Daily News Wrap-Up: Solar Accounts for 16% of India’s Installed Power Capacity

Parliament panel wants renewable finance obligation prescribed for banks

July 28, 2023


Solar power accounted for 15.9% of India’s total installed power capacity and 38.3% of the total installed renewable capacity in the second quarter of 2023, up from 14% and 35.4% year-over-year. India’s installed renewable energy capacity, including large hydro projects, stood at 173.5 GW, accounting for a 41.4% share of the overall power capacity mix at the end of the quarter, according to data from the Central Electricity Authority, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, and Mercom’s India Solar Project Tracker. The renewable energy share in the cumulative power mix increased marginally from 170.3 GW quarter-over-quarter, representing 37.9 % of the overall power capacity mix.

Parliament’s Standing Committee on Energy has asked the government to explore the possibility of prescribing Renewable Finance Obligations along the lines of Renewable Purchase Obligations for banks and financial institutions to devote a specific percentage of their investment to the Indian renewable energy sector. In its latest report, ‘Financial Constraints in Renewable Energy Sector,’ the Committee said the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy should look at setting up a green bank system to address the persisting finance-related challenges faced by the renewable energy sector in India.

The government introduced a Bill in the Lok Sabha to amend the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act to allow the private sector to explore and mine critical minerals used in the energy sector. The proposed legislation seeks to introduce an exploration license for critical and deep-seated minerals. It plans to remove six atomic minerals, such as lithium, titanium, and zirconium-bearing minerals, from the list of reserved minerals. These minerals play vital roles in space industries, electronics, communications, energy sectors, and electric batteries, making them crucial for India’s net-zero emission commitment.

REC Limited, a government-owned infrastructure finance company, posted a net profit of ₹29.61 billion (~$361.12 million) in the first quarter (Q1) of the financial year 2024, an increase of 21% year-over-year from ₹24.47 billion (~$298.44 million). The numbers marked the company’s highest-ever profit in the first quarter of any financial year. The increase in profit was attributed to improving asset quality and effective cost management. The company’s revenue from operations in Q1 stood at ₹109.59 billion (~$1.34 billion), a rise of 16%, compared to ₹94.59 billion (~$1.15 billion) during the same period last year.

West Bengal Power Department has invited bids to develop, and commission 900 MW pumped storage projects on a design, build, finance, operate, and transfer basis on the Bandu reservoir in Purulia, West Bengal. The project will be divided into four capacities of 225 MW each. The total project cost is estimated to be ₹47 billion (~$573.6 million). The last day to submit the bids is August 28, 2023. Bidders must furnish a bid security of ₹500 million (~$6.1 million).

Mahatma Phule Renewable Energy and Infrastructure Technology has invited bids for the installation and commissioning of 50 MW of grid-connected solar power projects along with the associated transmission lines up to the point of interconnection in the Sangli district of Maharashtra. The successful bidder will also have to take care of the project’s operation and maintenance for five years. The projects will be developed in the Sangli district’s Kundalpur, Tisangi, Rajuri, and Ghatnandre villages.

U.S.-based residential solar firm Sunnova’s net loss widened to $100.8 million during the second quarter of 2023, a year-over-year (YoY) increase of 628.6% compared to a net loss of $13.8 million. The rise in net loss was attributed to an increase in interest expense, amounting to $32.4 million, and higher general and administrative expenses. However, there was a partial offset due to a $13 million increase in interest income resulting from a larger customer loan portfolio. Revenue surged to $166.4 million, an increase of $19.4 million YoY.

Independent renewable power producer ReNew signed a 50:50 joint venture agreement with clean energy solutions provider Gentari to develop solar, wind, and energy storage assets to achieve a clean power capacity target of 5 GW in India. The partnership follows Gentari’s initial investment for a 49% equity stake in ReNew Power’s 403 MW power project that the latter announced in May this year. The partnership will help Gentari expand its renewable energy portfolio and support its target to build more than 30 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2030 globally.

A team of researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology has taken a novel approach, utilizing aluminum foil to create solid-state batteries with increased energy density and stability compared to the widely used lithium-ion technology. Unlike traditional lithium-ion batteries, solid-state batteries utilize solid materials as electrolytes, eliminating the flammable liquid electrolyte and significantly reducing the risk of fires. Furthermore, solid-state batteries allow for integrating new high-performance active materials, paving the way for innovative battery designs.

China installed 44.8 GW of solar power in the second quarter of 2023, a 153% year-over-year growth, according to the National Energy Administration. The country’s cumulative solar installations stood at 471 GW at the end of the quarter. In the first half of the year, China installed a renewable energy capacity of 109 GW, accounting for 77% of the country’s newly installed capacity. This included 5.4 GW of hydropower, 22.9 GW of wind, 78.4 GW of solar, and 1.7 GW of biomass.

Chemists at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have taken a significant step towards a greener future for water remediation, where they have demonstrated the integration of solar energy into an electrochemical separation process. The researchers said the discovery opens doors to potentially power such applications entirely with renewable energy sources. Electrochemical separation, or electrochemical desalination, is a promising technique for purifying contaminated water and environmental remediation.

The Ministry of Power has approved a request from Gadag II-A Transmission (a wholly-owned subsidiary of ReNew Transmission Ventures) to set up overhead transmission lines for 1,500 MW of solar projects in Gadag, Karnataka. The transmission lines will be set up under the ‘Transmission Plan for Solar Energy Zone in Gadag (1,500 MW), Part A-Phase II.’ The approval for the overhead lines has been granted for 25 years. The program covers the 400 kV DC transmission line between the Gadag and Koppal pooling stations.

UK-based electric vehicle charge point operator GRIDSERVE Sustainable Energy (GRIDSERVE) has raised a total of £526 million (~$682 million) in green infrastructure financing to accelerate its e-mobility expansion in the country. The financing comprises £326 million (~$423 million) in committed loan facilities, with a further £200 million (~$259.5 million) uncommitted accordion facility that the company has reserved for future assets. The £326 million facility consists of a £300 million (~$389 million) term loan, a £10 million (~$13 million) working capital facility, and a £16 million (~$21 million) value-added tax facility.