Daily News Wrap-Up: Anticipation Builds in Solar Sector as Budget 2024 Approaches

Energy storage sector secures record venture capital funding of $9.2 billion in 2023

February 1, 2024


The solar industry stakeholders have a long wish list for the Union Budget 2024, which will be presented on February 1, 2024. Stakeholders hope Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will announce tax and duty waivers for solar equipment to boost domestic solar manufacturing. Mercom spoke to a cross-section of industry stakeholders to understand their expectations from the budget. In the first nine months of 2023, India installed 5.6 GW of solar power capacity, marking a ~47% year-over-year (YoY) decrease from 10.5 GW.

Global venture capital funding in the energy storage sector in 2023 reached $9.2 billion, a 59% YoY increase from $5.8 billion. The amount raised was the largest ever. The numbers were revealed in Mercom Capital Group’s newly released Annual and Q4 2023 Funding and M&A Report for Storage & Grid. While the total funding rose, the number of deals dropped to 86 from 96.

Wind turbine manufacturer Suzlon Energy recorded a total income ₹15.7 billion (~$189.04 million) during the third quarter (Q3) of the financial year (FY) 2024, an increase of 7% YoY from ₹14.64 billion (~$176.27). The company posted a net profit of ₹2.03 billion (~$24.44 million) during Q3 FY 2024, an increase of 160% YoY from ₹782.8 million (~$9.42 million). The increase in net profit can be attributed to the reduction in operating and other expenses during the quarter. The company reported a substantial 83% reduction in finance costs to ₹142.8 million (~$1.71 million).

NHPC Limited has invited bids to select developers for the supply of 1,200 MW of power from inter-state transmission system-connected wind power projects under Tranche 2. The last date for the submission of bids is February 28, 2024. Bids will be opened on March 4. A total capacity of 1,200 MW will be awarded for injection at ISTS substations in six states: Tamil Nadu (500 MW), Andhra Pradesh (250 MW), Maharashtra (200 MW), Telangana (100 MW), Madhya Pradesh (100 MW), and Karnataka (50 MW). Bidders have to pay ₹1.26 million (~$15,171)/MW as earnest money deposit.

Cleantech Solar, a provider of solar energy for commercial & industrial customers in India and Southeast Asia, has secured a long-term senior secured loan of ₹6.25 billion (~$75 million) from Tata Capital to expand open access solar projects across India. Cleantech said the funds will be used for the construction, development, and operation of its under-construction pipeline of open access solar and wind parks. These projects will provide renewable energy directly to corporate consumers under a long-term power purchase agreement.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy issued two clarifications on the guidelines for implementing the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM) program for feeder-level solarization (FLS). In the first clarification, the ministry confirmed that the waiver of the domestic content requirement for solar cells used for FLS under Component C of the PM-KUSUM program will stay in place until March 31, 2024. FLS plays a pivotal role in the program, which aims to solarize 1.5 million grid-connected agriculture pumps by March 31, 2026.

Polaris Smart Metering, a provider of advanced smart metering solutions, has won two contracts valued at over ₹52 billion (~$625.6 million) for the implementation of smart prepaid metering systems in Uttar Pradesh. The contracts, awarded by Madhyanchal Vidyut Vitran Nigam, involve installing more than 5.1 million smart meters in key clusters, including Lucknow and Ayodhya/Devipatan, over the next 27 months. Under the terms of the agreement, Polaris will supply, install, commission, and maintain smart meters across the consumer base in these clusters for the next decade.

The Madhya Pradesh government has appointed Manu Srivastava, IAS, as the Additional Chief Secretary in the Power and Renewable Energy Department. Srivastava was earlier the principal secretary of the Technical Education, Skill Development, and Employment Department and the Rural Industries Department. Before these appointments, Srivastava served as the Principal Secretary of Madhya Pradesh’s New and Renewable Energy Department, overseeing key responsibilities. He was also the commissioner for the New & Renewable Energy Department, the Managing Director of Madhya Pradesh Urja Vikas Nigam, and the Chairperson of Rewa Ultra Mega Solar.