• Indian exports of solar cells and modules increased to $45.55 million in April to August 2016, as compared to $27.44 million in the same period last year
  • China remains the single largest exporter of solar modules and cells to India, with Malaysia coming next
  • India has been sending most of its solar cells and modules to the UK, Italy, China, the US and Belgium, among other regions

India’s solar industry is growing day by day, increasing both its export and import of solar cells and modules. According to Mercom Capital Group, from April to August 2015, India exported solar cells and modules worth $27.44 million and imported products worth $496.94 million. Compared to this, in the same period in 2016, exports amounted to $45.55 million while imports were $762.75 million. This shows exports increased 66% YoY for the period, while imports relatively grew a little less at 53%.

The clean energy consultancy and research firm said that China remains by far the single largest exporter of solar modules and cells to India, accounting for 85% of the country’s total imports; the next is Malaysia, which accounts for 9% of India’s PV imports.

The US, which fought a lengthy battle with India at the World Trade Organization (WTO) regarding India’s insistence on domestic PV products being used in some of its solar power projects, claims only 1% of the total imports to the country.

Most Indian solar exports went to the UK (36%), followed by Italy (11%), China (10%) and the US and Belgium (each 8%). Quoting a Ministry of Commerce official, Mercom reported, “Indian manufacturers are mostly focused on export markets as this helps in increasing their profits. In India, developers are keen on using cheaper modules and cells as they grapple with project viability at aggressive tariffs. For Indian manufacturers looking outside, this is the way to earn a profit as scaling up manufacturing to reduce price is a costly affair.”

The head of the Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) Piyush Goyal recently said that India imported cells and modules worth $1.96 billion from China in 2015-16 (see Chinese PV Import Share In India Up). Imports from China went up 74% in 2014-15, and in 2015-16 these were reported to have increased to 84%.