Two Chinese solar module manufacturers have announced major milestones in their business in India, once again highlighting the massive share of Chinese companies in India’s solar power market.
Trina Solar recently announced that it has achieved 4 gigawatts in cumulative installed solar modules in India across various projects. Trina’s India Director made this announcement at the Renewable Energy India 2019. This is the largest cumulative installation achieved by any module supplier in India, the company claimed.
Trina Solar entered India in 2010 when the first major utility-scale solar power projects were being installed in the country. The company supplied just 15 megawatts of solar modules that year. With the accelerated boom in India’s solar power market, the company managed to ship 700 megawatts in a single quarter in 2017.
Another Chinese module supplier, Jinneng Clean Energy Technology, also made a similar announcement at the Renewable Energy India 2019 expo. The company announced that it shipped over 1 gigawatt of solar modules to Indian customers over the last two years.
Chinese modules manufacturers are the largest beneficiaries of the recent expansion in India’s operational solar power capacity. Of the 30 gigawatt solar power capacity operational in India today, more than 20 gigawatts has come online in the last 30 months. This is the period when solar imports from Chinese companies peaked.
Indian developers have preferred Chinese modules due to their low cost. However, the rate of growth in shipments by Chinese manufacturers is expected to show a decline. The value of solar cells imported in FY2018-19 has already declined significantly due to the safeguard duties implemented by the Indian government. In July 2018, the Indian government imposed a 25% safeguard duty on solar cells imported from China and Malaysia. This duty is currently at 20% and would be further reduced to 15% from February 2020 onward.
The over-dependence on Chinese solar cells and modules has been a hallmark feature of India’s solar market growth. The market share of the Chinese companies has been so significant that Indian module manufacturers failed to gain any noticeable foothold in their domestic market. Indian manufacturers had to repeatedly urge the government to take steps to either incentivize domestic production or disincentivize Chinese imports.