Month in a Minute: Top Headlines from the Indian Renewable Sector in February 2022

India installed a record 10 GW of new solar capacity in 2021


Here is a recap of some of the most important headlines from February 2022:

India installed a record 10 GW of new solar capacity in 2021, a big jump of 210% year-over-year (YoY) compared to 3.2 GW installed in 2020, according to Mercom India Research’s recently released Q4 & Annual India Solar Market Update report. This is the highest ever capacity of solar installations in a year in India. The cumulative installed solar capacity stood at 49.3 GW. The country also has a development pipeline of over 53 GW. In Q4 2021, India added 2.6 GW of solar, a decline of 7% compared to 2.8 GW installed in Q3 2021. The installations increased by 74% YoY compared to 1.5 GW in Q4 2020.

Solar tenders totaling approximately 6 GW were floated by various government agencies in the fourth quarter (Q4) of the calendar year (CY) 2021, an increase of 6% compared to 5.8 GW in Q3 2021, according to Mercom India Research. The figures were down by 26% compared to the same period last year. The auction activity decreased by 52% quarter-over-quarter (QoQ), and the numbers stood at 4.3 GW for the quarter, compared to 8.9 GW in Q3 2021. The numbers increased by 44% compared to the same period last year.

Distribution companies (DISCOMs) owed renewable generators ₹141.42 billion (~$1.89 billion) in overdue payments (excluding disputed amounts) at the end of January 2022, according to the data released by the Ministry of Power. The figure reported for January was 27% lower than ₹194.52 billion (~$2.61 billion) posted at the end of December 2021. According to the data released by PRAAPTI, the outstanding amount to renewable generators at the end of the month stood at ₹11.75 billion (~$157.13 million).

In 2021, India imported solar cells and modules worth $3.52 billion (~₹262.6 billion), an increase of 641% compared to 2020. In 2020, the Indian solar sector had imported solar modules and cells worth nearly $475.78 million (~₹34.65 billion). Exports increased by 58%, amounting to $133.36 million (~₹9.88 billion) in 2021 compared to $84.16 million (~₹6.13 billion) in 2020. The imports soared as the industry started to recover from the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the delayed projects resumed construction activity.

The self-certification of solar photovoltaic (PV) inverters under the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has been extended from December 31, 2021, to June 30, 2022, via a new notification issued by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). However, the deadline is subject to the condition that manufacturers have valid International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) accreditation and test reports from international test labs for the smooth implementation of the order.

India’s installed renewable energy capacity, including large hydro projects, stood at 150.4 GW, accounting for a share of 38.41% in the overall power mix at the end of the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2021, according to data from the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), and Mercom’s India Solar Project Tracker. The share of renewables increased marginally from the last quarter when the total renewable installations were 148.08 GW, with a share of 38%.

India generated approximately 68.77 billion units (BU) of solar power in the calendar year (CY) 2021, an 18% year-over-year (YoY) increase compared to 58.19 BU generated in the previous year, driven by new capacity installations. According to Mercom’s Q3 2021 India Solar Market Update Report, India installed 7.4 GW of new solar capacity in the first nine months of 2021, a 335% YoY increase compared to 1.73 GW installed in the same period last year. The cumulative installed capacity at the end of Q3 2021 stood at 47 GW.

REC Limited disbursed ₹4.7 billion (~$62.93 million) in loans to the renewable energy sector in the third quarter (Q3) of the financial year (FY) 2022. This amount was a 10% increase from ₹4.27 billion (~$57.17 million) paid out in the same period last year. In Q3 FY 2022, the company provided ₹118.39 billion (~$1.58 billion) in loans to the power sector, compared to ₹186.98 billion (~$2.5 billion) in the same period last year.

India added 1.45 GW of wind capacity in 2021, a 30% year-over-year (YoY) increase compared to 1.11 GW installed in the previous year, according to the recent data released by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. India had over 40 GW of installed wind capacity at the end of 2021. However, capacity additions declined 58% YoY in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2021 with 212 MW, compared to 500 MW in 2020.

The Indian Energy Exchange (IEX) traded 280 million units (MU) of renewable energy in January 2022, a 23.28% month-over-month (MoM) decline compared to 365 MU traded in the previous month. The exchange traded 8.65 billion units (BU) of energy during the month, with a 16% year-over-year (YoY) growth. Energy consumption increased 2.43% YoY to 112.67 BU in the month. In January 2022, the peak power demand stood at 192.07 GW, with a 1.09% YoY growth.

Three subsidiaries of Adani Green Energy (AGEL) – Adani Green Energy (UP), Prayatna Developers, and Parampujya Solar Energy have raised ₹6.123 billion (~$82.04 million) by their maiden domestic bond issuance on a private placement basis. According to the company statement, the rated, listed, secured, and redeemable non-convertible debentures (NCDs) of the face value of ₹1 million (~$13,383.55) each, in multiple series, have an average annualized coupon rate of 7.83% per annum, which is significantly lower than existing debt. The NCDs have a tenure of up to ~12 years. The proceeds from the NCDs will be utilized to part-refinance an existing rupee term loan bearing a higher interest cost.

The Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) has announced an updated list of successful bidders for setting up manufacturing capacities for a minimum of 10 GW of vertically-integrated high-efficiency solar modules under the production-linked incentive (PLI) program. According to the updated list, Reliance New Energy Solar’s PLI award amount is increased to ₹19.17 billion (~$254.24 million) for a capacity of 4 GW. Adani Infrastructure has been awarded a PLI of ₹6.63 billion (~$87.93 million) for a capacity of nearly 737 MW under the bucket filling method. Jindal India Solar Energy, which was awarded a PLI of ₹13.90 billion (~$186.8 million), decided to opt out of the bidding process.

The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) disbursed payments to the tune of ₹5.43 billion (~$72 million) to solar and wind power generators for the power purchased in January 2022. The disbursed amount accounted for 78% of the total amount paid by the nodal agency in the month. The nodal agency disbursed a total amount of ₹6.9 billion (~$91.51 million) during January, which included solar and wind power purchases, reimbursements to developers, duties, and other remunerations.