COVID-19 Lowers Solar Equipment Imports by 83 Percent

The COVID-19 pandemic has left a big mark on the Indian solar sectors’ imports from China, with imports during the first quarter down by over 83 percent.

The COVID-19 pandemic has left a big mark on the Indian solar sectors’ imports from China, with data from the Ministry of Commerce suggesting that the Indian imports during the first quarter of the fiscal year i.e. in the months of April-June declined by over 83 percent. A role that the central government envisages its new initiatives and duties will have on imports from here on out.

As per the Ministry of Commerce, the imports in the first quarter only amounted to USD 69 million (Rs 515 crore), down from USD 399 million (Rs 2970 crore) during the same period last year. These months saw the maximum impact of the pandemic with lockdowns in several parts of the country and economic activity coming to a grinding halt.

On a quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) basis, Indian solar imports fell by 54 percent in the April-June quarter, from USD 150.5 million (Rs 1,120 crore) in the January-March period.

However, despite the big drop in Chinese imports, the government data still projects that a significant portion of Q1 imports in the solar sector continued from China – as it still accounted for 77 percent of the total imports in the April-June period. China was followed by Thailand at 7 percent, Vietnam at 5 percent, Singapore at 3.5 percent and Cambodia at 3 percent. China’s presence in Indian solar projects has remained strong despite actual imports falling on account of the pandemic. During the January-March period as well, China accounted for 79 percent of the total solar imports to India.

This is the part where the government wants to interfere as it looks to check imports from China and boost domestic manufacturing. The finance ministry has already notified that following the recommendations of the DGTR (Directorate General of Trade Remedies), the government has formally extended the Safeguard Duty (SGD) by a year on Chinese origin solar equipment. The extension, till July 29, 2021, seeks to protect Indian manufacturers from alleged dumping by Chinese firms.

The new duty level is 14.9 percent on imports from July 30, 2020, to January 28, 2021, before it is reduced to 14.5 percent for the remaining period of six months. The duty applies only to solar modules and cells.

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Ayush Verma

Ayush Verma

Ayush is a staff writer at saurenergy.com and writes on renewable energy with a special focus on solar and wind. Prior to this, as an engineering graduate trying to find his niche in the energy journalism segment, he worked as a correspondent for iamrenew.com.

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