Daily News Wrap-Up: MNRE’s ₹5.15 billion Solar Program for Tribal Areas

Lakshadweep’s first solar plus storage project to yield savings of ₹2.5 billion

January 8, 2024


The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has received the President of India’s approval to implement a new solar power program with an outlay of ₹5.15 billion (~$61.9 million) for Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) habitations and villages under the Pradhan Mantri Janjati Adivasi Nyaya Maha Abhiyan. The program aims to electrify 100,000 PVGT households in areas where electricity supply through the grid is not deemed techno-economically feasible with 0.3 kW off-grid solar power systems.

The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) commissioned Lakshadweep’s first grid-connected 1.7 MW solar power project with a 1.4 MWh battery energy storage system on the Kavaratti Island of the union territory. The project, over its technical lifespan, is expected to yield Lakshadweep ₹2.5 billion (~$30.06 million) in commercial savings, reducing the diesel consumption by up to 19 million liters from the generation plant in Kavaratti and offsetting 58,000 tons of CO2 in the region. The power produced from the project will be supplied to the Lakshadweep Energy Development Agency to power the Kavaratti and Agatti islands.

SECI has invited quotations for investment of ₹3 billion (~$36.07 million) in fixed deposits from scheduled commercial public sector banks. Banks must send their latest competitive rates of interest with validity up to January 05, 2024. SECI specified that deposits must be accepted only in branches located in Delhi. In the event of multiple quotations, SECI will consider the one with the highest interest rate. Bidding banks must have a minimum net worth of ₹10 billion (~$120.2 million) as of March 31, 2023, and should operate a branch in Delhi.

The Appellate Tribunal for Electricity has upheld the Rajasthan Electricity Regulatory Commission’s (RERC) decision dismissing a petition filed by a wind energy generator contending that regulations should not retroactively impact power purchase agreements (PPA). As a wind energy generator, Mangalam Cement challenged the dismissal of its petition by the RERC. The appeal sought to void an electricity bill and two letters issued by Jaipur Vidyut Vitran Nigam (JVVNL), demanding compliance with the PPA terms and claiming interest on the ₹8.44 million (~$101,462) deposited with JVVNL.

Photovoltaic modules manufacturer First Solar has entered into a 15-year captive power purchase agreement with Cleantech Solar, a renewable energy solution provider, to set up 150 MW of solar and 16.8 MW of wind power generating projects in Tamil Nadu. These projects will supply approximately 7.3 GWh of clean electricity to First Solar’s new 3.3 GW vertically integrated solar manufacturing facility, also located in Tamil Nadu. Further, Cleantech Solar has agreed to procure 150 MW of series 7 thin film solar modules from First Solar, which is expected to be delivered in the first half of 2024.