News Highlights from India’s Solar Industry in January 2019

The first month of 2019 witnessed some key announcements in the Indian renewable sector. For instance, the Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR ) issued its final findings for the anti-dumping duty investigation concerning the import of textured tempered coated and uncoated glass from Malaysia and recommended anti-dumping duty of $114.58/metric ton for a period of five years.

Here are some more news highlights from January:  

The government has lowered the customs duty on import of EV components to 10-15 percent. So far, EV components imported for assembly in India attracted an import duty in the range of 15-30 percent. This decision is likely to provide more impetus to the EV revolution that’s taking shape in the country.

According to a provisional report by the Central Electricity Authority’s (CEA), India recorded a power supply deficit of 0.6 percent in the nine-month period between April and December 2018. During this period, 965,589 million units (MUs) of energy were supplied against the demand of 971,490 MUs. This implies a deficit of 5,901 MUs over the targeted energy requirement.

The demand for electricity in India is expected to continue its rise along with economic growth. But India’s grid infrastructure is not keeping pace with power generation additions, making micro and mini grids an important piece of the energy puzzle, especially in rural areas and regions where the grid has not reached the population. This is an in-depth study by Mercom.

India will need an investment to the tune of $60-80 billion over the next five years in grid infrastructure to accommodate its tremendous growth in renewable energy capacity, said a brief note published by the Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).

India’s solar market is on a roll with over 24 GW of large-scale solar PV capacity installed in the country as of December 2018. According to Mercom India Research, over 13 GW of large-scale solar projects were auctioned and awarded in 2018, nearly three times more than the 4.5 GW awarded in 2017.

The National Institute of Transforming India (NITI) Aayog has issued a model concession agreement for public private partnership aimed at the operation and maintenance of electric buses in cities across the country. The objective of the model concession agreement is to provide O&M efficiency of city bus fleets for the authority while ensuring bankability of the project for the private sector.

The National Solar Energy Federation of India (NSEFI) has written a letter to the Prime Minister’s Office regarding the new External Commercial Borrowings (ECB) policy framework implemented by the Reserve Bank of India. The new framework makes the repayment of rupee loan to domestic lenders by renewable project developers through ECB proceeds impossible.

India has launched a program to battle the increasing level of pollutants in the air. The National Clean Air Program is a time-bound national level strategy for pan India implementation to tackle the increasing air pollution problem across the country.

Leh and Kargil, two of India’s most difficult and inhospitable terrains, have finally been connected to the national electricity grid. This feat, achieved after 72 years of independence, was made possible by the government’s PowerGrid Corporation of India Limited, a state-run transmission utility.

India saw a significant increase in new large-scale solar PV tenders announced with over 22 GW of mega solar tenders announced in the year 2018. According to Mercom’s India Solar Tender Tracker, over 40 GW of large-scale solar projects were tendered in 2018.

As many as twenty-seven Indian states and union territories in the country have achieved less than 60 percent of their renewable purchase obligations, according to a statement made by the Minister for Power, R. K. Singh in Lok Sabha.

Spot power price in India declined to ₹3.30 (~$0.04766)/kWh in December 2018, an eight percent decline month-over-month. However, the spot price increased by 10 percent year-over-year.

In 2018, over 13 GW of solar capacity was auctioned through the year with the lowest discovered tariff in these auctions recorded at ₹2.44 (~$0.0355)/kWh, which has been quoted four times in 2018 and has been the lowest solar tariff the country has seen so far since 2017.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has extended the deadline for BIS certification of solar inverters by six months. The new deadline is June 30, 2019. The inverter suppliers will be allowed self-certification without submitting samples to test labs as the series guidelines for submitting samples to test labs are currently under preparation.