Daily News Wrap-Up: India’s Adds 3.2 GW of Solar Open Access in 2023

JSW, Sunsure, UPC, and NTPC REL win SECI’s 1.5 GW solar tranche XIII auction

March 11, 2024


India achieved a record-breaking annual installation of solar open access, adding 3.2 GW, in the calendar year 2023, a marginal increase from the 3 GW installed in the previous year, according to the recently published 2023 Q4 & Annual Mercom India Solar Open Access Market Report. The exclusion of open-access solar projects from the Approved List of Models and Manufacturers order’s mandate, coupled with decreasing module prices, pushed commercial and industrial consumers into accelerating their pending projects and entering into power purchase agreements.

JSW Neo Energy (JSW Energy), Sunsure Solarpark Fourteen (Sunsure Energy), Tejorupa Renewables India Project (UPC Renewables), and NTPC Renewable Energy were declared winners in the Solar Energy Corporation of India’s auction to set up 1,500 MW Inter-State Transmission System-connected solar power projects in India under Tranche XIII. JSW, Sunsure, and UPC Renewables quoted the lowest tariff of ₹2.56 (~$0.0310)/kWh to win 700 MW, 300 MW, and 250 MW, respectively. NTPC Renewable won 250 MW out of the 600 MW quoted capacity at ₹2.57 (~$0.0311)/kWh.

Gensol Engineering and IndiGrid 2 (IndiGrid) have won Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam’s auction to set up pilot projects of 250 MW/500 MWh standalone battery energy storage systems (BESS) in Gujarat under tariff-based global competitive bidding (Phase-II). Gensol won 70 MW/140 MWh, quoting ₹448,996 (~$5,424)/MW/month, and IndiGrid won the remaining 180 MW/360 MWh, quoting ₹449,996 (~$5,436)/MW/month. The tariff quoted in the auction was 58.43% lower than the ₹1.08 million (~$13,045)/MW/month quoted by JSW Energy for the Solar Energy Corporation of India’s auction to set up 500 MW/1,000 MWh BESS projects in August 2022.

The Indian Energy Exchange traded 298 million units (MU) of green energy during February 2024, a 12.61% year-over-year (YoY) drop from 341 MU. The green energy trade was up by 26.27% from 236 MU traded in January 2024. The Green Day-Ahead Market achieved 266 MU, up by 6.4% YoY and 26.67% month-over-month (MoM). The weighted average price discovered in the segment was ₹5.5 (~$0.066)/kWh, with participation from 214 market entities during the month. The Green Term-Ahead Market traded 32 MU in February, down by 64.84% YoY and up by 23.08% MoM.

Central Mine Planning & Design Institute, a subsidiary of Coal India, has invited bids for the design, supply, installation, commissioning, and testing of grid-connected solar power projects with a cumulative capacity of 13 MW. These projects are intended for Central Coalfields Ranchi at NK Area Chatra, Jharkhand, and come with a five-year operation and maintenance period. The last date for the submission of bids is March 28, 2024. Bids will be opened the same day. Work should commence within 30 days of the issuance of the letter of acceptance and the submission of the performance security.

Plug Power, a U.S.-based hydrogen fuel cell company, reported a revenue of $891 million for 2023, up 27% from the prior year, allaying fears about its ability to continue operations. The company said it now has sufficient financial resources and liquidity to sustain its ongoing activities “for the foreseeable future.” Last November, the company said that its cash reserves and available equity securities were inadequate to fund operations over the ensuing 12-month period. The company posted a net loss of $1.37 billion, which nearly doubled from $724 million in 2022, as increased investments in growth weighed on profitability.

Solar cell and module manufacturer Sunova Solar has announced its investment in a 9 GW TOPCon cell production facility in China’s Yibin City, which will focus on the production of 182mm, 199mm, and 210 mm TopCon solar cells. This is the company’s first cell manufacturing facility that will be ramped up to 9 GW of annual production when completed. Currently, Sunova Solar operates factories in China and Vietnam, with an integrated 4.2 GW capacity of solar modules. It has shipped more than 4 GW of modules cumulatively worldwide, according to the company.

Perovskite solar panels could become more efficient and sturdier over longer periods by engineering the nanoscale structure of perovskite devices, claims a new study by a team of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and other institutions. Perovskites are materials with a special crystal structure that may one day outperform conventional silicon or cadmium telluride solar cells, according to a study published in the journal Nature Energy. A major advantage is that perovskites can be solution-processed and essentially painted or printed onto surfaces like flexible plastic, paper, or glass, making them versatile and easy to transport.

The solar industry added nearly 444 GW of new capacity in 2023, a 76% year-over-year (YoY) growth, taking advantage of the fall in prices of solar modules and ample supply of components, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s (BNEF) Global PV Market Outlook for the first quarter of 2024. China alone added 216.9 GW in 2023, accounting for 60% of the global market. According to China’s National Energy Administration, the capacity addition in 2023 represented a 148 % YoY increase from 87.4 GW. The BNEF report said end-user markets are booming while manufacturers struggle to make profits.