Author Kyle Lin
Updated April 29, 2024

China exported 24.5 GW of modules in March, a 16% month-on-month increase from 21.2 GW in February 2024 and a 16% year-on-year growth from March 2023, accumulating 67.6 GW in the first quarter of 2024, a 33% increase from 50.9 GW in the same period last year.

The top three importers of Chinese modules in March were Europe, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, with a combined import volume accounting for 60% of the global market. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia exceeded India and Brazil for the first time, compensating for the latter two’s slowdown in March. In the first quarter of 2024, Europe, India, and Brazil were the top three importers, accounting for 57% of the global market.

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Europe imported 9.7 GW of modules from China in March, a 21% increase from 8 GW in February and a 22% year-on-year decrease from 12.5 GW. The total import volume reached 23.7 GW in the first quarter, a 20% year-on-year decrease.

After rapid inventory depletion due to the Red Sea issue, module makers planned to ship more for restocking in March and April, with distributors drawing inventory proactively, sustaining demand in the first quarter, which is usually a slow season, signifying a recovery. Since late 2023, most imports to Europe have been TOPCon modules. As the high season of the second quarter approaches, stronger import demand is likely, pushing up the total import volume of the first half of 2024.

In March, spot prices for TOPCon modules came in at EUR 0.12-0.13/W (FOB) in Europe, aligned with prices in February. Module prices keep reaching new lows but will see limited room for further declines due to persisted oversupply and price declines in other sectors. But final pricing hinges on negotiations with end users. For now, module prices seem to stabilize at USD 0.11-0.13/W in Europe, sustaining premiums of USD 0.005-0.01/W against other markets.

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The Asia-Pacific market imported 8.3 GW of modules from China in March, an 8% increase from 7.7 GW in February and a 113% year-on-year increase from 3.9 GW. The total import volume reached 24.7 GW in the first quarter, a 160% year-on-year increase.

India and Pakistan were the largest Asia-Pacific markets for Chinese module imports in March, together importing 4.8 GW of modules, accounting for 58% of the region’s total volume. Pakistan exceeded India’s 1.6 GW again with 3.2 GW of imports, as the former had a 23% month-on-month increase, while the latter decreased by 39%. In the first quarter, Pakistan imported 7.4 GW, a 335% year-on-year increase, and India imported 8.4 GW, a 427% year-on-year increase. 

Imports to Pakistan surged in the first quarter, nearly exceeding the total import volume of 2023, aligned with previous predictions. Main drivers include the Belt and Road initiative and MOUs between Chinese module makers and Pakistani companies, both helped boost demand for centralized and distributed generation PV projects in Pakistan.

Industry surveys of InfoLink found several developers establishing utility-scale centralized generation projects in Pakistan. Therefore, demand in Pakistan will be steady in the second quarter, resulting in a fair amount for the first half of this year. Rumors suggest that the Pakistan government will impose tariffs on Chinese modules in May or June, and local developers may beging stockpiling. However, actual development hinges on official announcements.

Indian imports sustained in March before the fiscal year ended. The ALMM took effect on April 1, restricting public tenders or government-funded projects from using Chinese modules, affecting imports from China in March. India may continue reducing module imports from China due to the end of the fiscal year and the ALMM. Further policy changes, exemption criteria, and the inclusion of Chinese manufacturers in the ALMM require further observation.

India remained the biggest importer of China’s cells, importing 1.2 GW in March, a 38% decrease from 1.6 GW in February, indicating its dedication to expanding local module production capacity. Whether local module supply will meet future market demand requires further observation.


The Americas imported 2.5 GW of modules from China in March, a 15% decrease from 2.9 GW in February and a 21% year-on-year decrease from 3.1 GW. The total import volume reached 9 GW in the first quarter, an 18% increase from 7.6 GW in the same period last year.

With the fiscal year ending in the second quarter, Brazil sustained imports in March and remained the region’s biggest importing country in March, accounting for 66% of the region’s total with 1.6 GW of Chinese module imports. In the first quarter, Brazil imported 6.6 GW, a 27% quarter-on-quarter increase.However, the government passed an emergency bill to restrict the growth of distributed generation projects, micro power plants, and the free energy market. The bill, the installation deadline under Law 14.300, has impacted module demand from local distributed generation projects.

Furthermore, Brazil imposed a 9.6% import tariff on modules and established a tariff rate quota mechanism in early 2024. With substantial imports of Chinese modules in January and February leaving limited a quota for the rest of the year, import volume may decrease in the second quarter.

The growth of module demand in Brazil depends on whether lowered interest rates attract financing for PV projects and the effectiveness of local efforts expanding centralized generation projects. Projects released before the fiscal year ends are likely to sustain demand in the second half of this year.

Middle East and Africa

The Middle East imported 3.1 GW of modules from China in March 2024, a 66% increase from 1.9 GW in February and a 204% year-on-year increase from 1 GW. The total import volume reached 7.9 GW in the first quarter, a 204% increase from 2.6 GW in the same period last year.

Saudi Arabia remained the region’s biggest importer in March, shipping in 1.7 GW to account for 57% of the region’s total import volume. In the first quarter, Saudi Arabia imported 4.3 GW of modules from China, a 404% quarter-on-quarter increase largely attributed to the Saudi Vision 2030 program and the release of utility-scale public tenders that stimulate demand. This year, Saudia Arabia will have 7.5-8 GW of module demand, making it a promising market this and next year.

Africa imported 987 MW of Chinese modules in March, a 43% increase from 690 MW in February and a 35% year-on-year increase from 731 MW. The total import volume reached 2.3 GW in the first quarter, a 38% increase from 1.7 GW in the same period last year. South Africa was the biggest African importer of Chinese modules in March, importing 263 MW, accounting for 27% of the region’s total import volume, with an accumulated import volume of 566 MW in the first quarter, a 45% quarter-on-quarter decrease. Despite increasing utility-scale project tenders and investments, long-term development hinges on the improving infrastructure, aging grids, and cumbersome review systems.

Overall, Europe’s import volume stabilized as deliveries of modules ordered last year arrived in the first quarter. India and Brazil maintained imports due to the end of the fiscal year but faced declines in March due to ALMM and limited import quotas, respectively. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia posted increases, thanks to governments strengthening support for the PV industry and collaborations between Chinese manufacturers and local companies.

In the second quarter, imports to India and Brazil will decrease after the end of the fiscal year, respectively due to impacts of the ALMM and the tariff rate quota mechanism. Still, local centralized generation projects will contribute to some module demand. In Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, incentive policies will sustain significant momentum. Additionally, Europe's peak season of the second quarter will make up for declines in India and Brazil. Therefore, non-China module demand will hold steady in the second quarter.

InfoLink launches an updated version of its Supply Chain Utilization Rate Report.

The updated report features interactive charts for comparing the latest utilization rates, enabling a faster and clearer understanding of capacity utilization status of the solar industry.

Learn more
InfoLink launches an updated version of its Supply Chain Utilization Rate Report.

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