7.5 GW solar projects in Leh & Ladakh

Source: Financial Express, Feb 20, 2019

Industry players have sought more time from the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) to complete their site visits in Leh and Ladakh districts, where the government plans to set up solar parks with capacity of 7,500 MW.

The pre-bid meeting on the mega tender was attended by 51 companies and another technical meeting has been scheduled in the first week of March, a senior Seci official told FE.

The government plans to install 23 giga-watt (GW) of grid-connected solar projects in the state. The first phase of the ‘ultra mega’ solar project would comprise 2,500 MW capacity in the Kargil region and 5,000 MW in Leh district.

Since the project has a large component of adding transmission infrastructure, the meeting was attended by global transmission equipment supply companies such as GE, ABB and Siemens. Read the rest of this entry »


Relief for solar developers on safeguard duty


Source: The Economic Times, Feb 18, 2019

BENGALURU: Developers who won solar projects just before safeguard duty on solar panels and modules was imposed on July 30 last year have been greatly relieved by an order passed by Maharashtra’s power regulator on Friday, maintaining that such duty amounted to a “change of law” and that developers should be adequately compensated for it.

Tata Power, Acme Solar and Adani Green Energy won 150 MW, 250 MW and 200 MW respectively in a 1000 MW solar auction conducted by Maharashtra’s main discom, Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co Ltd (MSEDCL) in May last year, the first two quoting a tariff of Rs 2.72 per unit, while Adani Green Energy sought Rs 2.71 per unit. All three had filed separate petitions before the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC), after the safeguard duty order came into effect, seeking it acknowledge that the imposition of safeguard duty was indeed a change of law, and fix the compensation they should receive. They noted that most of the panels and modules used in solar projects are imported and hence the safeguard duty would significantly raise their input costs. Read the rest of this entry »

Solar imports from Thailand, Singapore & Vietnam surge

Source: Financial Express, Feb 08, 2019

While the safeguard duty imposed in July last year on solar module imports from China and Malaysia and ‘developed countries’ has put the brakes on shipments from these locations, the imports have since surged from a few other countries, including Vietnam, Singapore and Thailand.

In April-November 2018, imports of solar cells and modules from Singapore (Rs 489 crore), Vietnam (Rs 263 crore) and Thailand (Rs 155 crore) recorded an annual growth rate of 242%, 440% and 2,711%, respectively. Even though the import volumes from these countries are still low compared with the overall imports (in April-November the total imports stood at Rs 8,947 crore, down 41% year-on-year), the continued imports of Chinese modules for the Central government-run projects (read NTPC and SECI), where the safeguard duty costs are allowed as a pass-through, is somewhat negating the benefit of the duty for local manufacturers of solar equipment.

The value of solar imports increased at a compounded annual growth rate of 47.6% during FY16-18. About 88% of module requirements were met through imports in FY18, mostly from China. Solar imports from China fell by about 48% in April-November 2018 to Rs 6,974 crore.

“About 3GW to 4GW of existing NTPC SECI projects are buying Chinese product as they have been allowed pass-through of safeguard duty cost,” Sunil Rathi, director sales, Waaree Energies, told FE. “Capacity addition not taking place on satisfactory levels and domestic capacity utilisation factors are still low,” Rathi added. Waaree Energies has 1,500 MW of manufacturing capacity in India.

The imposition of the safeguard duty has also led to a slowdown in solar capacity addition in the country as local solar equipment are usually 8-10% costlier than imported ones and modules comprise about 60% of total project costs. In the first nine months of FY19, 3.6 GW of solar projects were added, 25% lower than the capacity addition in the year-ago period.

The government in July last year imposed 25% safeguard duty on import of solar cells for a year ending July 29, 2019. The duty would be 20% for the next six months, till January 29, 2020, and 15% in the subsequent six months. India has an ambitious target to increase its solar capacity to 100 GW by 2022 from 25 GW at present.

Lamenting on the lack of any proposal for solar manufacturers in the recent budget, Amit Gupta, legal and business affairs head, Vikram Solar, said “the industry was expecting a policy direction from the government to promote manufacturing, especially in the renewable energy sector in the background of job crisis, which India is facing right now”.

Adani Green Energy arm bags 390 MWac hybrid renewable project

Source: IBEF.org, Feb 06, 2019

New Delhi: Adani Green Energy on Tuesday said its arm Mahoba Solar (UP) Private Ltd has bagged a 390 MWac capacity hybrid renewable energy project.

The Solar Energy Corporation of India had floated the tender for the project.

The project is expected to have a solar generation capacity of 360 MWac and wind generation capacity of 100 MWac, it said in a BSE filing.

With this order, Adani Green Energy’s portfolio of renewable generation capacity in India stands at 4.16 GWac with 1.97 GWac operational projects and the rest 2.19 GWac in development stage.

The company’s another arm Adani Renewable Energy (KA) Ltd commissioned 12 MWac wind power project on February 4 in Gujarat, it said.

Solar energy shines brighter in renewable capacity additions

Source: The Hindu Business Line, Feb 05, 2019

Chennai: The solar energy sector continues to add significantly higher new capacity when compared with other renewable sources as also the conventional power segments.

During the nine-month period ended December 31, the renewable energy sector has added 5,002 MW of new capacity, of which the solar segment alone accounted for 3,560 MW (including 3,270 MW from ground-mounted projects and 290 MW from rooftop segment).

The renewable energy sector added 5,602 MW of new capacity in the same period of the previous fiscal. Read the rest of this entry »

New land-allocation policy of Gujarat govt for renewable energy projects rattles developers

Source: The Hindu Business Line, Jan 29, 2019

Renewable energy project developers who had bid for projects in Gujarat are nonplussed by the State recently notifying a new land allotment policy.

The State government has issued a policy for allotment of government waste/non-perilous land for Renewable Energy Generation Park. Under the policy, it has decided to earmark land to set up wind, solar, wind-solar hybrid parks with a capacity of 1,000 MW and above. The land for these projects will be identified by a Committee.

“Initially, the land required for about 30,000 MW of power capacity will be fixed. Out of which 10,000 MW of power capacity will be reserved for State government companies. This means that one-third of the land will be reserved for public enterprises and remaining land can be given to other applicants,” the policy said.

This brings much needed clarity for renewable energy project developers who opt to set up renewable energy projects in the State.

But the policy, which is enforceable from January 25 for a 10-year period, is mum on projects that have already been bid out. “The policy provides no clarity on the projects that are in the pipeline to be set up in Gujarat,” an official with a renewable energy project developer said.

The Centre had recently stepped in to resolve the dispute between wind power project developers and the Gujarat State government over land allocation.

Project developers had alleged that the State was not leasing land for wind projects auctioned by central agencies such as SECI. This had jeopardised 2,000 MW of wind-based power generation projects expected to come up in Gujarat.

Under the policy issued earlier this week, the Gujarat government has said that it will now be mandatory for the tender issuing authority (Solar Energy Corporation of India) to consult with Gujarat state departments before issuing tenders for wind or hybrid project capacities to be set up in the State.

Till now, SECI used to call for centralised bids to procure renewable energy and project developers were free to set up their projects anywhere in the country.

Need long-term visibility, investment in renewables

Source:  The Economic Times, January 22, 2019

Steps need to be taken to make renewable energy financially sustainable and more centric to the power situation, experts said.

“The most important thing for us is the continuity of policies,” said Sumant Sinha, chairman, ReNew Power. “The path that needs to be taken is very clear. The only concern is that returns have gone down, and new capital will find it a little bit harder to come in.”

The government has brought the sector to the forefront and global stage by spearheading the International Solar Alliance, attracting some of the biggest domestic financial investors, who now want the government to emulate China.

The industry expects the government to provide longterm visibility for procurement of power through storage-configured renewable projects and policies, to bring new investment towards gigascale factories for manufacturing modules and batteries under Make in India,” said Manoj Kohli, executive chairman at SoftBank-led SB Energy.

Solar manufacturers want safeguards from cheap imports. “It is imperative to consider antidumping as policy or regulation. Lack of a robust policy leads to influx of low-quality products in the market, forcing domestic manufacturers to compete at unsustainable prices, leaving no scope to innovate or increase capacities,” said Sunil Rathi, director, Waaree Energies. The industry also sees the need for better grid management.

The government must ensure that projects in the pipeline are delivered on time by removing bottlenecks, said Vipul Tuli, managing director, Sembcorp Energy India. “Steps also need to be taken to ensure that in an election year, discom finances are not further weakened due to populist measures.”