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Despite the Safeguard Duty, Chinese Solar Products Own 80% of the Indian Market

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The Indian solar manufacturing industry was expected to see a revival with the imposition of a 25% safeguard duty on imports of solar cells and modules from China and Malaysia. However, one year after the imposition of the duty, Chinese solar panels continues to dominate the Indian market with a share of 80% of the total imports during the first quarter of 2019.

Singapore has become the second largest exporter to India as there were no duties imposed on Singapore. However, the main producer and exporter of solar cells and modules to India is REC which is owned by a Chinese conglomerate. This means the demand has shifted from one Chinese player to another without making a major change to the fortunes of the Indian solar panel players. While there was an overall decline of 40% in imports it was mainly due to a major decline in overall demand with 1.7 GW of solar capacity installed in India during Q1 2019 as compared to around 3.2 GW in Q1 2018.

Also, read Why we think India is a Half Dead Solar Manufacturing Industry

At around $33 million, Indian exports to the rest of the world remained just 5% of the total imports of solar products in India. With the USA removing India from the list of countries exempted from solar panel import safeguard duties, even this large market is expected to get removed from India’s main export markets.

The problem of Indian manufacturing remains as it is, with the duties expected to fall to 20% next month from 25% and 15% from January. This means the little protection that Indian solar manufacturers have from low-cost Chinese imports will also go soon if the Indian government does not act. Two major Indian solar manufacturers Indosolar and Moser Baer have already gone into liquidation with no major Indian group willing to buy the factories of these bankrupt companies for cents to the dollar. Without long term support and a stable policy framework, Indian solar manufacturing is unlikely to become a powerhouse despite the efforts of Indian entrepreneurs who have tried hard to enter this high growth industry. Even players with capital and intent are reluctant to enter and expand into this market given the ad hoc policy decisions taken by the Indian government.

You might also like to read India to Invite Mega Solar Manufacturing Factories using Incentives but will it Succeed?


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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