Daily News Wrap-Up: ALMM Exemptions Leave Solar Industry Guessing

P2P Solar Energy Trading: An Innovative Approach Fraught with Challenges

February 15, 2024


The Approved List of Models and Manufacturers (ALMM) regulation will be back in force from April 1, 2024, with exemptions for projects set up under open access solar and those in advanced stages of construction and rooftop solar projects with no subsidy. Most stakeholders, however, have raised questions on the ambiguity around the definition of ‘advanced stages of construction,’ the phrase used by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) in the notification reviving the ALMM mandate. The MNRE has specified that the ALMM regulation will be relaxed for solar projects in advanced stages of construction that have placed module orders before March 31, 2024.

Consumers of electricity in a few Indian states could soon become ‘prosumers’ by installing rooftop solar and selling excess power generated directly to other consumers, but questions remain. The Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) recently released a draft proposal to enable peer-to-peer solar energy trading in the state using blockchain technology. KERC aims to implement this framework after consultations and has invited comments from stakeholders within 30 days. Karnataka isn’t alone; Delhi and Uttar Pradesh have also released draft proposals to facilitate peer-to-peer solar trading.

A new program to install rooftop solar systems on 10 million households across India will be called ‘PM Surya Ghar: Muft Bijli Yojana’ and will have an outlay of ₹750 billion (~$9.04 billion), Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in a post on the microblogging site X. The Prime Minister added in the post that the Union government will ensure there is no cost burden on the people and substantive subsidies with heavily concessional bank loans will be offered. “All stakeholders will be integrated into a National Online Portal, which will further convenience,” he said.

Mumbai-based rooftop solar company SolarSquare has acquired PV Diagnostics, a company with expertise in the utility-scale solar power sector, to significantly enhance the quality and efficiency of its residential solar installations throughout India. PV Diagnostics is a consultancy solutions provider in the solar industry, offering a range of services across the photovoltaic value chain. The company boasts an industry experience of 8 GW, having collaborated with leading renewable energy developers such as Tata Power, Adani, and Renew Power.

Renewable Power Corporation of Kerala, a joint venture of Kerala State Electricity Board and Solar Energy Corporation of India, has invited bids to select a project monitoring unit to assist in developing a 100 MW grid-connected ground-mounted solar power project at a proposed solar park in Kasaragod, Kerala. The last day to submit the bids is February 29, 2024. Bids will be opened on March 5. Bidders must submit ₹270,000 (~$3,250) as a bid bond. The selected bidder must submit 5% of the contract price as performance security within 14 days of issuing the letter of award.

Natural gas company Mahanagar Gas Limited has announced the acquisition of 30.97% shareholding in 3ev Industries, a three-wheeler electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer, for ₹960 million (~$11.56 million). The equity infusion, which is a part of the share subscription agreement between the companies, will be made in tranches, with the first tranche expected before the end of this month. 3ev is an EV original equipment manufacturer, which is based out of Bengaluru, offers end-to-end micro-mobility solutions, including hyperlocal services such as small-parcel deliveries and freight.

Himachal Pradesh Energy Development Agency has invited bids to empanel vendors for the rate contract to design, manufacture, supply, erect, test, and commission rooftop solar power projects of capacities ranging from 1 kW to 500 kW under the net metering and net billing program. The solar systems will be installed on the rooftops of domestic, government, institutional, or other buildings throughout the state of Himachal Pradesh. The scope of work also includes warranty, operation, and maintenance of the systems for five years.

THDC India has invited bids from consultants to prepare a detailed project report to develop the 1,292 MW Phase-I ultra mega solar power park within a 2 GW solar park in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. The project’s estimated cost is ₹10.17 million (~$122,416). The DPR should be submitted within 90 days of receiving the work order. The last day to submit the bids is February 20, 2024. Bids will be opened the next day. Bidders must furnish an earnest money deposit of ₹102,000 (~$1,227). Selected bidders must submit 5% of the contract value as a performance bank guarantee within 15 days after issuance of the letter of award.

Telecommunications service provider Bharti Airtel’s data center subsidiary Nxtra will procure 140 GWh of renewable energy every year for its data centers in Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, and Odisha. The company has partnered with AmpIn Energy and Amplus Energy to set up captive solar and wind power projects totaling 72.3 MWdc capacity to power its data centers under 25-year agreements and reduce carbon footprint by around 99,547 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year.

Energy storage technology and solutions provider Fluence Energy recorded a revenue of $364 million in the first quarter (Q1) of the fiscal year (FY) 2023-24, registering a 17% year-over-year (YoY) increase. This was attributed to the company’s contracted backlog and project pipeline. The recent quarter made it the ninth consecutive quarter where the volume of order intakes outpaced revenue due to the growth in utility-scale energy storage. The company reported a record intake of new orders amounting to $1.1 billion this quarter, with its solution business contracting 2.7 GWh, service business adding 2.3 GWh, and digital business adding another 400 MW of new contracts