Daily News Wrap-Up: Government Takes Steps to Meet Summer Peak Power Demand

Uttarakhand driving solar adoption via ‘self-employment’

March 10, 2023


The Ministry of Power has devised a comprehensive strategy to ensure the availability of power during the summer. In a meeting chaired by the Union Power Minister, R.K.Singh, the government outlined several steps that would be undertaken to meet the growing power demands in the coming months. The Central Electricity Authority estimates that the peak electricity demand will reach 229 GW during April. The all-India peak power demand had touched an all-time high of 201.1 GW on April 26, 2022, surpassing the peak power demand of 200.5 GW met on July 7, 2021.

Uttarakhand is a hilly state with limited solar installations and primarily depends on hydroelectric projects for its power needs. However, the state has recently started attempting to move towards a more reliable and sustainable solution to meet its energy demands in light of resistance from the communities towards new hydroelectric projects. The cornerstone of Uttarakhand’s approach to widening the adoption of solar is “self-employment.”

The Telangana State Renewable Energy Development Corporation has invited bids to empanel vendors to install 50 MW of grid-connected residential rooftop solar projects under Phase II of the Grid Connected Rooftop Solar Program of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. The last date to submit bids is March 14, 2023. The bids will be opened the next day. Bidders must submit an earnest money deposit of ₹500,000 (~$6,101). The successful bidders must submit a performance bank guarantee of ₹500,000 (~$6,101) in the form of a demand draft or ₹1 million ($12,203) as a bank guarantee within 15 days from the letter of award.

Chandigarh Renewable Energy and Science & Technology Promotion Society has invited bids to commission a 1 MW rooftop solar project at the parking area near DT Mall, Chandigarh. The project should be commissioned within five months of receiving the work order. The installers must provide comprehensive operation and maintenance for ten years. The last date to submit the bid is March 27, 2023. Bids will be opened on March 29. The project’s estimated cost is ₹56.95 million (~$695,356). Bidders must submit an earnest money deposit of ₹1.14 million (~$13,919). The successful bidder must furnish 3% of the project capital cost as a performance bank guarantee.

The Directorate of Agriculture, Assam, has invited bids to empanel manufacturers and system integrators for installing and commissioning solar water pumping systems and solar tubewells on a turnkey basis. The successful bidder will also have to take care of the operation and maintenance of the solar water pumping systems for five years from the date of commissioning. The last date to submit the bids online is March 17, 2023. Bids will be opened on the same day. Bidders will have to submit ₹1 million (~$12,191) as an earnest money deposit. The successful bidder must submit an amount equivalent to 3% of the contract value as a performance security deposit.

Origis Energy, a vertically integrated renewable energy platform, announced the closing of an upsizing amendment to the development of their solar plus energy storage facility by doubling the investment to $750 million. The company said with enhanced flexibility and increased capacity, the credit facility will support the expansion of its solar and energy storage project pipeline in the United States. The financing round follows the company closing a $375 million credit facility last May. The facility comprised a letter of credit and equipment financing.

Canada-based solar module manufacturer Silfab Solar has completed the second investment round of $125 million led by ARC Financial Corp, an energy-focused private equity fund manager. The capital infusion will allow Silfab to embark on its next phase of expansion, which includes establishing a third manufacturing facility in the United States. With this new facility, Silfab will be able to expand its operations to include the production of solar cells and modules, all made in America.

Singapore-based renewable energy company Vena Energy has achieved the financial closure of the Gudadur hybrid project, a 176 MW wind-solar hybrid project in Karnataka. The project comprises 48 MW of solar capacity and 128 MW of wind capacity and is expected to begin commercial operation in the fourth quarter of 2023. Upon completion, the Gudadur hybrid project will likely generate enough clean energy to meet the annual electricity needs of over 500,000 households and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 73,688 tons compared to thermal generation.

Decarbonization budgets are a significant source of concern, with less than a third of executives from ‘hard-to-abate’ industries saying they have adequate budgets to finance their decarbonization efforts, a recent report by renewable energy company Masdar has found. The report said 60% of the organizations who are taking steps to reduce their emissions have not even yet set net-zero targets, with reliable financing being the main barrier to accelerating commitments.

U.S.-based chemical conglomerate Dow has launched a photovoltaic (PV) product line with six silicone-based sealants and adhesives solutions for PV module assembly. The new product line, DOWSIL, would be used to deliver durability and performance for frame sealing, rail and junction box bonding, potting, and building integrated photovoltaic installation materials. Dow said that the new product line will have enhanced module performance amid the rising demand for integrated building and infrastructure solar solutions, as well as large-scale solar power plants.

Singapore-headquartered solar module maker Maxeon Solar Technologies posted $324 million in revenue for the fourth quarter of the financial year 2022, a year-over-year (YoY) increase of 46%. The company said revenue growth was due to increased module shipments to the United States, Canada, Latin American countries, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The company shipped 734 MW of solar modules during the quarter, up 27% YoY from 577 MW.

PlugPower, a U.S.-based developer of hydrogen fuel cell turnkey solutions, recorded a revenue of $220.7 million in Q4, a year-on-year (YoY) increase of 36% compared to $162 million during the corresponding period in 2021. The company’s gross margin for the quarter was negative 36% compared to negative 54% in Q4 2021, reflecting improvement on a YoY basis. The company said due to supply chain issues, new product scaling, and manufacturing facility ramping, it experienced higher-than-average scrap and unfavorable absorption costs in the quarter.