All states and ports in the country are expected to identify land parcels ranging between 50 and 500 acres in size in their regions that can be used to set up renewable energy manufacturing and export services hubs, according to a tweet by Anand Kumar, Secretary of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
This announcement comes amidst the global Coronavirus pandemic, which has taken a massive toll on the Indian solar industry. At times like this, any government initiative to give the struggling industry a boost is welcome. Industry stakeholders, in their responses to the tweet, seemed to agree that this move was a step in the right direction.
In a separate tweet, the secretary also announced that the MNRE would provide full support to companies that have plans to expand or set up their base in India for manufacturing or the export of services in the renewable energy sector.
This announcement follows MNRE’s recent decision to push implementing the approved list of models and manufacturers (ALMM) mandate by six months from March 31, 2020, to September 30, 2020.
Solar equipment manufacturers were unhappy with some of the requirements of the ALMM, including the harsh fee structures which seemed to punish and hamper technological innovation. Manufacturers also complained that the implementation dates were not feasible because of the global pandemic. The extension was seen as an indication of the government’s support in these times.
The government has been trying to promote local manufacturing under the “Make in India” program. In the solar sector, the largest auction concluded early this year with Adani and Azure winning the bid to develop 2,000 MW of projects with 500 MW of manufacturing capacity each. The winning tariff quoted by both the companies was ₹2.92 (~$0.04)/kWh. The tender also had a greenshoe option, where the companies could opt for an additional capacity to both develop and manufacture. Adani, under the greenshoe option, offered an additional capacity of 1,500 MW solar cell and module manufacturing and 6 GW generation. With this, Adani’s total allocation comes to 2,000 MW of solar cell and module manufacturing and 8 GW of generation capacity.
Earlier, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy opened an Industry and Investors’ Facilitation Centre, which would work as a focal point to provide all the information regarding programs and policies of the government and resolve issues related to renewable energy investors and industry.
The Coronavirus pandemic is proving to be the solar industry’s biggest challenge this year, especially for the solar industry, which is heavily dependent on imported components. This has set the government to plan on developing a conducive environment for domestic manufacturing. The government has been taking various measures to reduce the negative impact on the industry. To track the initiatives taken by the government to fight the economic repercussions of the pandemic in the renewable industry, click here.
Nithin is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Previously with Reuters News, he has covered oil, metals and agricultural commodity markets across global markets. He has also covered refinery and pipeline explosions, oil and gas leaks, Atlantic region hurricane developments, and other natural disasters. Nithin holds a Masters Degree in Applied Economics from Christ University, Bangalore and a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce from Loyola College, Chennai.