Contrary to global trends where solar equipment and imports from China are growing very well, India has become a “rare bird” and recorded a significant 76 percent decline in solar module imports from China in the first half of 2023, according to a new report New Delhi’s report reflects the decisive shift towards self-sufficiency in solar energy production Embers.
Year on year, India’s solar module imports from China fell from 9.8 GW in the first half of 2022 to just 2.3 GW in the same period in 2023, according to the report by energy think tank World Ember.
This strategic shift, as well as the imposition of tariffs, underlines India’s determination to minimize dependence on imports and prioritize the development of its domestic production capacity.
Neshwin Rodrigues, India’s energy policy analyst at Ember, said: “India’s dependence on China for solar module imports declines sharply after 2022. Domestic production is gaining momentum thanks to recent policy interventions.” “As India moves closer to self-sufficiency in solar energy manufacturing, dependence on Chinese modules and cells is no longer a constraint. What is now important is to create an enabling policy environment “to ensure solar installations keep pace with the National Electricity Plan,” he said.
India has started imposing a 40 percent duty on solar panels and 25 percent on solar cells from April 2022 to reduce imports and boost local production.
The country’s commitment to reducing import dependency and promoting a robust domestic solar production ecosystem is consistent with the country’s broader energy self-sufficiency and sustainability goals.
As part of its updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), which are national plans to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, India has committed to achieving 500 GW of installed electricity capacity from fuel-based resources by 2030. No fossils.
The report also said that Chinese exports of solar modules rose an impressive 34 percent in the first half of 2023, with a total of 114 GW shipped worldwide. This amount represents a significant increase compared to the 85 GW exported in the same period last year.
Ember’s data manager, Sam Hawkins said: “Solar growth is skyrocketing.” China’s dominance of the solar panel manufacturing market, which accounts for about 80 percent of the global market share, has significant global implications.
More than half of the solar modules exported from China in the first half of 2023 were destined for Europe, accounting for 52.5 percent of exports.
Europe recorded the largest absolute growth in the world: China’s exports increased by 47 percent year-on-year (21 GW), reaching a total of 65 GW in the first half of 2023, compared to 44 GW in the same period last year.
Growth in all markets
While Europe led absolute growth, the strongest expansion occurred in Africa and the Middle East. South Africa recorded a notable 438 percent (2.7 GW) increase in solar module imports from China in the first half of 2023 compared to the same period last year. This increase contributed to Africa’s overall growth of 187 percent (3.7 GW), making it the fastest growing region.
After Africa, the Middle East recorded year-on-year growth of 64 percent (2.4 GW) in the first half of 2023.
The report finds that despite the increase in solar module exports, the gap between solar module exports and installed photovoltaic capacity is widening worldwide. This is attributed to the storage of modules in warehouses and the challenges of installing and grid integrating solar power generation.
Sam Hawkins emphasized the need to accelerate installation and grid integration to keep pace with global module supply, saying: “We have enough solar panels; We just have to worry about the installation.” He called for guidelines that emphasize rapid installation expansion and network integration to accommodate the growing range of modules.