Export of solar equipment, mainly solar PV modules, made locally (actually assembled, as the silica ingot is imported from China) rose to ₹8,440 crore (around $1.03 billion) in FY2023 compared to ₹1,819 crore in FY2022. The demand from the USA spiked after the country restricted imports of modules from China. The exports to the USA accounted for 97% of the total solar PV module exports from India in FY2023, reported the PV magazine. India in 2021 allocated Rs 4,500 cr production linked incentive (PLI) for domestically manufactured high efficiency Solar PV modules (PLI did not mandate use of local raw materials and components). .
The OEMs benefited from the higher realizations in the export markets than in the domestic market. Solar PV modules made the bulk of the exports, while PV cell exports was only 0.1% in FY2023. Exports remain strong in FY 2024 with the first two months witnessing solar PV module and cell exports of INR 2,457 crore against INR 130 crore in the corresponding period of FY2023. Future exports will remain subject to US-China trade relations and the development of domestic module manufacturing units in the USA which is expected to grow under subsidies provided by the recent Inflation Reduction Act. However, according to Bhupinder Bhalla, Secy, MNRE India will have solar module manufacturing capacity of 100 GW per annum by by 2026.
8.5 GW of solar parks completed under govt support scheme
India sanctioned 50 solar parks of cumulative 37.99 GW capacity so far under its scheme for “Development of Solar Parks and Ultra-Mega Solar Power Projects,” the government informed Parliament. Of the sanctioned capacity, eleven solar parks of total 8.521 GW have been completed and seven totaling 3.985 GW partially completed. In these parks, 10,237 MW of solar projects have been developed, reported the PV magazine.
The government scheme is valid up to March 31, 2026 under which centre helps the States and union territories setting up solar parks at various locations. According to the report, the solar parks come with developed land, environmental and other clearances, transmission systems, water access, road connectivity, communication network, etc. The state government identifies the land and makes it available. Centre grants up to Rs 25 lakh per solar park for the preparation of the detailed project report and another Rs 20 lakh per MW or 30% of the project cost, including grid connectivity cost, whichever is lower.
Research from IEEFA points out that India lacks planning in optimal use of land for renewable power, adding that to meet 2050 targets it must plan now keeping land use to minimum and going for offshore wind, rooftop solar and floating solar, incentivise tenders for sites without conflicts and back distributed renewable energy.
India’s hydropower restarts as floods recede yet more rain looms
Hydropower projects in flood-hit India’s Himalayan states are slowly coming back online even as weather agencies predict more “heavy to very heavy rainfall” this week, Bloomberg reported adding that public and private hydro projects are operating again after being clogged by silt from the floods, but “nearly 1.6 gigawatts (GW) of capacity” remained offline, as of Sunday. While India “sees hydropower as vital to its energy transition, environmental and social challenges have slowed capacity additions and boosted costs, the report added. The report pointed out that the infrastructure we’re building in the path of a furious river can in no way be a disaster-resilient infrastructure.
Europe stockpiling solar panels, modules; imports from China surge to record levels
According to new assessment from Rystad Energy, Chinese-manufactured solar panels are being imported by Europe and stored at unprecedented levels. Currently, solar panels of 40GW (direct current) capacity, worth about US$ 7 billion, currently sit in European warehouses, which is approximately the same amount installed in the continent in 2022. “Europe’s spending on solar imports has almost quadrupled in the last five years, surging from €5.5 billion in 2018 to more than €20 billion last year, while the supply source has become increasingly concentrated. An overwhelming €18.5 billion, equal to 91% of all PV import expenditure, was spent on Chinese products, as volatile panel prices impacted buying decisions,” says the energy research firm. The report has also pointed out that the trend has not peaked yet either, with y-o-y increases in import numbers in the first five months of 2023.