Month in a Minute: Top Headlines from Indian Renewable Sector in June 2023 

Solar Open Access installations in India surge by 68% in Q1 2023


Here is a recap of important headlines from June 2023:

India added 518 MW of solar open access in the first quarter of 2023, marking a remarkable increase of more than 68% compared to the 308 MW installed in the fourth quarter of 2022. However, on a year-over-year basis, the installations declined by 37%. The numbers were revealed in the recently published Q1 2023 Mercom India Solar Open Access Market Report.

In the first quarter of 2023, 485 MW of rooftop solar capacity was added, up 0.4% compared to 483 MW in the fourth quarter of 2022. In a year-over-year comparison, installations were up 6.4%. The findings were published in Mercom India Research’s Q1 2023 Mercom India Rooftop Solar Market Report.

The average cost of large-scale solar projects in the first quarter of 2023 decreased by 5% quarter-over-quarter for the first time in 11 quarters due to a drop in module prices. The findings were published in Mercom India Research’s Q1 2023 India Solar Market Quarterly Update.

Investments in the Indian solar sector in the first quarter of 2023 totaled $1.03 billion (~₹85 billion), a 171% year-over-year decrease from $2.8 billion (~₹211 billion). Investments were down 37% quarter-over-quarter from $1.63 billion (~₹134 billion). The figures were revealed in Mercom India Research’s Q1 2023 India Solar Market Quarterly Update.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy released a framework document outlining incentive programs for the manufacturing of electrolyzers and the production of green hydrogen within the country, with a combined financial outlay of ₹174.9 billion (~$2.1 billion). The framework document outlines two components of the incentive programs. Component I focuses on providing electrolyzer manufacturing incentives, with a financial outlay of ₹44.4 billion (~$541.2 million), and Component II aims to support Green Hydrogen production, with a substantial outlay of ₹130.5 billion (~$1.6 billion). 

The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors approved $1.5 billion in financing to accelerate the development of low-carbon energy in India by scaling-up green hydrogen projects and promoting climate finance for clean energy investments. The funding operation titled First Low-Carbon Energy Programmatic Development Policy Operation is the first in the series of investments by the World Bank to support India’s energy transition through 2070.

The Ministry of Power issued the Draft Electricity (Amendment) Rules, 2023, to introduce changes to the requirement of transmission licenses for captive and bulk power consumers and capping the additional surcharge for open access consumers at 50% of the wheeling charges. The amendments are expected to enhance the efficiency and transparency of the electricity sector.

The Ministry of Power, in consultation with the Central Electricity Authority, released a set of guidelines to establish an institutional mechanism for resource adequacy, spanning from the national level down to the distribution companies. The guidelines are put in place to ensure the availability of resources at each level to meet the demand. 

The Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance, earmarked ₹1.43 trillion (~$17.4 billion) as financial incentives in the form of additional borrowing permissions for states undertaking various reforms in the power sector during the financial year (FY) 2023-24. Based on the recommendations of the Ministry of Power, the Ministry of Finance granted permission for reforms undertaken in FY 2021-22 and FY 2022-23 by 12 state governments.

The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a loan of $200 million to the Government of Himachal Pradesh to help the Indian state achieve its target of adding 10 GW of additional renewable energy capacity and introducing new reforms in its power sector. The loan provided under the World Bank’s Himachal Pradesh Power Sector Development Program will help the state government increase the share of renewables in its energy generation.

In a recent office memorandum, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy allotted physical targets to the biogas program implementing agencies for establishing small biogas projects under the Biogas Program Phase II for the fiscal year 2023-24. The year’s target is 15,205 biogas plants, with an additional 1,165 sanitary toilets linked to biogas plants.

The Government of Andhra Pradesh notified the Green Hydrogen and Green Ammonia Policy-2023, targeting a production capacity of 0.5 million tons per annum (MTPA) of green hydrogen and 2 MTPA of green ammonia over the next five years. The policy would also help create 12,000 jobs per MTPA of green hydrogen produced and promote the setting up of green hydrogen and green ammonia-related equipment manufacturing facilities.

Solar module manufacturer and EPC solutions provider Vikram Solar and renewable energy investors Phalanx Impact Partners and Das & Co. announced the formation of a joint venture called VSK Energy, which will invest up to $1.5 billion in developing vertically integrated solar manufacturing operations in the U.S.

The Ministry of Power amended the program for bundling renewables and storage with thermal and hydropower projects to allow the setting up of renewable energy projects not co-located in the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) tendering mode or through joint ventures. The amendments to the ‘Flexibility in Generation and Scheduling of Thermal and Hydropower Projects through Bundling with Renewable Energy and Storage Power’ program were issued after the Ministry received several requests to relax certain provisions.

SafEarth, an India-based technology platform for renewable energy transition, completed a funding round of ₹35 million ($426,755) to support the company’s product development initiatives and expansion into new industrial belts across the country. Anthill Ventures, Third Derivative, and Mumbai Angels led the funding round.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy extended the timeline for the ‘Development of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects’ program to March 31, 2026 (FY 2026) from the earlier FY 2024. The extended timeline does not involve any financial implications.

Norway’s Climate Investment Fund, managed by Norfund and KLP, the largest pension company in Norway, through their joint venture KNI India, invested approximately NOK 317 million (~$30 million) in equity capital and up to NOK 530 million (~$50 million) in loan guarantees for a 168 MW wind power project developed by Enel Green Power in Gujarat.

Bengaluru-based Nithin Sai Renewables, a renewable subsidiary of Nithin Sai Constructions, announced its plans to build an automated solar module manufacturing line with a capacity of 500 MW. The company has placed an order for the equipment with turnkey solar production lines provider Mondragon Assembly. The advanced line will be specifically designed to produce higher-wattage modules featuring larger cut cells.

Narmada Hydroelectric Development Corporation, a joint venture of NHPC and the Government of Madhya Pradesh, is set to construct a 525 MW pumped storage project near Indira Sagar Dam, Khandwa, to help manage the state’s peak energy demand. The project will be developed using the existing Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar reservoirs and generate 1,226.93 million units of energy during peak hours.

Amp Energy India, an integrated renewable energy power producer, secured up to $250 million in funding. The financing round was led by the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation of Japan, the Intermediate Capital Group, and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

82Volt, an electric vehicle (EV) charging tech start-up, recently concluded its seed funding round, raising an amount of ₹50 million (~$606,908) from angel investors. With the infusion of fresh capital from the seed funding round, the start-up aims to rapidly expand its installation capacity to 100 chargers within the next two months through its channel partners.

Gujarat-based power company Torrent Power raised ₹6 billion (~$72.7 million) through the issuance of non-convertible debentures on a private placement basis. The company issued and allotted 60,000 Series 11 (series 11A- 11F) Secured, Rated, Listed, Taxable, Non-Cumulative, Redeemable, and Non-Convertible Debentures of ₹100,000 each (~$1,212).

Mumbai-based renewable energy company CleanMax Enviro Energy Solutions successfully concluded an equity fund raise of approximately $360 million from Brookfield Renewable, facilitated through the Brookfield Global Transition Fund. It will provide CleanMax with the necessary capital to pursue its ambitious growth plans to become a platform exceeding 5 GW within three to four years.