No Update on ALMM Extension, Inspection Fee for Solar Manufacturing Enlistment Reduced

For units in the non-SAARC countries, the inspection fee remains ₹3 million


The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has issued amendments to the existing provisions for enlistment under the Approved List of Models and Manufacturers (ALMM).

According to the notification, the inspection fee for manufacturing capacity up to 50 MW has been cut in half to ₹250,000 (~$3,418) from the existing ₹500,000 (~$6,837). For capacity more than 50 MW and up to 100 MW, the inspection fee remains ₹500,000 (~$6,837), and for capacity greater than 100 MW and up to 250 MW, it will be ₹1 million (~$13,674). The fee will remain ₹1.5 million (~$20,512) for a capacity greater than 250 MW. This will apply to the units situated in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries.

The <50 MW manufacturing capacity is mainly owned by micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) who are already reeling under the additional investment threat with the advent of larger size wafers used in cell and module manufacturing.

ALMM notification

In October 2018, the MNRE issued an order to enlist eligible models and manufacturers of solar modules and published a list called the ALMM to monitor the quality and reliability of components being used in government-owned solar projects. According to the ALMM Order 2019, List I  consists of models and manufacturers of solar PV modules, and List II comprises models and manufacturers of solar cells.

The notification said guidelines were issued to develop new modes of renewable energy projects like wind-solar hybrid projects and round-the-clock renewable energy projects.

Keeping this in mind, MNRE issued another modification to the guidelines. The amended guideline says, “Only the models and manufacturers included in this list will be eligible for use in government, government-assisted projects, projects under government programs installed in the country, including projects set up for sale of electricity to the government under the guidelines issued by the central government and amended thereof.”

MNRE said that the ALMM order in respect of List-I (modules) List-II (cells) would be applicable only for projects for which the bids are issued after one month of publication of the list. The ministry said that the bidding agencies should obtain a declaration from the bidders that they are aware of the provisions of the ALMM order and the list while quoting tariff in the bid.

The deadline for implementing ALMM has expired, and the industry is still in limbo. There’s no update yet on the new deadline as the previous deadline of September 30, 2020, has passed.

The industry is also waiting for clarity on the implementation process as the pandemic will be affecting regulations mandating inspection of facilities in India and outside.

In July last year, MNRE issued a notice stating that it would set up a committee to review issues related to the ALMM of solar PV modules. The MNRE stated that the committee would recommend the manner and date of implementation of the ALMM order and submit its report within 15 days of being constituted. But there has been no update on any recommendations by this committee so far.

Earlier, Mercom had written about the consequences of the government’s decision to go ahead with the ALMM order, which has raised more questions than it has answered.