Month in a Minute_ Top Headlines from India’s Renewable Sector in October 2020

Here is a recap of some of the most important headlines from October 2020:

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) extended the exemption for the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) certification for solar module manufacturers with a production capacity of less than 50 MW. The exemption will now last as long as the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) certification for their products is valid.

The deadline for implementing the approved list of models and manufacturers (ALMM) has passed, and the industry is still in limbo. There’s no update yet on the new deadline as the previous deadline of September 30, 2020, has passed. The industry is also waiting for clarity on the implementation process as the pandemic will be affecting regulations mandating inspection of facilities in India and outside.

The MNRE issued tariff-based competitive bidding guidelines for power procurement from grid-connected solar-wind hybrid projects. Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) would be the nodal agency for implementing these guidelines. Projects will be canceled if SECI cannot enter into a power sale agreement to sell the power from these projects awarded within six months from the issue of the letter of award.

Mercom published an article on how the ongoing COVID-19 crisis has accentuated the need to automate and digitalize practices and processes in the renewable energy sector. There is enormous potential for the industry to adopt smarter solutions to increase efficiency and decrease delays through and post-pandemic.

India’s power supply deficit narrowed down to 0.3% in the first half of the financial year 2020-2021, according to data from the Central Electricity Authority (CEA). This was an improvement from the same period last year, which saw a 0.5% deficit.

ReNew Power, an Indian independent power producer, has raised around $325 million through overseas green bonds. According to Mercom’s sources, the company offered its overseas green bonds at a 5.375% rate, with a maturity period of three-and-a-half-years.

Sales of off-grid solar products in India fell by 50% in the first half of 2020 compared to the second half of 2019. The sales were also down 59% compared to the first half of 2019, said the latest report published by the Global Off-grid Lighting Association (GOGLA).

Global corporate funding (including venture capital funding, public market, and debt financing) for the battery storage, smart grid, and energy efficiency sectors was up 165% in the third quarter of 2020 (Q3 2020) at about $3.2 billion, according to Mercom Capital Group’s latest report. This was a steep increase from the previous quarter, which saw $1.2 billion in funding.

Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft pledged $10 million in funding to Indian solar energy company Avaada Energy Private Limited.

According to the latest trade data, India’s solar imports were 77% lower than the same period last year, which saw $598.1 million (~₹42.2 billion) of imports. However, solar imports rose to $140.1 million (~₹10.4 billion) in Q3 2020, a 102% increase from the previous quarter’s $69.2 million (~₹5.3 billion).

Mumbai-based power transmission company Sterlite Power secured the financial closure for its Vapi II North Lakhimpur Transmission Limited. Sterlite said that the total debt funding of ₹20.7 billion (~$281 million) came from Power Finance Corporation Limited. The project is expected to supply renewable energy from solar, nuclear, and hydropower sources to India’s western and northeastern regions.

In October, SECI paid ₹70.8 million (~$966,632) to solar and wind developers against GST claims and safeguard duty reimbursement. Lender and developers are concerned about SECI’s financials.

Residential rooftop solar developers welcomed the Ministry of Power’s move to penalize distribution licensees (DISCOMs) for any delay in rooftop solar systems’ net-metering connection agreement.

A recently-released survey by Smart Power India and NITI Aayog suggests that nearly 87% of the country’s population has access to grid-based electricity, while 13% either use non-grid sources for electricity and lighting or don’t use any electricity at all.

Adani Green Energy Limited announced that it has added 205 MW of operational solar projects worth ₹16.32 billion (~$222.9 million) to the portfolio of its joint venture with French oil and gas major TOTAL.

Wind Installations in India were up about 117% in the third quarter of 2020 (Q3 2020), with about 295 MW of installations compared to the previous quarter’s 136 MW, according to data from the MNRE.

CLP Wind Farms (India) said it raised ₹2.96 billion (~$40.51 million) through its green bonds.

Distribution companies across the country owed renewable generators ₹109.08 billion (~$1.49 billion) in overdue payments (excluding dues under disputes) spread across 497 invoices at the end of August, as per the data released by the Ministry of Power’s payment ratification and analysis portal PRAAPTI.

A report by the independent think tank – International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)- claims that Jharkhand’s wealthier homes enjoy more than twice the amount of power subsidies than poor households.

Mercom Capital Group’s latest 9M and Q3 2020 Solar Funding and M&A Report showed that total corporate funding – including venture capital (VC) funding, public market, and debt financing jumped 43% during the third quarter of 2020 to $3.2 billion (₹234.2 billion) from $2.3 billion (₹169.3 billion) in the previous quarter.

The Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV) reported the registration of high-speed electric two-wheelers (E-2W) stood at 2,544 units in September 2020, a 72% year-on-year increase compared to 1,473 units sold in the same month last year.

More than 114 consumers have installed rooftop solar systems across Goa. Many of these connections are under the net-metering arrangement.

The Andhra Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (APERC) announced a new tariff of ₹2.95 (~$0.039)/kWh for 400 MW of solar projects in Ananthapuram II ultra-mega solar park that were supplying power since March 2019. These proposed were developed by Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Company (APGENCO). A tariff of ₹3.57 (~$0.048)/kWh was proposed by APGENCO and the Andhra Pradesh Solar Power Corporation Limited (APSPCL) back in 2017. They have been paying ₹3.50 (~$0.047)/kWh since the commercial operation date of the project was declared in March 2019 and continued with the same tariff while the application was being processed.