Among the endless business opportunities nowadays, importing solar panels from China proves to be the most advantageous. This country provides 50% of the world's total solar panels, earning them the spot for the number one distributor in 2010. Solar panel manufacturers here even offer the lowest prices globally. Definitely, buyers have all the favorable reasons to import such products from this country.

You have to analyze and additionally review the terminologies involved on how to import solar panels from China. It is imperative given that China just recently opened its trade relationship to the world. Cultural differences and also language barriers may impede in negotiating prices, guaranteeing quality control and getting through the localized customs.

Importing these goods from China is just equivalent to importing other merchandise. Nevertheless, for every phase, there are minute details that you have to deal with. Call it subtle obstacles but it pays well in the end – you get the cheapest but high standard solar panels.

Chinese Solar Panel Production

China is the primary distributor of solar panels across the globe. Given that the materials utilized in processing these panels like polysilicon is abundant in the country. Its byproduct, silicon tetrachloride, can cost about $84,500 per ton. But in China, this will only cost you an approximate $21,000-$56,000 per ton.

GCL-Poly is the world’s top producer of polysilicon in 2011, producing about 65,000 tons on an annual basis. The four most prestigious solar panel processing companies in year 2011 are also located in China-- Suntech, JA Solar, Trina, and Yingli--manufacturing 2,400MW, 2,100MW, 1,900MW, 1,700MW respectively. Consequently, Chinese companies like Suntech, LDK, Canadian Solar, Trina, Yingli, Hanwha Solar One, Jinko Solar and Sunneeg made the list of 2011 Global Top Ten Solar Panels.

Importing Terms

When importing solar panels from China, you must study the succeeding terms, tariffs and transactions integrated in the process:

Tariff - is a type of tax applied on imported merchandise. You can find most of the codes associated with tariffs in the Harmonized Commodity Coding System.

Customs Duty - is an amount paid depending on the Tariffs implemented on the merchandise. The total amount is determined by the solar powered panel value, total quantity, tariff categorization as well as value-added tax.

Certificates - these include country of origin (China), description of your goods (solar powered panels and also the corresponding tariff category), weight, Bill of the Lading, insurance data, packing records, copies of the invoices, and other special documentation.

How to Start an Importing Business of Solar Panels from China

Step 1. Build a Relationship with the Solar Panel Supplier

Start communicating with Chinese panel suppliers and update them about your company. Most frequently, the top producers already have import partners so better select unrenowned companies. Check their qualifications by investigating the number of years they have been producing solar panels and also the trade shows they have attended.

Step 2. Discuss Pricing Terms

Assess the quality of the products and then deliberate the shipping and pricing terms. You can even ask for a trial order in to verify their packaging, collaterals, insurance and other factors.

Step 3. Analyze Import Terms and Use them to Your Advantage

The most common terms are FOB (Free on Board or price including freight cost up to destination port) and also CIF (Cost, Insurance & Freight or price inclusive of insurance and freight up to the specified destination). Verify terms with the Chinese provider so you can personally conduct risk assessment and calculate approximate landing cost. You can even hire an Import Management Company and  Freight Forwarder for a detailed cost break-down.

Step 4. Payment Terms

Usually importers need to pay 30% of overall cost when ordering, and then the other 70% once the merchandise is in the shipping phase. Negotiate wisely.

Step 5. Satisfy All National Regulatory Standards

It is your duty to ensure your imported solar panels satisfy all the regulatory requirements. Do not continue with importing if these conditions aren't met. If your knowledge is limited, better hire a customs broker to help you out.

Step 6. Opt for a Reputable Customs House Broker and Forwarder

You can find a dependable list of suppliers in customs offices or your local trade organizations. A customs house broker is also important to calculate the amount of duty you have to pay for the solar panels.

Step 7. Secure a Trial Order

This trial order is carried out to ensure everything goes perfectly for the bulk importation of solar panels from China. In the purchase order, indicate the product specifications, packaging requirements, as well as trade terms. Prepare the necessary shipping documents.

Step 8. Employ an Item Inspector

Hire quality assurance personnel to check the solar panels in the factory in China. Ask for thorough reports based on the qualifications you've given them. You can also have them inspect the assembly areas too.

Step 9. Transportation and also Customs Clearance Tracking

The transportation of your solar panels will be taken care of your freight forwarder, while the customs broker will deal with the clearances.

Step 10. Keep the Importation Records

As soon as you receive the solar panels from China make sure to keep most of the records concerning the transaction. You can now sell your imported solar panels.

Step 11. Study the Authenticity of Your Items

If you sourced the solar panels through a reseller in China, call up their primary manufacturer and verify the authenticity about your items.

List of Solar Panel Providers in China:

Hanwha Solar

Canadian Solar

Yingli Green Energy

Trina Solar


Jinko Solar

Trony Solar

GCL Poly

LDK Solar


Singyes Solar

Asia Silicon

BYD Solar