A series of significant announcements in the Indian renewable sector were made during February. For instance, the Minister of Power and New and Renewable Energy, R.K Singh declared the state-wise central financial assistance that was released in 2018-19 (until February 5, 2019). According to Singh, in total, the government has released around ₹35 billion ($505 million) in CFA for renewable energy projects across India.

Two new countries, Argentina and Saudi Arabia, signed the framework agreement of the International Solar Alliance (ISA), joining hands with India towards a common goal of sustainability.

Here is a quick recap of some more news highlights from February:  

The Indian solar market installed 8,263 MW in 2018, down 15.5 percent compared to 9,782 MW in 2017 as safeguard duty, GST issues, and land and transmission issues took a toll on the large-scale installations, according to Mercom India Research’s newly released Q4 & Annual 2018 India Solar Market Update.

In the calendar year 2018, the Indian solar sector imported solar modules and cells totaling nearly $2.59 billion (~₹184.57 billion), a 37 percent decline from the $4.12 billion (~₹269 billion) recorded during the preceding year. In 2018, Indian solar exports also decreased with $106.89 million (~₹7.61 billion) in exports, a decline of 19 percent from 2017 when the figure stood at $132.29 million (~₹8.6 billion), according to the latest trade data.

The CCEA has also given its approval for the second phase of grid-connected rooftop solar program with central financial support to the tune of ₹118.14 billion (~$1.66 billion) to achieve a cumulative capacity of 40 GW projects by the year 2022.

The imposition of safeguard duty on solar cell and module imports from China and Malaysia is proving to be a bigger issue for local manufacturers than was perhaps anticipated. Last year, the Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) recommended a 25 percent safeguard duty on solar cell imports from China and Malaysia for the first year, followed by a phased down approach.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has announced the guidelines for the payment security mechanism for projects allocated under the viability gap funding program. The fund of ₹5 billion will be made available to cover energy payment risk from grid-connected solar PV projects under the 750 MW, 2000 MW and 5000 MW VGF programs.

Solar power generation in India continues to increase as more solar is added to the grid every day. According to Mercom’s India Solar Project Tracker, solar accounted for around 27.9 GW of the total installed capacity, representing 7.91 percent of the total installed capacity by the end of December 2018.

Power distribution companies in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, and Jammu & Kashmir are staring at acute power shortages as the National Thermal Power Corporation has warned that it will stop supply due to non-payment of dues. The four states together owe NTPC ₹78.22 billion (~$1.10 billion) in outstanding power bills (both conventional and solar).

The Ministry of Power has constituted a new committee to study and submit its recommendations into the issue of delayed payments by distribution companies to power generating companies and Independent Power Producers.

India’s total installed power capacity stood at around 353 GW at the end of December 2018, with renewables accounting for 77.5 GW making up 22 percent, compared to cumulative renewable energy installations of 65.3 GW at the end of December 2017 which represented a 19.4 percent increase. According to Mercom’s India Solar Project Tracker, solar accounted for approximately 27.9 GW of the total installed generation, which is 7.91 percent of the total installed power capacity.

The interim Budget 2019 was announced on February 1, 2019, by the interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal. Like the previous two years, this year’s Budget also appears to have failed to cater to the domestic renewable energy sector.

Image credit: IFC