to consultancy Bridge to India
  • At least eight Chinese companies figure in the list of top 10 module suppliers in India
  • Non-Chinese suppliers have volume growth on their side, but a dwindling market share
  • Oversupply in the Chinese market is likely to divert more modules being sold in India at aggressive prices in the near future

While India is in legal disputes with the US at the WTO about its mandatory domestic content requirement (DCR) policy (see WTO Ruling Expected In September), China has been steadily expanding its presence in the Indian solar market. Chinese module suppliers have increased their market share from 50% to 75% in the last 12 months, according to clean energy consultancy Bridge to India (BTI).

BTI points out in its brief market update that both non-Chinese international as well as domestic suppliers increased their sales volumes in India, but their overall market share went down from 24% to 12% and from 26% to 13%, respectively. Market share has been captured by rather new entrants to the scene, like JA Solar, GCL Poly, Hanwha, BYD, Talesun and Risen. All of them have a combined market share of 32%, while veterans Trina Solar and Canadian Solar continue to retain their market share. In June, Trina crossed 1 GW of shipments to India.

Among the top 10 module suppliers in the Indian PV market, at least eight are from China. Compared to a year back, this number stood at four. In the current top 10 list, the only non-Chinese module makers are Waaree Energies Ltd from India and First Solar from the US.

While the BTI market update doesn’t provide exact rankings for the module suppliers, First Solar already announced in March that they had shipped 1 GW of modules to India. By the end of June, India had 8.1 GW of installed solar power capacity (see South leads in India PV Capacity).

Other major non-Chinese suppliers, such as Tata Power Solar and Vikram Solar from India experienced growth in volumes, but a drastic drop in their market share.

BTI believes oversupply of modules in China may lead to more modules coming into the Indian market at very low prices.

The Indian government has been making efforts to support domestic manufacturing with its ‘Make in India’ initiative. It is also working on a manufacturing policy, which BTI said previously, may support the efforts of new, large scale investments (see Indian PV Manufacturers). But the consultancy believes that despite all these measures the influx of Chinese suppliers entering and gaining market share might continue.

India had annual manufacturing solar cell capacities of 1.2 GW and 5.6 GW for modules as of April 1,2016. The import of cells and modules in India increased from $752 million in 2014-15 to $2.31 billion in 2015-16.

However, BTI also sees the upside of Chinese imports, “The big beneficiary of falling prices and increasing competition between module suppliers is obviously the Indian solar market. Project developers are in a sweet spot as they are in a buyer’s market despite increasing Indian demand. They will be relieved with falling prices, which will serve to grow the appetite of local investors.”