Daily News Wrap-Up: Solar Manufacturing Ambitions and Need for Technology Development

Mercom India Launches the Cleantech Startup Pitch Competition

February 13, 2023


As India embarks on the journey towards self-sufficiency in manufacturing components needed for solar projects, the enormity of the challenge has become increasingly apparent as most manufacturers place orders for imported manufacturing equipment. Industry experts acknowledge the gaps in expertise but insist that the manufacturing industry first needs to develop heft in terms of capacity and ability to compete as exporters, followed by investing in research and development required to produce manufacturing equipment indigenously.

Mercom India, a clean energy research and communications firm, will host its first-ever Startup Pitch competition to provide a big stage for Indian entrepreneurs and companies to present their innovative cleantech ideas or technologies in early-stage development. The competition will be held at the Mercom India Renewables Summit on April 27, 2023, at 10:30 am at the Hyatt Regency in New Delhi. The competition aims to bring together the most innovative startups across India’s clean energy sector.

The government has announced the discovery of 5.9 million tons of lithium reserves for the first time in the country in the Reasi district of Jammu & Kashmir. The Geological Survey of India (GSI) has made the discovery. Lithium is a non-ferrous metal and a key component in electric vehicle (EV) batteries. The details were revealed in a GSI report along with 15 other resource-bearing geological reports and 35 geological memorandums handed over to state governments during the 62nd Central Geological Programming Board meeting this week.

The government completed the sale of ₹160 billion (~$1.9 billion) worth of sovereign green bonds, with the second tranche raising ₹80 billion ($970 million) on Thursday. Like in the first tranche, the second tranche comprised ₹40 billion ($485.56 million) worth of bonds with a five-year tenor and a like amount of bonds with a ten-year tenor. The yield on the five-year bond closed at 7.25%, and the 10-year bond closed at 7.34%. The Reserve Bank of India had set the cut-off yields at 7.23% and 7.29 % for the two bonds, respectively.

The Indore Municipal Corporation has raised ₹3.03 billion (~$36.69 million) in green bonds, with its ₹2.44 billion (~$29.67 million) issue being oversubscribed by 1.24 times. The proceeds from the green bonds issue will be used to fund a 60 MW ground-mounted captive solar photovoltaic project in the Khargone district in Madhya Pradesh. The green bonds received an enthusiastic response, with the issue being oversubscribed three hours after it opened.

The Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission has proposed a benchmark cost-plus tariff of ₹3.64 (~$0.044)/kWh for utility-scale solar power projects for the financial year (FY) 2024. The Commission has also proposed a tariff of ₹4.26 (~$0.052)/kWh for rooftop solar systems of capacity 1 kW to 10 kW (domestic consumers) and ₹3.79 (~$0.046)/kWh for rooftop solar systems of capacity 1 kW to 2,000 kW. In a discussion paper, the Commission considered various parameters to arrive at the tariffs for the rooftop segment and utility-scale projects.

U.S.-based energy storage technology and services provider Fluence‘s net loss for the first quarter (Q1) of the financial year 2023 narrowed to $37 million compared to $111.5 million year-over-year (YoY), primarily driven by the highest-ever quarterly order intake of $856 million. The order intake comprised 624 MW of energy storage solutions, 139 MW of services delivered, and 783 MW of digital solutions.

U.S.-based battery materials producer Redwood Materials received a conditional commitment for a $2 billion loan from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to commence the production of anode foil, one of the most crucial components in a battery. DOE released the commitment to Redwood as part of the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program.

Enphase Energy, a supplier of microinverter-based solar-plus-storage systems, reported a 193% YoY surge in profit at $153.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2022. The profit was fueled by higher shipments of microinverters and batteries in the United States. During the October-December quarter, the company’s revenue jumped 76% YoY to $724.7 million. The company shipped 4,874 microinverters, amounting to 1,937 MW capacity, up 61% YoY. Enphase shipped 122.1 MWh batteries in the same period, up 22% YoY.

Integrated solar tracker and software solutions firm NEXtracker, a subsidiary of diversified manufacturing company Flex, has raised $638 million in an initial public offering (IPO) by selling 26.6 million shares at $24 per share. The shares started trading on the National Global Select Market on February 9, 2023. The offering is expected to close on February 13, 2023. NEXtracker has also granted the underwriters a 30-day window to buy up to an additional 3.99 million shares at the IPO prices.