Stepping up: A government proposal that aims to back the manufacturing of high-efficiency solar PV modules in India and cut solar imports through incentives got final approval this fortnight | Photo: The Hindu

India approves $605 million production-linked incentive to boost manufacturing

The President of India approved the government’s proposal to implement ₹45 billion (~$605 million) production-linked incentive (PLI) to back the manufacturing of high-efficiency solar PV modules in India and cut solar imports. The Implementing Agency — the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) – will get 1% of the PLI amount disbursed as an annual fee. IREDA will also submit a progress report every quarter along with details of disbursement claims received for PLI and the amount disbursed.

Beneficiaries will be selected through a transparent bidding process. To qualify, the manufacturer will have to promise minimum integration across solar cells and modules. Higher capacity plants will get preference. A manufacturing plant of a minimum 1 GW capacity  should be proposed, and manufacturers will also have to meet the minimum module efficiency of 19.50%.

Covid-19 second wave to delay 4 GW of solar, wind projects under 3-4 months extension

Current covid-19 related lockdowns across the country are expected to delay commissioning of  solar projects. Experts said if the government grants solar developers a three- to four-month extension, an estimated 4 gigawatt (GW) of solar and wind projects will be delayed and will be expected to get commissioned in 2022. The Centre extended the deadline to sign PPAs for distributed solar projects to May 31, 2021, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Developers asked for a blanket project extension by four months. Experts also warned that companies might face a liquidity crunch because the rooftop solar market is expected to face payment issues with uncertainty looming over full or partial closure of manufacturing and business units. Experts said COVID-19 restrictions are going to impact site preparation, engineering, financing, procurement and construction of projects. 

India to set up integrated day ahead market at exchanges for RE and conventional power

India will set up an integrated day-ahead market (DAM) at the power exchanges with separate price formation for RE and fossil fuel power by June this year. The DAM is expected to unlock the untapped renewable energy potential. There will be a separate (G-DAM) green-day ahead market before the current day-ahead market along with separate products for different types of renewables, Mercom reported.

The government is also replacing the long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) by the medium-term, short-term, day ahead, intraday, and real-time markets where the day is divided into 96 time-blocks of 15 minutes each. Efforts are underway to fine-tune the blocks to five minutes in order to achieve highest accuracy of predictability.  

Today, power traded at exchanges make up for 5.5% of the total energy consumption in the grid. The sale of the Renewable energy certificate (REC) at the exchange helps companies meet their renewable purchase obligation (RPO). The Centre decided to launch the integrated DAM to offer the market multiple options in renewable energy, which will be competing against each other. 

Germany to expand renewables, increases 2030, 2040 climate targets

Germany agreed on higher tender volumes for next year’s wind and solar PV installations, reported Clean Energy Wire. The government will also propose to reduce emissions by 65% by 2030 (from the current goal of 55%). 

Germany’s finance minister Olaf Scholz said his government will introduce a new target of an 88% reduction by 2040. He said the government will expand the infrastructure because the country’s entire future economic performance depends on more renewable electricity. The court’s “cool ruling” had made possible “a new push”, Scholz said.

US solar industry releases guidelines to block solar imports produced from forced labour 

To rid America of solar imports built with forced labour, the US Solar Energy Industries Association issued voluntary guidelines to solar panel manufacturers. Some US lawmakers had flagged the issue of  polysilicon imports, linked to work camps in China’s Xinjiang region. China, the world’s largest maker of solar products, denied all accusations of abuse.

The guidelines did not mention China specifically, but recommended that rigorous descriptions and documentation be included with products as they proceed through factories and are shipped to the United States. Companies have been issued guidelines to identify the sources of a product’s input materials and trace their movements through the supply chain, Reuters reported. Solar companies have their implementation of the procedures audited by a third party.

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