Govt to auction wind projects of 4 GW capacity in FY18

download.jpgSource: The Economic Times, Apr 22, 2017

NEW DELHI: The government plans to auction wind power projects of about 4 gigawatt (GW) capacity in tranches this year, a senior official said on Friday.

“The first batch of such auction is being planned next month,” said Ashvini Kumar, managing director, Solar Energy Corporation of India.

The SECI is the nodal agency for holding the auctions this fiscal, part of government’s plan to set up wind power capacity of 60 GW by 2022.

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Modi govt plans to auction 4 gigawatts of wind energy in FY 2017-18

Source: LiveMint.com, Apr 21, 2017

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is seeking to step up the pace of auctioning power-purchase contracts for wind-energy plants, building on a contest that reaped record-low prices for solar farms earlier this month.

The government plans to offer deals covering almost 4 gigawatts of wind capacity in the current fiscal year ending March 2018 in addition to 750 megawatts of solar capacity it will tender next month, Ashvini Kumar, managing director at Solar Energy Corp. of India, the country’s implementing agency for renewable targets, told reporters in New Delhi. Read the rest of this entry »

Rural Electrification eyes Rs10,000 crore renewables lending push

Source: LiveMint.com, Apr 20, 2017

New Delhi: Rural Electrification Corp. (REC), a state-owned backer of India’s power sector, plans to lend billions of rupees to clean-energy projects and equipment makers this fiscal year as part of an expanded push into renewables that will also see it issue green bonds overseas.

The non-banking financial company is aiming to triple its clean-energy lending and is expecting to set aside nearly Rs10,000 crore ($1.5 billion) for renewable energy in the financial year ending 31 March, chairman P.V. Ramesh said in an interview.

“We’re not only financing projects but also evacuation infrastructure and have been talking with manufacturers of equipment like wind turbines, solar panels and storage batteries,” Ramesh said in an interview in New Delhi where the lender, which has a loan book of Rs2 trillion, is based. Read the rest of this entry »

Govt to give customs, excise duty benefits to boost solar rooftop sector

Source: LiveMint.com, Apr 19, 2017

New Delhi: In a boost to India’s lagging solar rooftop sector, the Union ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) has decided to give custom and excise duty benefits to it for ensuring high growth.

The move will not only bring down the costs of setting up projects but also that of generation.
Solar power developers setting up grid-connected solar PV (photovoltaic) projects have been seeking “grant of duty benefits” (custom and excise duty) from the MNRE for installation of rooftop systems.

“The matter of extending the duty benefits to the rooftop grid connected solar PV power plants has been under consideration in this ministry for past some time. After examination of various issues involved, it has been decided to give customs and excise duty exemption certificates, with immediate effect, to all rooftop solar PV power projects upto a minimum capacity of 100 KW (Kilowatt) as a single project or bundled project,” said an MNRE order dated 11 April.

India has set up an ambitious 100 GW solar power target by 2022. Of the 100 GW, 60 GW is planned through large- and medium-scale grid-connected solar power projects while 40 GW is planned from the solar PV (photovoltaic) rooftop system. But the sector has not seen great growth and the target of 40 GW by 2022 remains a mammoth task. As per reports, India’s rooftop solar capacity till 2016-end was about 1GW only.

Experts welcomed the custom and excise duty benefits for the solar sector.

“It’s a good decision. We have ambitious targets and we need to take various steps to encourage the solar rooftop sector. We need to bring the cost down and make it more lucrative,” said Rakesh Kamal, a consultant with The Climate Reality Project, an independent organisation working on climate change-related issues.

Kamal, however, cautioned that MNRE should also focus on maintaining the quality of solar panels being used.

India has given a huge thrust to the solar rooftop sector as it does not require pooling of land or separate transmission facilities and has minimal technical losses, unlike ground-mounted solar projects.

The solar rooftop sector also benefits power distribution companies in various ways. For instance, rooftop projects enable these companies to meet their renewable purchase obligations, help them in managing daytime peak loads which are projected to become more widespread as India’s economy grows and in localised generation of power that ultimately helps them in avoiding costly power.

States leading in providing solar rooftop power are Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Punjab.

In 10 yrs, renewable sources will dominate half of India’s energy capacity

Source: Business Standard, Apr 19, 2017

Non-fossil fuels–renewables, nuclear and large hydroelectric power plants–will account for more than half (56.5%) of India’s installed power capacity within the 10 years to 2027, according to a draft of the third National Electricity Plan (NEP3) released in December 2016.

The draft notes that if India achieves its target to install 175 gigawatts (GW, which consists of 1,000 megawatts) of renewable energy capacity by 2022–as it has committed to under the 2015 Paris Agreement–it will not need to install, at least until 2027, any more coal-fired capacity than the 50 GW currently under construction. Read the rest of this entry »

Government halves the size and financial aid for its largest-ever rooftop solar project

Source: The Economic Times, Apr 19, 2017

NEW DELHI: The renewable energy ministry has halved the size of its largest-ever rooftop solar tender and also cut the financial assistance offered for it.

Ashvini Kumar, managing director of state-run Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), which had released documents related to a tender for installation of 1GW of rooftop solar plants across buildings of 12 central ministries, told ET the tender size has been reduced to 500 MW. He did not provide any more details.

The 1 GW project would have doubled India’s rooftop solar capacity from 1020 MW as of end October 2016. The tender also incentivised speedy completion of projects by linking the government’s financial assistance to it.

For instance, in all states, apart from the special category ones, developers would get Rs 18,750 per KW as assistance if they completed at least 80% of the project within 15 months. Projects in special category states —mostly the hill states —would get Rs 45,000 per KW under the same terms. The figure was progressively lowered, depending on the extent of completion, while those who failed to get at least 40% of their project done in 15 months would get no assistance at all.

An official who did not wish to be named, said, the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) has now earmarked Rs 1,040 crore as the total amount that will be available as financial assistance for the project.

It has also slashed the assistance offered across the board — for instance, those completing 80% of their project in 15 months will now get Rs 16,250 per KW in the general category states and Rs 39,000 per KW in the special category ones.

The actual assistance may be even less as the ministry has ruled that it should be no more than 25% of the benchmark cost of the project in general-category states and 60% in the special-category ones. The benchmark cost will be the lowest cost quoted during the bidding process.

“It is true that developers are unhappy with the changes,” the official said. “Calculation of the roof area has been done aggressively,” said Sunil Bansal, general secretary, Rajasthan Solar Association. A developer who did not want to be named, said, “There is nobody at SECI at present to take ownership of rooftop development.” SECI’s Kumar refuted both allegations.

Of the 500 MW, 150 MW will be set up under the capex model (where the building owner also owns the solar project) and 350 MW under the resco model (where the building owner leases the roof to the developer).

According to SECI calculations, there is space available to set up 1,105.31MW of solar plants across 12 ministry building rooftops. Some ministries own staggeringly large rooftops —the SD Agricultural University in Palanpur, Gujarat, for instance, has enough rooftop space to install 375.67 MW of solar modules.

Macquarie to acquire solar power assets of Hindustan Powerprojects in $600 mn deal

download (11).jpgSource: LiveMint.com, Apr 11, 2017

Mumbai: An infrastructure fund of Australia’s Macquarie Group Ltd has agreed to buy about 330 megawatts (MW) of operational solar assets from power producer Hindustan Powerprojects Pvt. Ltd for an enterprise value of $600 million, said two people familiar with the discussions.

The deal, which will give Macquarie an entry into India’s renewable energy sector, is in an advanced stage of completion and an agreement has been signed, these people said, asking not to be named as the discussions are private.

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