February 2018 Highlights: Major Developments in India’s Renewable Energy and Solar Sector

The union budget, the highlight of the month of February, proved to be a mood-dampener for the country’s solar sector


After a busy month of January, the month of February was relatively quiet and the uncertainties plaguing the sector around trade issues continued. Even the highly anticipated budget turned out to be a disappointment for the industry.

Here is a quick recap of all the important headlines that convey what transpired during the month of February in India’s solar sector:

Tariffs renegotiations for six solar projects in Uttar Pradesh have not yet been completed. The projects, totaling 80 MW, have been stuck limbo since 2015 and had appeared to be on the verge of being scrapped.

The Budget 2018-19 turned out to be a dud for India’s solar and renewable energy sectors after it failed to address numerous industry concerns.

Gurdwaras in New Delhi came up with a plan to utilize solar power to meet their day-to-day energy requirements.

In the calendar year 2017, the total solar electricity generation in the country yielded over 21.5 billion units (BU) of electricity.

Longi Solar, a Chinese solar component manufacturer, announced that it will invest $309 million to double the capacity of its cell and module factory from 500 MW to 1 GW in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

Malaysia is now on the radar of the Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD) for the export of textured tempered glass (solar glass), whether coated or uncoated, to India.

The government has approved ₹1,016.4 million (~$15.82 million) for the Solar Cities Program during the past four years.

Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM) announced that it will develop 11 EV charging stations across Bangalore.

The solar trade dispute between the U.S. and India hit another roadblock after the U.S. objected to India’s request to establish a compliance panel to resolve the deadlock between the two countries.

Wind matched solar’s lowest winning bid with a new low tariff of ₹2.44/kWh quoted in SECI’s 2,000 MW auction.

The Coal Vision 2030 report acknowledged that renewables, especially solar, could become a key substitute for coal-fired power in India.

Solar projects aggregating 600 MW were grid-synchronized at the Pavagada Solar Park in Karnataka’s Tumkur district.

The Indian Railways is preparing to release tenders for the development of solar projects that will expand the company’s footprint in the Indian solar sector, according to Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal.

A much-needed pan-India policy for EVs still appears to be a distant dream for the country after the government took a U-turn on its earlier stance on the issue.

Neyvveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) India scrapped its auction for 20 MW of solar with a battery energy storage system (BESS) that was conducted in October 2017.

So far, around 2,000 people have been provided subsidies for the purchase of two-wheeler EVs in the state of Gujarat.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) extended the project commissioning timeframe for 30 MW of grid-connected rooftop solar PV projects under development in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

The Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission (KSERC) approved ₹3.90 (~$0.062)/kWh as the interim tariff for electricity supplied from the 50 MW Kasargod Solar Park in the Ambalathara village of the Kasargod district.

Aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses increased in 2017 for most of the states and union territories in the Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) program.

The Karnataka High Court put a stay on an 860 MW, grid-connected solar PV project tender auctioned by Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Limited (KREDL).

The Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) received a green light from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for the launch of its initial public offering.

Indian government agencies announced tenders for more than 9.5 GW and auctions for 6 GW of solar capacity in the year 2017.

Three states recently postponed the bid-submission deadlines for more than 2 GW of combined solar tenders following a lackluster response, as bidders grappled with uncertainties about potential duties that could be levied on critical project components.

Indian solar installations in calendar year 2017 grew exponentially with the addition of 9,629 MW in new large-scale and rooftop solar capacity.

Conflicting goals being pursued by various government agencies and implementing bodies continue to threaten the pace of solar installations and derail the country’s plans to achieve its ambitious renewable installation goal.

Image credit: Flickr