Daily News Wrap-Up: Overcoming Hurdles Critical for Open-Access Solar Growth

Cabinet approves ₹74 billion VGF program for offshore wind projects

June 21, 2024


India’s energy landscape is rapidly evolving, with solar power emerging as a crucial part of the country’s renewable energy mix.Among the various initiatives, open-access solar has shown significant promise. Open-access solar demand in India has grown considerably and consistently since 2019 as commercial and industrial entities realized the savings in operating costs, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. Adding to the push for solar open access was the green energy open access regulations by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

The Union Cabinet has approved a Viability Gap Funding (VGF) program with a total outlay of ₹74.53 billion (~$893.34 million) for offshore wind energy projects. The program includes ₹68.53 billion (~$821.43 million) for installing and commissioning 1 GW of offshore wind energy projects, split equally between the coasts of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. An additional ₹6 billion (~$71.92 million) will go towards upgrading two ports to support the logistics requirements of these projects.

Battery Smart, a battery swapping network for electric two- and three-wheelers, has secured $65 million in a Series B funding round led by LeapFrog Investments. This equity round included both primary and secondary investments and saw participation from new and existing investors, such as MUFG Bank, Panasonic, Ecosystem Integrity Fund , Blume Ventures, and British International Investment . Battery Smart allows for two-minute battery swaps, enabling EV drivers to save time, travel longer distances, and lower their upfront costs by up to 40%.

NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Limited (NVVN), a wholly-owned subsidiary of NTPC, has invited bids to develop 100 MW inter-state transmission system (ISTS)-connected wind-solar hybrid projects in India. The hybrid project will consist of 50 MW solar PV and 50 MW wind power on a Build-Own-Operate basis. This initiative is part of the Ministry of Power‘s program to enhance flexibility in generating and scheduling thermal and hydropower stations through bundling with renewable energy and storage power.

(NVVN) has invited bids to select channel partners for installing grid-connected rooftop solar power systems under the PM Surya Ghar Muft Bijli Yojana in Chhattisgarh. The last date for submission of bids is July 1, 2024. Bids will be opened the next day. NVVN will enlist partners who will collaborate with engineering, procurement, and construction vendors and distribution companies to finalize the installation of rooftop solar systems.

Energy Efficiency Services has invited bids for supplying domestic content requirement-compliant 2 GW of monocrystalline modules for solar power projects across India. The last date to submit bids is August 9, 2024. Bids will be opened on the same day. The order must be completed within one year after the letter of award is issued. The maximum delivery time allowed from the date of issuance of each purchase order varies across different regions.

The Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission has released a draft of the Grid Interactive Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Energy Generating Systems Regulations, 2024, aimed at streamlining the integration of solar PV systems into the grid and ensuring regulatory clarity. The draft regulations allow domestic consumers to opt for net metering, net billing, or feed-in arrangements where imported energy is charged at retail rates, and exported solar energy is credited at feed-in tariffs determined by TNERC.

Maharashtra State Power Generation has invited bids to select an EPC contractor for the design, engineering, supply, erection, testing, and commissioning of a 65 MW solar project at Chandrapur. The last date to submit bids is July 30, 2024. Bids will open the same day. The scope of work includes associated HT overhead transmission line/underground cables, electrical equipment, and construction of bays up to the interconnection at the 400/220 kV Chandrapur – II substation.

Researchers at Stanford University have made progress on an emerging technology that uses liquid organic hydrogen carriers  to essentially create a ‘liquid battery’ for storing renewable energy from wind and solar power. The team, led by chemistry professor Robert Waymouth, has developed a new catalytic system that can efficiently convert electricity into the liquid fuel isopropanol, or rubbing alcohol, without generating gaseous hydrogen as a byproduct.


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