Month in a Minute: Top Headlines from Indian Renewable Sector in May 2021

Solar power generation in Q1 2021 was higher by 23% compared to the last quarter


Here is a recap of some of the most important headlines from May 2021:

In the first quarter (Q1) of the calendar year (CY) 2021, India generated about 17.5 BU of solar power compared to 14.2 BU in the previous quarter. The data shows that normalcy was returning with solar generation higher than the pre-Covid levels of Q1 2020. Solar power generation in Q1 2021 was higher by 23% compared to the last quarter, and it was nearly 14% higher compared to the same period last year.

SHV Energy, a Netherlands-based global distributor of liquefied petroleum gas, has acquired a majority stake in India-based distributed solar company SunSource Energy. The investment amount is undisclosed.

Distribution companies owed ₹120.25 billion (~$1.62 billion) to renewable energy generators (excluding disputed amounts) in overdue payments across 283 pending invoices at the end of March 2021, according to data released by the Ministry of Power (MoP). The figures were slightly lower than those reported for February 2021, when the distribution companies owed ₹123.45 billion (~$1.68 billion) to renewable energy generators (excluding disputed amounts) in overdue payments across 206 pending invoices.

The second Covid-19 surge is wreaking havoc in India, with cases surpassing six figures daily. Although India has not declared a nationwide lockdown, several states where the cases have peaked substantially are resorting to preventive measures, including lockdowns. As the health crisis threatens to get out of control, Mercom took an in-depth look at what is transpiring on the ground to understand the situation at various project sites across the country.

Indian Energy Exchange (IEX) traded a record 78 MU of solar power in April, a 272% surge from the 21 MU traded in March 2021. The exchange’s real-time power market registered a trading volume of 7,707 MU in April 2021, achieving a 90.2% YoY growth.

Virescent Renewable Energy Trust, a platform created by global investment company KKR to acquire renewable energy assets in India, announced that it had acquired 76 MW of solar projects from Singapore-based Sindicatum Renewable Energy. Backed by KKR, Virescent will acquire Sindicatum’s assets spread across Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh. In Gujarat, Sindicatum operates two solar projects.

The European Investment Bank and the State Bank of India have launched a new initiative of €100 million (~$121.63 million) for climate action and sustainability financing. The official announcement to this effect was made at the European Union-India leaders’ meet in Portugal. This is one of the first private equity operations by the European Investment Bank in India.

Noida-based packaged snacks manufacturer DFM Foods announced that they have invested ₹9.6 million (~$130,672) to acquire 5.57% equity shares in Belenus Solar Private Limited, a special purpose vehicle of Fourth Partner Energy, a distributed solar company.

JSW Hydro Energy – a wholly-owned subsidiary of JSW Energy – has raised $707 million (~₹52 billion) through its green bond sale. The proceeds from the sale will be utilized to repay the company’s existing green project-related loans.

In the Q1 CY 2021, India imported solar cells and modules amounting to $259 million (~₹18.93 billion), a 132% increase compared to Q4 CY 2020. The numbers are 72% higher than $150.57 million (~₹10.83 billion) during the same period last year.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), in a notification, has stated that the renewable energy projects having their commissioning dates on or after April 1, 2021, can claim extension owing to the second surge of the Covid-19 pandemic. MNRE has, however, cautioned developers that the time extension should not be used as a ground for the termination of the power purchase agreement or claiming any increase in the project cost, including interest during construction or upward revision of the tariff.

In the wake of the disruptive second wave of the Covid-19 across the country, the MNRE has announced that for renewable energy projects that are implemented from April 1, 2021, the submission of physical copies will be waived off. The implementing agencies will accept digital copies of the invoices. The arrangement will continue for a period to be decided based on the Covid-19 developments in the coming weeks.

The Union Cabinet has approved the ‘National Program on Advanced Chemistry Cell Battery Storage’ under the production-linked incentive initiative. According to the Cabinet’s notification, the program aims to achieve 50 GWh of advanced chemistry cell and 5 GWh of niche advanced chemistry cell manufacturing capacity with an outlay of ₹181 billion (~$2.46 billion).

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry, in an official statement, has announced that the Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) has initiated an anti-dumping probe on imports of solar cells imported from China, Vietnam, and Thailand. The DGTR has started the inquiry based on the petition filed by the Indian Solar Manufacturers Association.

The IEX’s revenue in FY 2021 was up by nearly 20% and stood at ₹3.56 billion (~$48.48 million) compared to ₹2.97 billion (~$40.45 million) in the previous year. According to the company’s financial statement, the increase in revenues can be attributed to the 41% increase in transaction revenue.

The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has granted Pranurja Solution Limited (PSL) registration the right to establish and operate a power exchange. It would make PSL the third power exchange in India after IEX and Power Exchange India.

The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) paid nearly ₹4.33 billion (~$58.99 million) to solar and wind developers for the power it purchased in March 2021, as per the data released by the nodal agency. These disbursements accounted for 70.5% of the total amount disbursed by the agency during the month.

Adani Green Energy Limited (AGEL) has signed a share purchase agreement to acquire a 100% stake in SB Energy India from Soft Bank Group (80%) and Bharti Group (20%). The transaction values SB Energy India at an enterprise valuation of about $3.5 billion (~₹260 billion). The transaction is expected to be completed by August 2021. SB Energy India has a total renewable portfolio of 4,954 MW spread across four states in India.

The Delhi High Court has directed the Government of India to consider including hydrogen fuel cell-based electric vehicles and hydrogen refueling stations under the ambit of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME-II) program.

Adani Renewable Energy Holding Four Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of AGEL, has transferred 74% shareholding of Mundra Solar Energy Limited to Adani Tradecom LLP on May 21, 2021.

The Renewable Energy Association of Rajasthan (REAR) has written to the Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corporation (RREC), requesting a deadline extension for rooftop solar projects to allow the stakeholders to cope with the Covid-19-related constraints. Developers have also sought support from the nodal agency to complete the ‘Rooftop Solar Power Generation Program 2019-20’.

The crucial duty of protecting domestic solar cell and module manufacturers in India against imports from China PR, Thailand, and Vietnam is set to end on July 29, 2021. Until the basic customs duty starts from April 1, 2022, a nine-month no-duty period has the manufacturers concerned. The project developers are keen on utilizing this rare duty-free period to ramp up their module procurement.

India added 2,056 MW of solar in the first quarter of 2021, a 37% increase quarter-over-quarter (QoQ), compared to 1,505 MW installed in the fourth quarter of 2020. These findings were revealed in Mercom India Research’s latest Q1 2021 India Solar Market Update. Solar installations in Q1 2021 were up by 88% YoY compared to 1,090 MW added during the same period last year. Solar capacity additions in India in Q1 2021 were the highest in a quarter since Q3 2019.

The MoP has decided to set up a national mission on the use of biomass in coal-powered thermal power plants. The main purpose of the mission is to address rampant air pollution caused by the burning of farm stubble and reduce the carbon footprint in thermal power generation. The proposed national mission on biomass will also contribute to the National Clean Air Program.

In a recent meeting, the Forum of Regulators discussed factors affecting the cost of power and stressed the need to analyze and evolve measures to reduce or contain the retail tariff. The working group made certain recommendations, highlighting the need for a coordinated effort by the central and the state governments to address high retail tariffs.

Renewable independent power producer Vena Energy has signed its first sustainability-linked revolving credit facility of JPY52.8 billion (~$500 million) from eight lenders. A revolving credit facility is a line of credit provided by a financial institution and a corporate entity. The facility will have a maximum amount stipulated and the company can access the funds whenever needed.

In a green push, the Chief Minister of Goa, Pramod Sawant, has inaugurated a solar PV-based electrification program focusing on delivering clean, affordable, and reliable energy to those residing in remote, rural areas of the state. The solar PV-based home lighting system is a green initiative of Convergence Energy Services Limited (CESL) and Goa Energy Development Agency. CESL is a subsidiary of the state-owned Energy Efficiency Services Limited.


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