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

India installs 1.9 GW of new solar capacity in the first quarter of 2023


Here is a recap of important headlines from May 2023:

India installed 1.9 GW of new solar capacity during the first quarter (Q1)  of 2023, a decline of 48% year-over-year (YoY), according to Mercom India Research’s newly released Q1 2023 India Solar Market Quarterly Update. On a quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) basis, the installations fell 30%. Nearly 1.4 GW of utility-scale solar was installed during the quarter, falling 56% YoY and 37% QoQ.

Global investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) will invest $250 million in Serentica Renewables to help ramp up its clean energy portfolio and provide energy transition solutions to industries. The latest investment builds on the $400 million investment from KKR last November. Serentica Renewables is owned by KKR and Twinstar Overseas, which also has controlling stakes in Sterlite Power Transmission and Sterlite Technologies.

The Government of India will auction the 5.9 million tons of lithium reserves found in Jammu and Kashmir’s Reasi district in December this year, the Secretary of the Ministry of Mines Vivek Bharadwaj said. The Secretary was quoted by ANI news agency saying that the ministry has written to the J&K administration seeking a transaction advisor for the auction.

India generated approximately 29 billion units (BU) of solar power in Q1 of the calendar year 2023, a 31% YoY increase. The country’s solar energy generation has steadily increased over the years, reflecting the rise in installations. India produced about 95.2 BU of solar power in 2022, up 38% YoY from the 68.8 BU generated in 2021.

The government-owned power sector lender REC listed its recently issued green bonds, which raised $750 million under its global medium-term $7 billion program at the GIFT International Financial Services Centre Stock Exchanges in Gandhinagar. The issue was oversubscribed 3.5 times and saw active participation from 161 investors from across the globe, with Asia Pacific contributing 42%, Europe, Middle East & Africa 26%, and the US 32%.

Foreign Direct investment (FDI) in India’s renewable energy sector stood at $838 million (~₹69.2 billion) in the fourth quarter of the financial year (FY) 2023, a 102% increase year-over-year (YoY) compared to $415 million (~₹32.1 billion). There has been no FDI in coal production after FY14, while petroleum and natural gas investments have been stable.

India’s oil and gas major, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), announced plans to invest ₹1 trillion (~$12 billion) by 2030 in renewable energy transition projects. To accelerate its renewable energy portfolio, ONGC plans to increase electricity generation from renewable sources from 189 MW to 1 GW by 2030.

Bengaluru-based energy startup EMO Energy, which builds battery packs for high-power applications, raised ₹100 million (~$1.2 million) in a seed round led by Transition Venture Capital. The round was co-led by Gruhas. EMO Energy offers battery packs for light electric vehicles.

India exported solar cells and modules worth $479 million (~₹39.5 billion) in Q1 of 2023, a staggering increase of 6,293% YoY. On a QoQ basis, exports rose 29% from $371 million (~₹30.6 billion). During January-March, the U.S. was the top destination for solar exports from India, with 99.2% of the market share. India imported solar cells and modules worth $812 million (~₹67.06 billion) during the quarter, a decline of 34% YoY.

Renewables-focused infrastructure investment trust Virescent Renewable Energy Trust signed definitive agreements under which IndiGrid will acquire all units of Virescent for up to ₹40 billion (~$487 million). IndiGrid executed a unit purchase agreement with Virescent on May 12, 2023, to acquire 100% of the latter’s units in one or more tranches.

Hyderabad-based deep-tech battery swapping company RACEnergy raised $3 million in debt and equity in a pre-series A round funding. Growx Ventures led the funding round, with participation from Micelio Mobility, Huddle, and several angel investors. It intends to use the funds to develop its battery-swapping technology and construct new facilities to support its growing operations.

BluSmart Mobility, an electric vehicle ride-hailing service and charging infrastructure operator, secured $42 million in its most recent funding round. It plans to use the latest funding to further scale its operations and penetrate mega-cities. The funding exercise consisted of an equity round worth $37 million and a venture debt worth $5 million, with 50% of the funding subscribed by the BluSmart founders and leadership team.