As Indian project developers continue to expand their installed capacity base, import of cheaper solar power modules continues to increase.
According to Mercom Capital, import of solar power modules in India increased sharply. Project developers imported solar modules worth US$763 million between April and August 2016, an increase of 53% from imports worth US$497 million during the same period last year.
Share of modules from China also increased sharply. Chinese modules accounted for 85% of the total modules imported in India, followed by Malaysia at distant 9%; modules from Taiwan, the US and Singapore accounted for 3% to 1% each.
In financial year 2014-15 (April 2014 to March 2015), India imported 161.5 million with 70% of them coming from China. During the preceding financial year, the share of Chinese modules in total imports was 65%.
Import of Chinese modules has increased sharply over the last few years as project developers continue to compete aggressively with each other for solar power projects.
The regulatory push from the government for solar power market has also helped domestic manufacturers increase their production and exports. Exports of Indian solar cells and modules increased from US$27.5 million to US$45.6 million.
Solar cell manufacturing capacity in India has increased from 1,216 MW in June 2014 to 1,468 MW in June 2016. Growth in the solar PV module manufacturing capacity has been much greater than that in the solar cell manufacturing sector. From an installed capacity base of 2,348 MW in June 2014, the module manufacturing capacity has increased by nearly three times to 6,848 MW. The capacity utilisation has also increased from 28% to around 74%.