Daily News Wrap-Up: Renewable Developers Hope for ISTS Charges Waiver Beyond June 2025

Coal India subsidiary tenders for 6.25 MW of solar projects in Jharkhand

August 14, 2023


The waiver of interstate transmission system (ISTS) charges for projects commissioned by June 30, 2025, has enthused commercial and industrial consumers to procure power from ISTS-connected solar projects. In March this year, the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission amended the CERC (Sharing of Inter-State Transmission Charges and Losses) Regulations, 2020, waiving ISTS charges for renewable energy and pumped hydroelectric projects beginning operations by June 30, 2025. The waiver of these charges lowers costs for developers translating to attractive tariffs for businesses procuring power from ISTS-connected open access solar projects.

Central Mine Planning & Design Institute, a subsidiary of Coal India, has invited bids for the construction of 6.25 MW of grid-connected solar project along with its operation and maintenance for five years. The project will be commissioned for Central Coalfields at various locations in Kathara in Bokaro, Jharkhand. The last date for submission of the bids is August 31, 2023. Bids will be opened on the next day. The project’s estimated value is ₹450.87 million (~$5.45 million).

Indian Oil Corporation has issued a tender to empanel turnkey contractors for engineering, procurement, and construction and operation and maintenance of large-scale solar, wind, and hybrid power projects. The empanelment will be for two years with a one-year extension provision. The last day to submit the bids is August 29, 2023. Bids will be opened on August 31.

The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission has proposed amendments to the Distributed Open Access Regulations, 2016, in line with the Ministry of Power’s Green Energy Open Access Rules. According to the proposed amendments, consumers who possess a contract demand or sanctioned load of 100 kW or greater or an entity that combines multiple connections amounting to 100 kW or more within the same electricity division of a distribution company (DISCOM) will have the opportunity to obtain power from renewable sources via open access.

Gujarat-based power company Torrent Power posted a profit after tax of ₹5.32 billion (~$64.3 million) for the first quarter (Q1) of financial year 2023-24, a year-over-year (YoY) increase of 6% due to an increase in contribution from merchant power sales in gas-based power projects, and contribution from licensed distribution businesses due to improved performance. The company’s revenue increased by 13% YoY to ₹73.28 billion (~$885.4 million). Torrent Power’s Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation, and Amortization (EBITDA) for the April-June quarter grew by 9% YoY to ₹12.7 billion (~$153.4 million).

Chennai Metro Rail has issued a tender for 5.74 MW rooftop solar projects at CMRL’s Phase 1 and Phase 1 Extension areas in the city. The project will be implemented under the renewable energy service company model. The last date for the submission of bids is September 11, 2023. Bids will be opened the next day. The scope of the work includes design, engineering, manufacturing, and supply to storage, civil construction, erection of appropriate structures, testing, and commissioning, as well as overseeing the operation and maintenance for 25 years.

Norwegian investment fund Norfund has announced an investment of ₹3.5 billion (~$42.26 million) in Fourth Partner Energy to support its renewables expansion in India. Separately, the International Finance Corporation announced an investment of ₹5.6 billion (~$67.62 million) to support the installation of the company’s rooftop solar projects and 75 MW solar park in Atharga, Karnataka. Fourth Partner will use the Norfund investment to support its off-site solar and wind projects for this fiscal year, under development in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Uttar Pradesh.

Solar module manufacturer Maxeon Solar Technologies has announced a 3 GW TOPCon photovoltaic-silicon cell and shingled-cell performance line solar module manufacturing facility to be developed in Albuquerque, New Mexico. With an estimated investment exceeding $1 billion, the project’s realization is contingent upon a successful financial closure facilitated by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Title 17 Clean Energy Financing Program.

Solar module manufacturer Maxeon Solar Technologies recorded a net loss of $1.51 million during Q2 FY 2023, an improvement of 98.2% on a YoY compared to a net loss of $87.92 million. The company’s revenue was recorded at $348.37 million, an increase of 9.4% YoY. The higher revenue with balanced cost and operating expenses helped improve the company’s performance compared to the same period last year when both the cost of revenue and operating expenses were higher.

Fuel cell manufacturer Ballard Power Systems has reported a net loss of $30.1 million in Q2 2023, marking a decrease of 46% YoY from a net loss of $55.8 million as the new orders surged. The company’s total revenue dropped by 27% YoY to $15.3 million during the quarter. The revenue from heavy-duty mobility, which amounted to $8.5 million, experienced a 39% decrease YoY. This decline was influenced by reduced earnings in the bus, truck, and rail sectors. However, this was offset by increased revenue in the marine sector.

Plug Power, a U.S.-based hydrogen fuel cell company, experienced a wider net loss of $236.4 million in Q2 of 2023, compared to $173.3 million in the same period last year. The increase in net loss was attributed to significant cost escalation in areas such as sales, services, and power purchase agreements. Operating expenses also surged mainly due to higher research and development, administrative expenses, and impairment charges.

The Federal Cabinet of Germany granted its approval to the draft business proposal for the specialized ‘Climate and Transformation Fund’ for 2024, along with the financial outline extending until 2027 to aid renewable energy expansion and reduce carbon emissions. As of 2024, projected program expenditure totals approximately €57.6 billion (~$63.3 billion), representing a €21.6 billion (~$23.7 billion) increase over the 2023 target.

Engineers at the University of New South Wales in Sydney have introduced a novel method to recycle solar panels and efficiently recover valuable materials, particularly silver. The patented process has been designed to streamline the sorting of component materials, a crucial step in achieving efficient photovoltaic panel recycling. The research team calculates that their process could potentially recycle 5-50 million kilograms of silver from cumulative waste by 2050. Tests have indicated the recovery of approximately 0.64 kilograms of silver per ton of photovoltaic waste.