News Highlights from India’s Renewable Energy Sector in July 2019

The month witnessed the announcement of the much-anticipated Budget 2019


The month of July was filled with significant happenings in all segments of the renewable industry. While the biggest event of the month was the introduction of the Budget 2019, numerous other developments in the sector made the headlines during the month.

Here are some of the important news updates from the month:

The month of July saw unprecedented tension between the newly-elected state government of Andhra Pradesh and renewable energy developers. The Jaganmohan Reddy-led government set out to cancel the power purchase agreements signed with renewable developers during the previous government’s term, alleging corruption. The matter escalated quickly with the state overlooking the center’s advice and renewable developers moving the high court for respite. The court granted relief, but the state has now begun curtailing renewable power and seeks to cancel 21 wind PPAs.

The Union Budget for FY 2019-2020, announced on July 5, 2019, was promising for the country’s non-conventional energy sector. The government expressed its support towards the renewable and nascent electric vehicle industry through tax incentives to speed up the transition of the automobile industry from fossil fuel dependent to electric.

The Government of India issued an advisory for submitting required documents for the waiver of interstate transmission system (ISTS) charges and losses on the transmission of electricity generated from solar and wind projects. Solar and wind projects have been advised to submit documents for the fulfillment of provisions for availing the waiver for the use of ISTS network within ten days of commissioning of the project.

Mercom reported about the lack of insurance in India’s solar industry, which needs to be addressed by the government. Indian solar module manufacturers often point out that the Chinese government has made it a point to provide module insurance, thereby making it more attractive to solar PV project developers.

Uber, the world’s largest personal mobility company, signed a pact with SUN Mobility, a leading energy infrastructure, and services provider, to deploy electric autos which would help provide an affordable and clean commuting option to its riders.

The National Solar Energy Federation of India (NSEFI) wrote to the Minister for Power R. K. Singh, seeking the creation of a fund for providing liquidity to state distribution companies (DISCOMs) which would help solar producers.

A corpus of ₹29.37 billion (~$0.43 billion) has been provided for off-grid renewable energy generation sources in the past three consecutive budgets, beginning with FY 2016-17 and ending FY 2018-19, R.K. Singh announced in Rajya Sabha.

During the first quarter (Q1) of the financial year (FY) 2019-20, India’s power supply increased slightly with the power deficit declining to 0.4% from the 0.6% recorded during the Q1 of FY 2018-19, according to the data provided by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA). Moreover, the country’s southern and western region recorded zero power deficit.

In the first half of 2019, funding activity in the solar sector was on an upward trajectory when compared to the same period last year. Total corporate funding (including venture capital funding, public market, and debt financing) for the solar sector globally came to $6 billion in the first half of 2019. This data was revealed in Mercom Capital Group’s newly released 1H 2019 Solar Funding and M&A report.

In an exclusive interview with Mercom, Prashant Mathur, Chief Marketing Officer at Adani Solar, discussed prevalent trends in the Indian solar module manufacturing sector. Mathur predicted that further decline in the price of Indian solar modules is unlikely in the near future.

BattRE, a technology-driven startup manufacturing electric scooters, received an undisclosed amount of funding from Tata Motors’ former President Gajendra Chandel. The funds will be utilized for the launch of new models, increasing production capacity, and scaling the distribution and service networks. PURE EV, an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Hyderabad-incubated startup, also raised an undisclosed amount of funding.

In a comprehensive report, Mercom analyzed how many developers in the domestic solar sector have been compromising on the quality of module mounting structures to cut the overall cost of project development.

In a significant development for the country’s power sector, the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) granted a ‘Category I Electricity Trading License’ to the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) for electricity trading.

Switzerland-headquartered ABB and Italian company FIMER signed an agreement under which FIMER will acquire ABB’s solar inverter business.

Amid the poor air quality in the nation’s capital, the Delhi government has decided to officially close the Rajghat thermal power project spread across 45-acre land and develop it into a 5 MW solar park. The coal-based project, having a power generation capacity of 135 MW and located at Yamuna Bank, was commissioned in 1989.

The Rajasthan state government in its budget has exempted solar energy from electricity duty and announced that it would focus on the utilization of solar power in its agriculture and public health sectors. The budget targets setting up of 1,426 MW of wind and 4,885 MW of solar energy projects in the next five years.

It was announced in the Lok Sabha that the foreign direct investment (FDI) has increased over the past five financial years. The FDI inflow has increased significantly since the formation of Invest India, a program formed in 2009 under Section 25 of the Companies Act 1956 for the promotion of foreign investment in the domestic market. Overall, in the past five fiscal years, the Indian power sector has attracted FDI totaling $5.4 billion while non-conventional energy sector attracted FDI totaling $4.8 billion.

Lastly, July also witnessed the official launch of the indigenously manufactured three-wheeler eco-friendly autorickshaws in Kerala. The company aims to manufacture 500 vehicles which will be available in the market by September 2019. The vehicle will run at the cost of 50 paise (~$0.00725)/km.