The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has issued an important notification which states that the government will soon issue a list of solar manufacturers and models that will be utilized in government-owned projects and those set up for the sale of electricity to the government.
According to this order, the MNRE will enlist the eligible models and manufacturers of solar PV cells and modules complying with the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and publish it as a list named, “Approved List of Models and Manufacturers (ALMM)”.
This approved list will consist of LIST-I specifying models and manufacturers of solar PV modules and LIST-II specifying models and manufacturers of solar PV cells. The list will be in effect from March 31, 2020.
After March 31, 2020, all government-owned solar projects and others set up for the sale of electricity to the government will be required to procure components from these enlisted vendors. The MNRE has also specified that after March 31, 2020, all solar module manufacturers listed in LIST-I must procure solar cells from manufacturers listed in LIST-II.
To prevent the sector from being adversely affected by this decision, the MNRE has stated that all solar PV projects for which bids have been finalized prior to issuance of this order will be exempt from the mandatory procurement requirement. The ministry has also decided that solar projects for which bids have not been finalized before this order, will be allowed to procure outside the ALMM list up to March 31, 2020.
For being eligible to be enlisted in the ALMM, manufacturers must get BIS certification done. Enlistment will be valid for a two-year period and can be renewed by submitting necessary documents and satisfactory performance of products.
Rallying for BIS certification, the MNRE had issued a memorandum in December 2018, concerning the importance of following BIS certification when it comes to quality of solar modules. According to the memorandum, “The lenders involved in financing solar PV power projects must insist for BIS certification regarding quality of solar modules and not whether the supply of solar modules is from the Bloomberg Tier-I List.”
Prior to inclusion in the ALMM, a MNRE team will inspect the manufacturing facility to conduct production and sale audit of the firm. Enlisted models and manufacturers will be subjected to random quality tests and failure or non-compliance will lead to removal from ALMM.
This order from MNRE also comes on the heels of another government notification regarding the implementation of public procurement in renewable energy sector, giving preference to ‘Make in India’ products. Recently, the MNRE issued an order stating, “For the grid-connected solar PV projects developed by central ministries, departments, and central public sector undertaking (PSU), the order prescribes preference to be given to domestically manufactured solar PV modules and other components such as inverters. Of this, solar PV modules have to be 100 percent locally manufactured and inverters have to be at least 40 percent locally manufactured. Under the decentralized solar power category, the requirement of local content in solar street lights, solar home lighting systems, solar power packs/micro grid, solar water pumps, inverters, batteries, and any other solar PV balance of system is 70 percent.”