New Delhi: India’s import of solar systems such as photovoltaic cells, modules and modules fell by around 79 percent in the period from April to October 2020 compared to the same period of the previous year, according to ETEnergyworld.
The value of solar imports for the seven-month period from April to October of this year was around 183,902 lakh, while it was 891,234 lakh for the same period last year, the data showed.
Solar import monthly data
Source: JMK Research
According to Somesh Kumar, partner and national leader in energy and utilities at EY India, the main reason for this huge drop was the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic is one of the main reasons behind the slowdown in capacity expansion in solar imports. It is mainly due to the labor shortage that is delaying project implementation, which has suspended imports,” said Somesh Kumar, partner and national leader, power and utility, EY India .
He added that the government’s imposition of protective tariffs had affected imports even last year and the impact was stronger this year in connection with the pandemic.
India’s current annual production capacity is around 8.4 gigawatts (GW). Kumar added that the decline in the value of solar imports was partly due to a sharp drop in prices compared to the previous year.
“However, there may be a surge in imports once full project development resumes as some awards have recently been made and many other major auctions are on the anvil. The labor shortage is also showing signs of easing, ”he said.
On July 10 of this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that India must end its dependence on imports of all equipment, including solar panels, as part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat campaign.
He added that steps were being taken to encourage local manufacturing of solar products and that government departments had been directed to buy only domestically made cells and modules.
According to a report by JMK Research, imports of solar modules rose 87 percent in the third quarter of 2020, while exports fell 31 percent compared to the second quarter of 2020.
Jyoti Gulia, founder and director of JMK Research, said the reason for such a drop in imports was the drop in the expansion of solar capacity in 2020.
She said around 6 GW of capacity was added from January to October 2019, but only 1.8 GW over the same period of that year. “The reason for this drastic decline in capacity expansion is mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has delayed many projects and is now expected to be operational in 2021,” added Gulia.
In April of this year, India’s solar imports fell by 84 percent compared to the same month last year. This was the first phase of the nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
India imports around 80 percent of its solar systems from China, which dominates the market due to its low prices.