SECI Invites Expression of Interest to Set Up Solar Manufacturing

The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) has invited an Expression of Interest (EoI) from prospective manufacturers to set up an integrated solar manufacturing facility in India within a three-year time-frame. The total capacity to be set up is 20 GW and the last date of EoI submission is January 11, 2018.

This move by the SECI assumes significance as it shows how the implementing and policy-making agencies are learning from experience. Within a fortnight, the MNRE has provided the Indian solar market with an adequate push and visibility for the next few years, both in terms of manufacturing and project development.

The selected manufacturers will be given assured solar projects to be developed by them in a phased manner. The allocation of solar power capacity will be through an open tender to be floated by the SECI.

Manufacturers planning to participate must be willing to set up vertically integrated solar PV module manufacturing facility in India that would include ingots, wafers, cells, and modules. The prospective manufacturers will be allowed to form joint ventures/consortiums with other entities. Existing manufacturers of solar cells and modules, who intend to set up integrated facilities and are planning to expand their capacity will also be eligible to participate.

The phasing of manufacturing capacity to be set up is 12 months (tentative) for modules and cells and 18 months for wafers and ingots from the date of issue of the Letter of Intent (LoI).

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) also intends to launch a program where Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) for 20 GW of solar PV capacities will be allocated on an open-tender basis to the prospective manufacturers.

This will ensure that modules, cells, and ingots produced at these manufacturing units are duly utilized in solar projects. The government has begun to realize the importance of domestic manufacturing units and their pivotal role in ensuring the success of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship project ‘Make in India.’

MNRE recently unveiled a clean energy rollout trajectory that will require setting up solar power projects of 77 GW capacity by 2020 with an approximate investment of ₹3,500 billion (~$54.56 billion).

MNRE also released a concept note of a proposal to build out India’s manufacturing supply chain. In the note, MNRE proposed a slew of subsidies and incentives including direct financial support of more than ₹110 billion (~$1.7 billion) for manufacturers to expand and upgrade, a 12 GW Central Public-Sector Undertaking (CPSU) Domestic Content Requirement (DCR) program to create robust domestic demand, an annual increase in the DCR requirement for modules to polysilicon from 2018 to 2022, 30 percent central financial assistance, cheaper loans, a customs duty exemption, and cheaper power.