Solar and Non-Solar REC Trading Plummets in April

April is also the first month of compliance that could be another reason for low recorded activity


Due to the lockdown caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there was a significant decrease in the trade volume of both solar and non-solar renewable energy certificates (RECs) in April 2020.

In April 2020, the Indian solar market further witnessed a considerable dip in the trade volume. The non-solar clearing price touched as low as ₹1,000 (~$14)/REC on both the exchanges, while solar RECs’ cleared price was ₹2,400 (~$34)/REC in IEX portal and ₹2,000 (~$26.52)/REC in PXIL.

The non-solar clearing price remained at ₹1,000 (~$14)/REC on both the exchanges, while the solar REC clearing price was ₹2,400 (~$34)/REC.

A cumulative sum of 20,842 solar RECs was traded on both the Indian Energy Exchange (IEX) and Power Exchange India Limited (PXIL). Out of the total, 15,991 and 4,851 solar RECs were traded on the IEX and PXIL, respectively.

Comparatively, March fared better with 48,682 solar RECs traded on the Indian Energy Exchange and Power Exchange India Limited. Out of the total, 39,299 and 9,383 solar RECs were traded on the IEX and PXIL, respectively, according to Mercom’s previous REC update.

On the IEX, the trade volume of solar RECs in April 2020 dropped 59% compared to March. On the PXIL, the trade volume dipped by 48%. Overall, the trade volume dropped 57% compared to the previous month.

On the IEX, the sale bid for solar RECs in April was at 15,991, and the buy bid was at 38,176. Whereas on PXIL, the sale bid for solar RECs was 10,127, and the buy bid was at 4,851.

On the IEX, the price discovered for solar RECs remained the same at ₹2,400 (~$34)/ REC but the REC price on PXIL was ₹2,000 (~$26.52)/ REC as compared to ₹2,400 (~$34)/ REC in March. Hence, there was a drop of 17% compared to the previous month.

Compared to last year’s April trading sessions, there was a 75% drop on IEX and a 76% reduction on PXIL.

A senior official of PXIL told Mercom that there could be three reasons for the drop in REC trading in April 2020. He said, “Apart from the COVID-19 impact, April is the first month of compliance. So, the month will see mostly open access customers participating in the trade, whereas big players like the distribution companies do not participate much.”

The third reason, he pointed out, was the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission’s (CERC) proposal for new forbearance prices.

“The CERC has proposed the forbearance price to be ₹1,000 (~$14) each for solar and non-solar RECs for 2020, against the 2017’s prices of ₹2,400 (~$34)/REC and ₹3,000 (~$39.60)/REC, respectively. It has also proposed to reduce the floor price to zero. So, the big players are waiting for the outcome,” he added.

Solar REC Market Trading

The trading of non-solar RECs also saw a drop of 73% when compared to March. 217,093 non-solar RECs were traded on the IEX and PXIL compared to 789,766 in March.

Non-Solar REC Market Trading

The volume of non-solar RECs traded on IEX stood at 172,488 as compared to 480,379 in March, whereas the volume of RECs traded on PXIL stood at 44,605 against 309,387 last month.

On the PXIL, the sale bid for non-solar RECs was 106,339, and the buy bid stood at 44,605. On the IEX, the sale bid stood at 439,233, and the buy bid stood at 172,488.

In April 2020, the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission passed an order extending the validity of renewable energy certificates to avoid demand-supply imbalances in the REC market. It extended the validity of RECs that expired on April 1, 2020, to October 31, 2020. Additionally, it extended the validity of RECs set to expire between April 1, 2020, and September 30, 2020, so that they remain valid until October 31, 2020.

Anjana is a news editor at Mercom India. Before joining Mercom, she held roles of senior editor, district correspondent, and sub-editor for The Times of India, Biospectrum and The Sunday Guardian. Before that, she worked at the Deccan Herald and the Asianlite as chief sub-editor and news editor. She has also contributed to The Quint, Hindustan Times, The New Indian Express, Reader’s Digest (UK edition), IndiaSe (Singapore-based magazine) and Asiaville. Anjana holds a Master’s degree in Geography from North Bengal University, and a diploma in mass communication and journalism from Guru Ghasidas University, Bhopal.