The impact of Coronavirus has finally reached the Indian clean energy sector. Mercom had forecasted solar installations in India to grow by 17% year-over-year due to a strong pipeline of projects. The Coronavirus pandemic has upended the industry, which depends on a global supply chain for components. Now, with India announcing a country-wide lockdown for three weeks, the industry needs to navigate through the effects and uncertainties in the coming days.
During this period, Mercom will cover the effects of Coronavirus on the industry and keep informing the readers on the most important developments that could affect the clean energy business across the country.
Jul 28, 2020 – As the economy dwindles, industries worldwide are looking frantically at cost-saving measures to keep profit margins from getting thinner. After the lockdown, several segments like pharmaceuticals, FMCG, and textiles have had an increased demand for solar. MSMEs are now taking another look at solar mainly because it offers cheaper power, resilience, and flexibility.
Jul 15, 2020 – The National Solar Energy Federation of India (NSEFI) has requested the Union Power Minister R.K. Singh to set aside ₹50 billion (~$666.2 million) from the distribution companies (DISCOMs) liquidity package for Andhra Pradesh DISCOMs so their dues can be paid to renewable generators. The NSEFI letter said that such an action would go a long way in ensuring the financial sustainability of the renewable generators that have signed power purchase agreements with Andhra Pradesh government. In May 2020, the central government announced that power distribution companies would receive ₹900 billion (~$12.03 billion) as part of a stimulus package to help the Indian economy recover from the coronavirus crisis.
Jul 14, 2020 – The Renewable Energy Association of Rajasthan (REAR) has written to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), asking for it to start conducting online pre-dispatch inspections of the domestic content requirement (DCR) certified solar modules. The request has been made to the government in light of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. The association wrote that while the process is very vital to ensure the quality of the components used in the program, it was not a good idea to conduct physical inspections in these times.
Jul 08, 2020 – Pune-based wind turbine-maker Suzlon Energy, in its annual earnings report for the financial year (FY) 2020, reported that its losses during the year had widened due to falling revenues and lower sales volumes amidst the COVID-19 crisis. Net losses during the year widened to ₹26.92 billion (~$362.3 million) during FY 2020 from ₹15.37 billion (~$206.8 million) a year earlier, according to the company’s earnings release.
Jul 03, 2020 – The wheels of the economy have started turning again, albeit slowly, with the lifting of the lockdown in select cities and states. Businesses and industries have resumed activities in a phased manner; however, with the number of COVID cases increasing in many parts of the country, we could see further delays. The stakeholders believe that the 30 days’ extension given to renewable projects is insufficient. The developers want extension should be increased to at least six months to meet the challenges of labor mobilization and other logistical constraints as a result of the lockdown.
Jul 01, 2020 – In an important clarification, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has announced that the period of nationwide lockdown due to COVID-19 will be considered from March 25, 2020, to May 31, 2020. This is in continuation of the Ministry’s earlier notice, which was issued on April 17, 2020. It had directed that the renewable energy implementing agencies be granted an extension of time for projects amounting to the total period of the lockdown plus 30 days for normalization.
Jun 24, 2020 – Amid the COVID-19 crisis, the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has exempted ACME Heergarh Powertech Private Limited from its contractual obligations under force majeure provision of its power purchase agreement with the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL). The MERC said that while the COVID-19 outbreak constituted as a force majeure event, it cannot be used to terminate the PPA as sought by ACME. It said that there were no clauses for this in the PPA and as per its terms, the affected party can only be exempted from its obligations without any compensation in tariffs on account of the force majeure event.
Jun 24, 2020 – Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDDL), a leading power utility supplier, catering to the needs of seven million people in the north and north-west Delhi, said it received over 90% of its bill payments in digital mode during the lockdown. This was a marked improvement on the earlier number when 65% of the consumers were using digital payments before the lockdown. The trend was observed on all digital platforms and modes that were made available for e-payment.
Jun 23, 2020 – The coronavirus crisis has disrupted the momentum in all segments of the renewable industry. The Ministry of Power’s (MoP) waiver on Interstate Transmission System (ISTS) charge is currently only applicable to projects commissioned before December 31, 2022, but transmission projects are expected to get delayed beyond this date due to the ongoing pandemic. Stakeholders Mercom spoke to unanimously agreed that the industry needs a longer deadline extension to give them some breathing room to get their projects back on track following the havoc caused by the pandemic.
Jun 22, 2020 – The Bihar Electricity Regulatory Commission (BERC) has approved the request of the Bihar State Power Holding Company Limited (BSPHCL) to carry forward the shortfall in its renewable purchase obligation (RPO) for the financial year (FY) 2019-20 to FY 2020-21. Earlier, BSPHCL had filed a petition on behalf of North Bihar Power Distribution Company Limited (NBPDCL) and South Bihar Power Distribution Company Limited (SBPDCL) for seeking an exemption of the REC shortfall in achieving the RPO target for FY 2020. It had also requested for exemption of the shortfall in RPO target until the first quarter of FY 2020-21 due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jun 17, 2020 – The Bihar Electricity Regulatory Commission (BERC) has reduced the rate of late payment surcharges (LPS) payable by the distribution companies (DISCOMs) and transmission licensees to ease their burden during the ongoing coronavirus crisis. The Commission specified a reduced LPS rate of 0.75% per month, down from 1.25% previously. The Commission noted that if the grace period falls outside May 25, 2020, and June 30, 2020, late payment charges would be applicable as per the existing regulations at 1.25% per month.
Jun 16, 2020 – As the COVID-19 crisis continues, governments across the world have been forced to take stringent measures to curb its spread. The pandemic has had a deep impact on economies around the world and could lead to one of the worst economic downturns in history. In this in-depth article, Mercom analyzed how renewable generation can help the global economy get back on its feet.
Jun 16, 2020 – In the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the United States of America, have announced tax relief for taxpayers who have installed renewable energy projects. This relief would apply to renewable projects using sources such as solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, landfill gas, trash, and hydropower, fuel cells, microturbines, and combined heat and power systems.
Jun 16, 2020 – The Government of Andhra Pradesh has provided a state-backed guarantee for distribution companies (DISCOMs) to avail ₹66 billion (~$873.4 million) loan from the Power Finance Corporation Limited (PFC) and Rural Electrification Corporation Limited (REC). This follows the central government’s recent announcement for a ₹900 billion (~$11.91 billion) relief package by the finance ministry to help struggling DISCOMs pay the power generators on time.
Jun 12, 2020 – Social distancing regulations and the nationwide lockdown have prohibited DISCOMs from physically collecting electricity bills as conventional metering systems require readings to be checked in person. This, along with its other problems, including aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses, low tariffs, and other internal inefficiencies, has left DISCOMs in a tough spot financially. Smart meters could be the much-needed solution to most of these problems. They require minimal direct human interaction and have other widespread benefits that will be felt across the entire power value chain.
Jun 12, 2020 – The United States installed 3.6 GW of new solar capacity in the first quarter (Q1) of 2020, according to the latest report published by the Solar energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Wood Mackenzie. As per the report, the COVID-19 pandemic is having a big impact on the U.S. solar industry. Constructions have been delayed, and the customer demand has also dropped because of the pandemic.
Jun 11, 2020 – India’s solar imports fell by 77% year-over-year (YoY) in the first quarter (Q1) of the calendar year (CY) 2020 with $151 million (~₹10.8 billion) compared to $650 million (₹45.8 billion) during the same quarter in 2019, according to the latest trade data. According to Mercom’s channel checks, the primary reason behind the slowdown of import activity was the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which kickstarted the disruption in the supply chain with the shutdown of manufacturing units in China.
Jun 10, 2020 – The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has rescheduled the implementation of its deviation settlement mechanism (DSM) regulations from June 1, 2020, to October 5, 2020. The Commission noted that the preparations were delayed due to COVID-19 and cyclone Amphan.
Jun 09, 2020 – The Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) announced that it had approved ₹10.75 billion (~$142.5 million) as a one-time consolidated rebate to distribution companies (DISCOMs) and power departments of states and union territories. The Ministry of Power had earlier asked it to consider offering a rebate of 20-25% to DISCOMs on the interstate transmission (ISTS) charges levied by it. The ministry had asked PGCIL to consider the rebate for the lockdown period on account of the coronavirus crisis.
Jun 09, 2020 – The National Solar Energy Federation of India (NSEFI) has asked the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) to extend the waiver of Interstate Transmission System (ISTS) charges and losses for renewable energy projects. The NSEFI is an umbrella organization of all solar energy stakeholders of India. It suggested that the deadline should be extended immediately by a year in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The waiver currently applies for all solar and wind power projects commissioned before December 31, 2022.
Jun 05, 2020 -Mercom India hosted a webinar on key trends shaping the Indian solar market based on its recently released India Solar Market Update report for the first quarter of 2020. The session focused on the current situation of the industry, especially in the light of the ongoing pandemic and the unprecedented challenges faced by the stakeholders. The presenters and participants discussed the current financing issues in the Indian solar rooftop market, the government’s plans to implement direct benefit transfer (DBT), liquidity issues for lenders, and other hot topics in the Indian renewable energy sector.
Jun 05, 2020 – While the global pandemic continues to affect the solar industry around the world, India announced 14 GW of solar tenders. Despite the pandemic, about 3.5 GW of solar projects were auctioned in the first quarter (Q1) of 2020. The 14 GW of solar tenders announced by the government could lead to opportunities worth approximately ₹550 billion (~$7 billion).
Jun 04, 2020 – In an interview with Mercom, Mayank Mishra, Huawei India’s Regional Sales Director, smart PV, talked about the company’s approach in these unprecedented times due to COVID-19, the solar inverter market’s outlook, and long-term strategies.
Jun 03, 2020 – The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission has once again rescheduled the implementation of the fifth amendment to the deviation settlement mechanism regulations (DSM). The earlier date for its implementation was June 1, 2020, which has now been extended to December 1, 2020. In the wake of coronavirus outbreak in the country, the Commission had earlier rescheduled implementing the fifth amendment of deviation settlement regulations from April 1, 2020, to June 1, 2020.
Jun 03, 2020 – The fate of a 13.5 MW municipal solid waste-based power project in Uttar Pradesh is stuck in limbo due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis. The Commission recently adjourned the date of hearing for its amended power purchase agreement to July 21, 2020, owing to the ongoing pandemic.
Jun 02, 2020 – The average large-scale solar system cost was approximately ₹35 million ($0.46 million) in Q1 2020, 12% lower compared to ₹40 million (~$0.53 million) during Q1 of 2019, according to Mercom’s recently released Q1 2020 India Solar Market Update. Costs were down by 3% compared to Q4 2019. The COVID-19 outbreak has had a huge adverse impact on the solar industry in India. The disruption in India’s solar supply chain began with the work stoppage that started in China in February 2020, followed by the lockdown that was imposed in India.
Jun 01, 2020 – The Indian government’s goal of installing 100 GW of solar by the year 2022 is becoming tougher by the day, especially after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. In an in-depth report, Mercom analysed how the country is far off the goal due to the ongoing crisis and several other impediments.
Jun 01, 2020 – The global coronavirus crisis has disrupted production processes and supply chains across sectors, and the solar industry is no exception. Companies and establishments are left with no choice but to adapt to these changes and find a way to continue operations while minimizing losses. Mercom interviewed Col. Pushkar Prasad, President at ReNew Power, a leading independent power producer (IPP), to find out how the company has been coping with the crisis and about its planned course of action going forward.
May 29, 2020 – The Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Limited (GUVNL) has once again extended the bid submission deadline for its tender that calls for the development of 700 MW of solar projects at the Dholera Solar Park. The reason for the extension is the national lockdown announced to arrest the spread of COVID-19 pandemic. The deadline for the submission of bids has been extended to July 31, 2020, which was earlier May 30, 2020.
May 28, 2020 – Investments in the Indian solar industry totaled $970 million (~₹72.9 billion) in the first quarter (Q1) of 2020, according to Mercom’s Q1 2020 India Solar Market Update. Investments were 66% lower year-over-year (YoY) compared to $2.8 billion (~₹195.4 billion) recorded in Q1 2019. The decline was primarily due to the slowdown in solar installations during the quarter and a lack of new investments into manufacturing units. According to the report, COVID-19 disrupted the solar supply chain and India’s solar growth as solar installations fell to 1.1 GW, a 39% decline YoY. At the end of Q1 2020, India’s installed solar capacity stood at ~36.8 GW.
May 27, 2020 – In recent months, a global pandemic brought the Indian economy on its knees. The unprecedented slowdown was exacerbated with the already inefficient DISCOMs, making matters worse for power developers. The Government of India once again set aside funds to the tune of ₹900 billion (~$11.94 billion) to help DISCOMs get back on their feet amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis. But the government’s recovery package barely scratches the surface on issues plaguing electricity utilities.
May 26, 2020 – According to the new energy statistics and the data released by the National Energy Administration (NEA), nearly 3.95 GW of solar capacity was installed nationwide in China during the first quarter of (Q1) of 2020. The 3.95 GW of new installations for Q1 2020 was a 24% decline compared to 5.2 GW installed during the same period last year. The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the main reasons for the decline in installations in the first quarter of 2020.
May 25, 2020 – The International Energy Agency (IEA) has said that global renewable installations might fall for the first time in 20 years due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis. Still, it can pick up again, given supportive government policies. The IEA’s latest Renewable Energy Market Update Report with its outlook for 2020 and 2021 stated that renewables were not immune to the COVID-19 crisis but are more resilient than other fuels. IEA said that coronavirus had worsened existing challenges around the financial performance of power distribution companies which played and crucial role in the deployment of utility-scale and distributed solar.
May 25, 2020 – In all, 155 multinational corporations (MNC) from across the world have signed a statement asking governments to integrate the latest climate science developments into their efforts to help their respective economies recover from the COVID-19 crisis, according to the United Nations (UN) Global Compact. According to the press release from the UN’s corporate sustainability initiative, the companies have collectively called upon world governments to structure policies that will be resilient to shocks from any future crises.
May 22, 2020 – The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced the third round of monetary measures to boost the economy amid the lockdown caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. RBI governor Shaktikanta Das announced a reduction in the policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) by 40 basis points (bps) to 4% from 4.40%. The bank has also extended the moratorium on term loan installments from June 1, 2020, to August 31, 2020.
May 20, 2020 – India installed 1,080 MW of solar capacity in the first quarter (Q1) of 2020, a 43% decline quarter-over-quarter (QoQ), compared to 1,897 MW installed in Q4 2019. After two consecutive years of negative growth, the domestic solar industry’s hopes were pinned on 2020; unfortunately, the COVID-19 outbreak has had a huge adverse impact on the solar industry in India and globally.
May 20, 2020 – The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has requested all the State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (SERCs) to allow the online listing of petitions and hear urgent matters through video conferencing. The Ministry’s move comes after it received a letter from renewable energy developers, requesting it to issue an advisory to all the SERCs to start online listing and hear important cases online. Due to the nationwide lockdown in the wake of coronavirus (COVID-19), SERCs have postponed listing and hearing of the petitions.
May 20, 2020 – The Rural Electrification Corporation Limited (REC) has announced an opportunity for the distribution companies (DISCOMs) to avail loans to clear their dues. The loans under this program will be co-funded by REC and Power Finance Corporation (PFC) in equal amounts. This comes on the heels of the government’s economic stimulus package in which it announced that DISCOMs would receive ₹900 billion (~$12.03 billion) to help the Indian economy recover from the coronavirus crisis.
May 19, 2020 – The Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL), a state-owned power transmission company, recently received a letter from the Ministry of Power to consider offering a rebate of about 20-25% to distribution companies (DISCOMs) on the inter-state transmission charges levied by it. The rebates will be provided for passing on the benefit to the end consumer. According to its Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) filing, the ministry asked PGCIL to consider the rebate for the lockdown period on account of the coronavirus pandemic.
May 18, 2020 – Amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis and the nationwide lockdown, the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) has decided to extend the time for complying with the Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) for the financial year (FY) 2020. The extension has been provided for three months. Now, the obligated entities such as the distribution licensees, grid-connected captive consumers, and open access consumers can meet their RPO for the FY 2020 by August 31, 2020.
May 18, 2020 – In the fourth tranche of the economic stimulus package, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced several significant power sector reforms. The center has now proposed to privatize DISCOMs in the union territories (UTs). DISCOMs in the union territories come under the administration of the central government while the respective state governments govern those in the states. The finance minister also said that the government is working on new tariff policy.The finance minister also said that the government is working on new tariff policy.
May 15, 2020 – The Uttarakhand Electricity Regulatory Commission (UERC) has issued an order stating that the benchmark capital cost and levelized generic tariff, issued in June 2019, will continue to be applicable until September 30, 2020. Referring to the government’s decision to further extend the lockdown period with certain relaxations, the Commission stated that the commercial activities concerning the development of solar energy-based power projects might take some time to get normalized.
May 14, 2020 – The economic downturn, growth of the renewable sector, and the impact of COVID-19 pandemic have achieved what was earlier thought impossible. A combination of these factors has led to a year-on-year (YoY) reduction in CO2 emissions for the first time in four decades, according to an analysis by the environmental website Carbon Brief. The fall in CO2 emission levels in India has been steep in March because of the stringent lockdown measures put in by the government to fight the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
May 14, 2020 – In a press conference in New Delhi, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman announced that power distribution companies (DISCOMs) would receive ₹900 billion (~$12.03 billion) as part of the Government of India’s (GOI) stimulus package to help the Indian economy recover from the coronavirus crisis. This one-time liquidity injection will be infused through the Power Finance Corporation (PFC) and REC Ltd in two equal installments.
May 13, 2020 – The Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) has issued an order lowering the late payment surcharges (LPS) by distribution companies to generation companies and transmission licensees in light of the ongoing coronavirus crisis. After receiving directions from the state government, the Commission reduced the rate of LPS to 0.6% per month for payments delayed beyond 15, 30, 45, and 60 days from the date of presenting the bills. This would apply for bills generated between March 24, 2020, and June 30, 2020. The LPS rate before this revision stood at 15% per year or 1.25% per month.
May 13, 2020 – The Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) announced that it has installed over 1.2 million smart meters in India to date under the Ministry of Power’s Smart Meter National Program. The MoP’s public sector undertaking also said that it enabled distribution companies to generate a billing efficiency of 95% through the use of its smart meters during the lockdown, resulting in a 15-20% average increase in monthly revenue per consumer.
May 12, 2020 – The rooftop solar market has been challenging due to a lack of general awareness, financing woes, and the unwillingness of distribution companies to help. Financing has always been a challenge when it comes to rooftop projects, especially after the NBFC (Non-Banking Financing Companies) crisis. Financing will become even more challenging post COVID-19 as banks struggle to cope with tough economic conditions. In these challenging times, we decided to explore the status of the World Bank funds, which could be critical in supporting the rooftop market.
May 12, 2020 – The Chhattisgarh State Electricity Regulatory Commission (CSERC) has issued an order through a suo moto petition revising the late payment surcharges (LPS) for fixed electricity bills payable by industrial and commercial establishments. The Commission revised late payment surcharges to 1% per month on the outstanding amount for cases where the bill is not paid before the due date.
May 11, 2020 – The International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) Coalition for Action has asked governments to take effective response measures to address the immediate and long-term impacts of the global COVID-19 crisis. The Coalition for Action comprises over 100 players in the renewable energy industry from across the world. They have put forth recommendations on how governments can ensure a rapid and sustained economic recovery that aligns with climate and sustainability objectives.
May 07, 2020 – Amid the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, nearly 20 leaders from research groups, think tanks, renewable energy companies, and health care services, have demanded to solarize all unelectrified healthcare sub-centers in rural India. These leaders have highlighted that the ongoing COVID-19 crisis has shown several existing systemic gaps in services, especially to the rural poor and inadequate healthcare infrastructure is one of them, states the press release.
May 06, 2020 – Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently held a meeting to take stock of the power sector amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In the meeting, the Prime Minister discussed various measures and long-term reforms for enhancing sustainability, resilience, and efficiency of the sector. The meeting was attended by the Home Minister, Finance Minister, Minister of State for Power, and Minister of State for Finance along with senior government officials.
May 05, 2020 – Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited (BHEL) has issued an Expression of Interest (EoI) inviting global companies to partner and leverage its facilities and capabilities for setting up a manufacturing base in the country. Some of the possible areas of partnership could be on heavy electrical equipment, project, and transportation equipment, silicon to module solar value chain, and setting up of up to 5 MW capacity of Li-Ion cell manufacturing facility for all types of electric vehicles and energy storage. “For a world that must quickly come to terms with the new normal, it is imperative that manufacturing activities are quickly resumed and ramped up, which would help the restoration of normalcy and avoiding shortages that may adversely affect the international economic recovery,” BHEL said.
May 04, 2020 – The Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) has announced an extension for filing responses to the questionnaire regarding the review investigation for the continued imposition of safeguard duty on solar imports. The date for the submission of responses has been extended from April 30, 2020, to May 11, 2020. The extension has been announced in view of the ongoing lockdown to arrest the development of the coronavirus pandemic. No further extension will be granted. The Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) has announced an extension for filing responses to the questionnaire regarding the review investigation for the continued imposition of safeguard duty on solar imports. The date for the submission of responses has been extended from April 30, 2020, to May 11, 2020. The extension has been announced in view of the ongoing lockdown to arrest the development of the coronavirus pandemic. No further extension will be granted.
April 27, 2020 – The Ministry of Power (MOP) has issued a notice asking the states and union territories to allow the Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) and other private interstate transmission utilities to operate, maintain, and conduct construction-related activities of the interstate transmission systems (ISTS) during the nationwide lockdown until May 3, 2020. The Ministry noted that the construction of many interstate transmission lines has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and that these lines need to be completed as soon as possible to supply electricity to different parts of the country and to minimize public hardship.
April 27, 2020 – The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has issued a notice stating that it is shutting down Phase II of the Atal Jyoti Yojana (AJAY) program due to the global COVID-19 outbreak. Under the program, 12 W LED solar streetlights were being supplied in parliamentary constituencies with 75% of the cost being borne by the MNRE and the remainder coming from the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS).
April 27, 2020 – To deal with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused economic disruptions across the board, the Chhattisgarh Electricity Regulatory Commission (CSERC) has issued an order reducing the payment of the late payment surcharge (LPS) to 0.75% per month. India is in a state of lockdown since March 24, 2020, until May 3, 2020. Given the current situation that is a matter of public interest, the Commission is providing some relief to electricity consumers and utilities in the state of Chhattisgarh.
April 23, 2020 – The Ministry of Shipping has issued a notice directing all major ports of the country to allow free storage time to all port users for the lockdown period. The Ministry has issued a notice directing all major ports of the country to allow free storage time to all port users for the lockdown period. The present situation has led to a drop in import and export volumes, delays in the evacuation of cargo, and cash flow issues.
April 23, 2020 – The Rajasthan Electricity Regulatory Commission (RERC) has issued an order directing stakeholders to adopt measures to ease the burden on power consumers, generators, transmission licensees, and distribution companies in the state amidst the ongoing coronavirus crisis. It stated that to make things easier for all parties in these difficult times, a normative rate equivalent to the interest rate on working capital should be adopted in place of the current penal rate of late payment surcharges.
April 23, 2020 – Companies across the globe are trying hard to tackle the unprecedented economic crisis caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In one such case, a U.S.-based solar panel maker, SunPower Corp, has decided to stop production in its factories across five countries temporarily. The company, which is one of the leading manufacturers of solar modules, has stopped production in its facilities in France, Malaysia, Mexico, the Philippines, and the United States.
April 22, 2020 – The Punjab State Electricity Commission (PSERC) has invited comments, objections, and suggestions for a proposal by the state government to lower the renewable purchase obligations (RPOs) of power establishments for the year to alleviate the financial burden on distribution companies (DISCOMs) and consumers due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
April 21, 2020 – The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has issued a blanket commissioning time extension for all renewable energy projects under construction in the country on account of the nationwide lockdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Ministry’s notice directed renewable energy implementing agencies to grant an extension of time for projects amounting to the total period of the lockdown plus 30 days for normalization.
April 21, 2020 – Considering the ongoing economic disruption caused amid the Coronavirus pandemic, the West Bengal Electricity Regulatory Commission (WBERC) has issued an order for the late payment surcharge (LPS) to be charged by the generating companies and transmission licensees. If any delayed payment (beyond 60 days) by the distribution companies (DISCOMs) to the generating companies falls between March 24, 2020, and June 30, 2020, the DISCOMs should make the payment with a reduced rate of late payment surcharge at 1% per month.
April 21, 2020 – The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has revised its Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy intending to curb takeovers or acquisitions of Indian companies during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The Ministry revised its Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy intending to curb takeovers or acquisitions of Indian companies during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. According to reports, there is a rising concern across the globe that Chinese companies are investing in those firms that have been severely hit in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
April 20, 2020 – Mercom Communications India hosted a webinar on the key trends in the renewable energy market, with a focus on the Indian solar sector. It included findings from across the supply chain to understand how the solar industry in the country is tackling the global COVID-19 pandemic. Anand Kumar, Secretary of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), and Jatindra Nath Swain, Chairman and Managing Director of the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), participated as the guest speakers for the session.
April 20, 2020 – The Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has introduced an innovative plan calling on all its consumers to make payment in advance towards their estimated electricity bills up to March 2021. The customers can pay to the extent they can through digital modes and earn interest @1% per month on the advance payment. The DISCOM has stated that it has received an advance payment of ₹350 million ($4.61 million) in less than a week. PSPCL also issued a notice stating that given the ensuing COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown imposed in the country, the activity of taking readings for the domestic, commercial, and small power industrial consumers have been suspended.
April 17, 2020 – As the country fights against the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak by staying home, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced the second round of monetary measures to help boost the economy which has come to a standstill during the lockdown. The RBI governor Shaktikanta Das said that the fixed reverse repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) has been reduced by 25 basis points (bps) from 4% to 3.75% with immediate effect.
April 17, 2020 – The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has issued an advisory saying that the power energy departments and distribution companies (DISCOMs) in three states should consider permitting rollover of banked electricity as the power demand has plummeted in recent weeks. The three states are Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu.
April 16, 2020 – As the country enters the extended lockdown period to arrest the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued its revised guidelines allowing selected additional activities to keep the wheels of the economy turning. The new guidelines will come into effect from April 20, 2020. India’s lockdown has now been extended to May 3, 2020. In a big respite to the renewable industry, the construction of renewable energy projects will now be allowed from April 20th.
April 15, 2020 – The Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC) for the state of Goa and union territories (UTs) has reduced the late payment surcharge (LPS) from 2% to 1% per month. JERC has also asked the distribution companies (DISCOMs) to extend the due date for the payment of electricity bills (including those already raised) where the deadlines fall between March 24, 2020, and June 30, 2020, by another two weeks without any late payment surcharge.
April 14, 2020 – The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has reiterated its guidelines asking the authorities of states and union territories (UTs) to adhere to its instructions after noting that they were not appropriately followed in some parts of the country.
April 14, 2020 – Considering the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and the repercussions it has had on several services, including power supply, the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) has announced rebates and incentives on power bills raised between March 24, 2020, to June 30, 2020.
April 13, 2020 – Even with all the relief provided, many DISCOMs, including those in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Andhra Pradesh, have been refusing to pay the power generators claiming their inability to collect power dues from the consumers. On the other hand, the DISCOMs’ claim of force majeure (Coronavirus outbreak) for not paying generators has been rejected by the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI).
April 13, 2020 – Due to the ongoing lockdown as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) has provisionally reduced the rate of late payment surcharge (LPS) to 6% per annum if the due date falls between March 24, 2020, and June 30, 2020.
April 09, 2020 – At times like these, companies and other establishments make the best use of existing technological resources. Good examples for these are mobile applications (apps) and the internet. Mercom has listed out new Indian solar and power-related applications and services, and also the status of the existing ones.
April 09, 2020 – To tackle the unprecedented challenges posed by the outbreak of Coronavirus, the Madhya Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (MPERC) has reduced the rate of current late payment surcharge (LPS) to be paid by the state’s distribution companies to power generators and inter-state transmission licensees by 0.50% per month. Last week, Madhya Pradesh Power Management Company Limited (MPPMCL), had said that the spread of the Coronavirus and the subsequent nationwide lockdown is an unforeseen situation and should be treated as a force majeure event.
April 09, 2020 – The total corporate funding in the solar sector, which includes venture capital funding, public market, and debt financing has plummeted by 31% at $1.9 billion (~₹143.4 billion) in Q1 2020 as compared $2.8 billion (~₹211.35 billion) raised in Q1 of 2019. This downturn in funding activity can be attributed to lower venture capital, and public market financing as the COVID-19 pandemic has affected people and industries across the globe.
April 09, 2020 – The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) has released a new report which analyzes how COVID-19 is impacting the global wind industry, including India. According to GWEC’s report, “When the COVID-19 crisis was first reported in China, disrupting China’s wind supply chain, large western turbine producers began shifting their supply chain by using their Indian facilities as a solution to mitigate the expected damages caused by COVID-19 at their production facilities in China.
April 08, 2020 – As the solar sector resets its strategies to cope with derailed businesses due to the COVID-19 outbreak, it is unclear how long it will take for normalcy to return. Will the lockdown continue or be lifted? Will the industry across the board start operations, or will it be up in phases? What restrictions are going in place under the new normal? These are questions that the sector is trying to figure out.
April 08, 2020 – Due to the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the prevalent situation because of the subsequent lockdown, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) with the approval of the Union Minister of Power, has decided to extend the deadlines for approved list of models and manufacturers (ALMM) List 1 (solar PV modules) and ALMM List-II (solar PV cells) by six months from March 31, 2020, to September 30, 2020.
April 08, 2020 – Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has allowed Prayatna Developers Pvt. Ltd, to inject solar power into the grid with immediate effect. The PSPCL had issued a force majeure notice several days ago, stating that it has been forced to curtail power purchase and generation due to the ongoing nationwide lockdown.
April 08, 2020 – The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) is allowing additional time for the power generators to file tariff petitions as refipef from the disruption caused bo the Coronavirus pandemic. The Commission has relaxed the provisions and permitted the generating companies to file the tariff petitions along with the truing up petitions for the 2019-24 period by June 30, 2020, where tariff orders for 2014-19 have been issued.
April 07, 2020 – The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has reiterated that the “must-run” status of renewable energy projects remains unchanged during the COVID-19 lockdown period and curtailment or renewables other than for grid safety reasons would amount to deemed generation.
April 07, 2020 – The Ministry of Power has issued a clarification regarding letters of credit (LoC) to be given by distribution companies (DISCOMs). It stated that DISCOMs are expected to deposit LoCs for 50% of the cost of power they want to be scheduled, while the remaining 50% will have to be paid within 45 days of the presentation of the bill or as specified in the power purchase agreement. If the payment is not made as specified, the late payment surcharge will apply. “Due to this (COVID-19 pandemic), many consumers of the distribution companies (DISCOMs) are unable to pay their dues. This has critically affected the liquidity position of the DISCOMs, thereby impairing their ability to make timely payments of generating and transmission companies and maintaining a Letter of Credit,” stated the directive then.
April 06, 2020 – The Andhra Pradesh Southern Power Distribution Company Limited (APSPDCL) is the latest addition to the group of power distribution companies (DISCOMs) seeking refuge under the force majeure clause following the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent nationwide lockdown. The DISCOM stated that this force majeure event had affected its ability to perform its obligations under its power purchase agreement (PPA), and therefore, no cause of action for breach of liability may arise from it. It added that it was unable to determine how long the force majeure will continue because of the uncertainty of present circumstances.
April 06, 2020 – The Punjab State Transmission Corporation Limited (PSTCL) has announced the curtailment of power under force majeure clause (outbreak of COVID-19) from the projects generating renewable energy until the pandemic lasts. The corporation has instructed the renewable generators to discontinue their generating facilities immediately from the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) and PSTCL systems until the COVID-19 epidemic lasts.
April 06, 2020 – Given the ongoing lockdown in the country caused by Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Central Electricity of Regulatory Commission (CERC) has reduced the rate for late payment surcharge (LPS) payable by distribution companies (DISCOMs) power generators. The LPS is now reduced to 12% per annum from the earlier 18% if the due date falls between March 24, 2020, and June 30, 2020.
April 06, 2020 – Amid the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in India, the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has decided to defer implementing the real-time power market (RPM) until June 1, 2020. The real-time market is a platform widely used across the world to integrate renewable energy, and establishing one in India is expected to not only facilitate the smooth integration of variable renewable but also bring greater market efficiency and enable better resource utilization in the country.
April 06, 2020 – The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has issued a memorandum addressing problems that domestic renewable energy generating stations are facing while invoicing for renewable energy supplied amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The MNRE said it received several notifications regarding invoicing difficulties from renewable energy generating stations in issuing physical copies of invoices under current circumstances.
April 03, 2020 – The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy’s (MNRE) decision to mandate the implementation of the approved list of models and manufacturers (ALMM) for government projects starting March 31, 2020, may not be feasible, say several solar module manufacturers. The industry has written to the MNRE asking for the implementation of ALMM to be extended to at least June 30, 2021, citing the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, among other issues.
April 03, 2020 – The Ministry of Shipping has issued a notice to major ports in the country with directions to deal with issues arising due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The Ministry, in its notice, directed all major ports to ensure that no penalties, demurrage (charges to be paid to the owner of a chartered ship on failure to load or discharge the ship within the time agreed), charges, fees, or rentals are imposed on traders, shipping lines, concessionaires, licensees or other port users for any delays due to the lockdown in the country.
April 02, 2020 – The Solar Power Developers Association (SPDA) and the Indian Renewable Energy Alliance (IREA) have written letters to the Government of India requesting necessary relief for renewable energy generators in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic to ensure that the industry continues to generate power during the period.
April 02, 2020 – The Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has issued a ‘force majeure’ notice stating that it has been forced to curtail power purchase and generation due to the ongoing nationwide lockdown. In an email notice, the state distribution company (DISCOM) informed Prayatna Developers Private Limited, a solar power special purpose vehicle (SPV) of Adani Power Limited, that due to a load crash, it is unable to procure power because of the force majeure event (COVID-19 outbreak). It stated that this notice, effective immediately, would hold for as long as the pandemic lasts. The PSPCL added that any power injected into its system would be at the cost and risk of the developer.
April 02, 2020 – The Coronavirus outbreak has created an unprecedented situation with the country in a state of complete lockdown declared by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) from March 24, 2020, to April 14, 2020. The Madhya Pradesh Power Management Company Limited (MPPMCL), in its letter, has said that the spread of the Coronavirus and the subsequent nationwide lockdown is an unforeseen situation and should be treated as a force majeure event.
April 02, 2020 – The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has issued a clarification regarding the payment to renewable energy generating stations during the moratorium provided to distribution companies (DISCOMs) by the Ministry of Power (MoP). In the clarification notice, the MNRE has granted a ‘must-run’ status to renewable energy generating stations and this status will remain unchanged throughout the lockdown period.
April 01, 2020 – With the country under lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) has requested all state distribution companies (DISCOMs) and agencies to allow submission of invoices digitally. According to SECI, the submission of digital invoices will make it feasible to release the payment to developers, making their projects sustainable.
April 01, 2020 – The Ministry of Power has issued some important directions to the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) in public interest. The Commission may specify a reduced rate of LPS, which is delayed beyond a period of 45 days (from the date of the presentation of the bill) from March 24, 2020, to June 30, 2020, to generating companies and licensees. The LPS will be applicable for delayed payments until June 30, 2020, and the surcharge should not be more than the cost the generating companies or transmission licensees would have to bear because of the delayed payment. For generating companies and transmission licensees whose tariffs were determined by the central Commission, DISCOMs may claim relief from its obligations regarding the rate at which the late payment surcharge is to be paid, in line with the force majeure provisions.
April 01, 2020 – The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) issued a letter to the Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) stating that its claim of ‘force majeure’ for its inability to pay its dues was not valid. Earlier, the UPPCL had issued a notice that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic affected its ability to perform its obligations under its power purchase agreements and that it should not be held liable for any breaches arising because of the force majeure event.
April 01, 2020 – The Directorate General of Shipping (DGS), Mumbai, has issued an advisory to shipping lines asking them not to impose any container detention charges on import shipments at Indian seaports to maintain proper supply lines in these turbulent times. This advisory will be in effect from March 25, 2020, to April 7, 2020.
March 31, 2020 – The Ministry of Power has directed the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) to provide a moratorium of three months to DISCOMs to make payments to the generating companies and transmission licensees and not levy any penalties for late payments. The Ministry has also requested the state governments to issue similar directions to state electricity regulatory commissions (SERCs). This announcement will hit the solar, wind, and other clean energy companies hard. Many DISCOMs are known to curtail solar and wind power and delay payments sometimes for over six months, even when things were good. The government, instead of ensuring payments, has instead punished them by bailing DISCOMs out at the expense of generators. This will lead to cash flow issues for generators, which will trickle down.
March 31, 2020 – March witnessed a significant drop in trading volume of solar as well as non-solar renewable energy certificates (RECs). As the country fights the outbreak of Coronavirus. Markets all around the globe are feeling the repercussions of the pandemic in the form of subdued market activity. The non-solar clearing price came spiraling down to the floor price of ₹1,000 (~$13.25) on both the exchanges. Even though this is the end of the financial year 2019-20, the market didn’t see any demand that could fuel the market sentiment.
March 31, 2020 – Following the lockdown order, all the distribution companies (DISCOMs) operating in the state of Uttar Pradesh are faced with an imposing challenge of a substantial reduction in collections. According to a notice released by the Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL), the massive disruption in economic activity due to the lockdown is likely to affect a significant proportion of consumers’ capacity to pay electricity bills on time. The DISCOMs are trying to help consumers meet the challenge with a campaign for promoting online payments and offering discounts for timely payments. DISCOMs are the first in the value chain to be affected by the cash flow crunch being faced by the public and communities. Eventually, there will be a ripple effect reaching the upstream utilities in the power sector value chain.
March 31, 2020 – The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has rescheduled implementing the fifth amendment of deviation settlement regulations from April 1, 2020, to June 1, 2020.The present regulations (Regulation 7) will now be valid until May 31, 2020. The move comes in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak in the country. Referring to the website of Power System Operation Corporation Limited (POSOCO), the Commission stated that in the wake of the pandemic, electricity demand is expected to fall sharply in the coming days.
March 30, 2020 – Considering the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), which has severely affected the economy, the Ministry of Power (MoP) has issued a directive which states that the power may be scheduled even if the payment security mechanism (PSM) is reduced by 50% against the initial contract. The order will be valid until June 30, 2020. “Due to this (COVID-19 pandemic), many consumers of the distribution companies (DISCOMs) are unable to pay their dues. This has critically affected the liquidity position of the DISCOMs, thereby impairing their ability to make timely payments of generating and transmission companies and maintaining Letter of Credit,” states the circular.
March 27, 2020 – As the country grapples with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced that the repo rate has been reduced by 75 basis points (bps) to 4.4%. The RBI Governor Shakti anta Das added that the fixed-rate reverse repo rate has also been reduced by 90 basis points to 4%. The fixed-rate reverse repo rate sets the floor of the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) corridor. LAF is used to help banks adjust the mismatches in liquidity by enabling them to quickly borrow money in case of any emergency.
March 27, 2020 – The Coronavirus pandemic is proving to be the solar industry’s biggest challenge this year, and the repercussions are being felt across industries all over the globe. Global supplies have been severely affected. The disruption has spread much farther than China because of the scale at which the country’s manufacturing operates. Indian solar project developers are concerned about the delays their projects might face because of the production slowdown in China and the lockdown orders in India, which are in effect until April 14, 2020.
March 27, 2020 – The Secretary of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy stated that all renewable energy projects currently under implementation would be given an extension of time in light of the ongoing lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The duration of the lockdown and the time required to remobilize the workforce will also be taken into consideration while granting the extension.
March 27, 2020 – Amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the office of the Principal Commissioner of Customs (ACC-Import) issued a notice stating that late fee charge will not be levied on those bills of entry on the import general manifests (IGMs) that are filed between March 21 to 31, 2020, or filed late on or before April 3, 2020.
March 27, 2020 – Because of the ongoing lockdown due to coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the Ministry of Home Affairs issued an order that all offices of the government of India, its autonomous and subordinate offices and public corporations will remain closed except certain essential services, including power generation and transmission units. Further, the ministry stated that to maintain uninterrupted power supply across states, power generation (including renewable power generation) is designated as an essential service.
March 26, 2020 – The Supreme Court of India had indefinitely extended the period of limitation on filing petitions, applications, suits, appeals, and other proceedings at courts and tribunals across the country in light of the present circumstance caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Further, the court said it had taken Suo-moto cognizance of the challenges faced by the country on account of the existing limitations. Still, it has decided to extend the restriction period, which will be declared on March 15, 2020.
March 24, 2020 – In the wake of the deadly Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, which has affected the global economy, India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced relief measures for taxpayers and businesses as the country is fighting to curb the pandemic. The relief measures were announced, especially on statutory and regulatory compliance matters related to several sectors. Many renewable companies who are affected will likely get some relief as they face a tough few months ahead.
March 23, 2020 – Considering the adverse impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the global economy, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has issued an official memorandum which states that the time extension in scheduled commissioning of renewable projects due to the disruption of supply chains will be treated as a ‘force majeure’ event.
February 20, 2020 – Amid increasing doubt on the supply chains due to the spread of deadly Coronavirus in China, the Ministry of Finance (Department of Expenditure Procurement Policy Division) issued a clarification that Coronavirus will be covered in the force majeure clause and should be considered as a case of natural calamity. Further, the ministry has stated that this clause can be invoked wherever appropriate.
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