Rooftop rebound: India’s residential rooftop solar could be attaining critical mass as installations jumped 517% this quarter compared to last year | Photo: Bloomberg NEF

2021 to be the second-largest year for India’s rooftop solar after 2018?

A spike in residential rooftop solar installations increased the overall rooftop solar capacity by 53%. It was recorded to be 521 MW in the April-June 2021 quarter compared to 341 MW installed in the January-March period. Mercom reported that it was the highest capacity addition in a quarter, despite the COVID-19 second wave, as the Gujarat lockdowns were more targeted. On a year-on-year basis, installations were up 517% compared to the 85 MW installed in the same quarter last year. 

In April-June, Gujarat accounted for the highest installation at 55%, followed by Maharashtra and Haryana. By June, India’s rooftop capacity jumped to 210% at 862MW compared to 2020. Installations have already surpassed the total rooftop solar capacity installed in all of 2020 (719 MW), Mercom reported. Average rooftop system costs increased 3% to Rs39 per million/MW compared to Rs38 million/MW in the first quarter of 2021. According to the report, even with rising costs, solar remains cheaper than non-renewable retail power tariffs.

DISCOMs get solar companies to reduce tariffs

Tariffs of manufacturing linked solar projects have been reduced to ₹2.54 (~$0.034)/kWh from ₹2.92 (~$0.04)/k after DISCOMs refused to buy power at the rate discovered during auction. Solar Electricity Corporation of India (SECI) managed to secure reduced tariffs from successful bidders Adani and Azure. SECI will sign the Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with the companies once the Power Sale Agreements (PSAs) are signed with the DISCOMs. 

Meanwhile, SECI is set to sign PSAs for 3GW of solar projects. It has already signed a PSA with Grid Corporation of Odisha (GRIDCO) for 500 MW, has finalised a PSA with the Chhattisgarh DISCOM for 300 MW, and the Tamil Nadu DISCOM is likely to buy 1 GW from SECI. SECI is also in discussions to sell the remaining 1,200 MW. The PSAs will be signed with Tamil Nadu DISCOM TANGEDCO at ₹2.61 (~$0.035)/kWh, which includes a trading margin of ₹0.07 (~$0.0009)/kWh.

17 firms including Reliance, Tata, Adani eye Rs 4.500 cr subsidy for solar manufacturing

Adani, Reliance, Tata are among the 19 firms eyeing the Centre’s 4,500 cr production linked incentive to set up solar manufacturing units in India. The target under the scheme is to add 10,000 MW manufacturing capacity of integrated solar PV modules entailing direct investment of Rs 17,200 crore. According to the agencies RIL, Adani Group, First Solar, Shirdi Sai and Jindal Poly have applied for manufacturing polysilicon (stage-I), wafer (stage-II) and cells and modules (stage-III & IV). L&T, Coal India Ltd (CIL), ReNew and Cubic have bid for Stage II, III and IV. Acme, Avaada, Megha Engineering, Vikram Solar, Tata, Waree, Premier, Emmvee and Jupiter have plans for stage III and IV (cell, modules).

The PLI will be disbursed for 5 years post commissioning of solar PV manufacturing plants, on sales of high efficiency solar PV modules. The PLI money will increase with increased module efficiency and increased local value addition.

Gujarat govt sued over cancelled solar subsidy, moves high court

A Gujarat businessman sued the state government over its decision to withdraw solar subsidy policy for Development of Small Scale Distributed Solar Project, 2019. The Gujarat high court issued notice to the authorities after Mahisagar district businessman Ramanlal Patel moved court saying he invested in land, equipment and services to establish the solar project because of the subsidy policy. His unit was classified as a micro enterprise. But the government withdrew the policy for the MSMEs, which he said was illegal.

India: Anti-dumping duty likely on Chinese flat-rolled aluminium used in solar installations

India’s Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) recommended an anti-dumping duty on Chinese flat-rolled aluminium used in solar module mounting structures to compensate for the injury caused due to dumping in the Indian market. The investigation was conducted for the period from April 01, 2019 to March 31, 2020. The petitioner, Hindalco, moved the plea for investigation. Hindalco’s production share is approximately 71% of the total Indian production. Out of the total production of aluminum products in China, about 16% (or close to 2 million MT) is meant for exports, including India.

UK to release £265m in subsidies for renewable energy developers

In its “biggest-ever” renewable support scheme, the UK government set aside a £265 million subsidy for renewable energy developers. The Guardian reported that offshore wind developers will get contracts worth up to £200 million a year, and onshore wind and solar farms will get their first subsidies in more than five years. Tidal projects will get a subsidy worth £55 million of which £24 million will be earmarked for floating offshore wind farms. Onshore solar and wind projects will get £10 million.