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india: India’s solar imports from China down nearly 80% by $2 billion in H1 2023: Ember

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India’s solar module imports from China reduced nearly 80% by $2 billion in the first half of 2023, according to Chinese export figures collated by energy think tank Ember.

The total solar module imports declined 76% to 2.3 GW between January and June 2023 from 9.8 GW in a similar period from a year ago, according to an ET analysis of Ember’s data, as India tries to wean away from export dependence and build its domestic manufacturing capabilities.

“This followed the imposition of tariffs as India shifts away from imports to focus on building and utilising domestic manufacturing capacity. India’s domestic solar module manufacturing capacity has stepped up,” the global think tank said in a report.

The government had imposed a basic customs duty of 40% on solar modules, which came into effect in April last year and has also allocated 48.4GW of capacity in two tranches of the production-linked incentive scheme with Rs 18,500 crore in support.

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India’s solar module imports for the first six months are now lower than 2020, when India had imported 2.5GW of modules from China, as per Ember data.

While the government expects 7.5 GW to become operational by October 2024 and 16.8 GW by April 2025, another 15.4 GW is expected to come up by April 2026.

“India aims to increase manufacturing capacity to 110 GW/year by 2026,” Ember stated, pointing out that India remains the second largest importer of solar cells from China.

India accounted for a 17% share of China’s total solar cell exports, second to Turkey, which had a 33% share.

“There has also been a rise in the number of Chinese cells, which are then assembled locally into solar panels, with India now the second largest destination for exported solar cells after Türkiye,” the report stated.

India is only expected to add 15GW of cell capacity over the next two years, according to the International Energy Agency’s latest numbers.

The country plans to have an installed capacity of 500 GW of renewable energy by 2030, with 280 GW coming from solar.

Shining away from China
– India’s import of solar modules down 76% from China
– Value of solar module imports down $2 billion
– India plans to increase capacity to 110GW per year by 2026

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