• Indian solar imports during Q1/2019 registered a decline of 40% YoY as China’s contribution to the total number declined to 80% from 91.5% last year
  • Singapore imported 6.7% as the second largest market for Indian imports during the period
  • Malaysia solar imports to India dropped 88% to contribute a total of 0.25% to total imports
  • In comparison, solar exports from India saw an increase of 74% annually as Vietnam alone took $21 million worth of shipments during Q1/2019 out of $31 million in total

Imposition of safeguard duties by the Indian government on solar imports from China and Malaysia led to a solar imports decline of 40% YoY between January and March 2019. Compared to $1.1 billion worth of solar cells and modules imported in Q1/2018, India received $650 million imports in the reporting period. For Indian manufacturers it was a good period as their solar exports increased 74% within these 3 months.

In its India Solar EXIM Tracker where EXIM stands for export import, Mercom India Research points out towards China as the largest exporter of solar modules and cells to India accounting for close to 80% of the total imports into the country with $523 million, which itself is a decline from 91.5% in Q1/2018. Chinese solar imports to India during Q1/2019 dropped by 47%.

After China, Singapore was next with total solar imports of 6.7% during the quarter followed by Vietnam accounting for a 6.1% share. Hongkong and Thailand were the other importers to India.

Malaysian solar imports during the period declined 88% in the first 3 months of 2019 to contribute 0.25% of total shipments to the Asian nation. Compared to safeguard duty-imposed countries Malaysia and China, the countries/regions that registered a YoY uptick in their solar imports to India were Thailand, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Singapore, according to the report.

With $33 million worth of Indian solar cells and modules exported to various countries in this period, Vietnam was the nation that placed orders for $21 million out of the total. United States came next taking in 15.4% of all modules and cells exported out of India, increasing the overall shipments by 90% annually.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) also took in 3.7% of total Indian exports, with South Africa, Belgium and Nigeria taking in 3.4%, 2.5% and 1.9%, respectively.

The report can be purchased on Mercom’s website.

WTO win for India

The World Trade Organization (WTO) recently upheld India’s position against the US where India had questioned the subsidies and local content requirements by 8 US states in 11 renewable energy programs. The WTO panel found these measures as acting inconsistently with the global trade rules giving preference to locally manufactured products. It has now asked the US to ensure the states of Washington, California, Montana, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Michigan, Delaware and Minnesota abide by the provisions of Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMs) and treat international producers of solar products at par with domestic ones.

Previously, the WTO had ruled in favour of the US in 2016 when it objected India’s policy of requiring 10% solar modules used for solar power plants to be sourced locally under domestic content requirement (DCR). The US complained it reeked of protectionism and kept international competition out of the Indian market (see Final WTO Verdict In India-US Solar Dispute).