India x Cleantech — September 2020

Welcome to another issue of our new India x Cleantech series! On a monthly basis, we are pulling news from across clean technology sectors in India into a single, concise summary article about the country.

Cleantech Investments

Actis Acquires 400 Megawatt Solar Capacity From Acme

UK-based private equity firm Actis has made yet another acquisition in the Indian renewable energy space. This time, it has acquired 400 megawatts of solar power assets from one of India’s leading private renewable energy companies — Acme Cleantech Solutions. Actis had earlier acquired Ostro Energy (a large wind energy IPP) and Sprng Energy, which operates large-scale solar power projects across India.

Indian Companies Line Up Investments In Solar Equipment Manufacturing Business

With numerous incentives being announced by the Indian government, corporates are now lining up with new proposals to set up manufacturing units for solar equipment. These incentives are part of a self-sufficiency drive launched by the government to offset the economic decline due to the COVID pandemic and reduce dependence on Chinese imports. According to media reports, the ministry of new and renewable energy has received proposals to set up 10 gigawatts of solar equipment production facilities.

Electric Transport

Indian Government Looks To Reduce Cost Of Ownership Of Electric Vehicles

The Indian ministry for road transportation and highways has decided to allow the registration of electric cars that are not pre-fitted with batteries. This is expected to reduce the cost of registration of vehicles as the battery constitutes 30-40% of the total cost of the vehicle. The Indian government has been looking at measures to incentivize the purchase of electric vehicles, which, even after several subsidies, cost more than the equivalent conventional vehicles.

Delhi Announces Electric Vehicle Policy

The government of Delhi has unveiled a new policy to promote use of electric vehicles. The government will offer subsidies of up to US$2,040 on the purchase of electric cars and US$410 on the purchase of electric 2-wheelers and 3-wheelers. Through this policy, the government aims for a goal of having a fourth of all new registrations be for electric vehicles by 2024. The government also aims to add 200 electric charging stations in a year.

Renewable Energy & Batteries

India Plans Blending Thermal Power With Solar & Wind Energy

India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has issued guidelines for round-the-clock supply of electricity by bundling solar and thermal power. This type of bundling of renewable energy with thermal energy is a first-of-a-kind in the world, wherein consistent power to the grid is ensured without worrying about grid stability issues. Under the new guidelines, power project developers can sign power purchase agreements with the discoms for a 24/7 supply containing at least 51% renewable power, while the balance will come from coal-fired power plants. The developers can have battery storage to support renewable power projects.

Sembcorp Commissions 800 Megawatts Of Wind Energy Projects

Sembcorp Energy India Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Singapore-based Sembcorp Industries, has announced the completion of its 800 MW wind energy projects in India. The wind projects were awarded to Sembcorp under the first, second, and third auctions conducted by Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI). The company was awarded 250 megawatts of wind capacity under the first SECI auction, whereas 250 megawatts and 300 megawatts, respectively, were awarded to the company under the second and third SECI auctions.

1.2 Gigawatts Of Solar Power Capacity Auctioned At US¢3.24 Per Kilowatt-hour

A tender was floated by NTPC Limited, India’s largest power generation company. It sought bids for the development of 1.2 gigawatts of solar PV capacity. The maximum allowed tariff bid was Rs 2.78 (US¢3.71) per kilowatt-hour. The tender received a healthy response from developers, and a total of six developers submitted initial bids to set up 1.7 gigawatts of capacity. The initial bids were submitted by ReNew Power, O2 Power, AMP Solar, Sungrow, Tata Power, and Azure Power. In the final round, 1,170 megawatts of capacity was allocated among four developers. O2 Power, Tata Power, and Azure Power secured the rights to develop 400 megawatts, 370 megawatts, and 300 megawatts, while AMP Solar secured 100 megawatts. ReNew Power did not bag any capacity. The lowest tariff bid submitted was Rs 2.43 (US¢3.24) per kilowatt-hour. 

India Extends Crucial Incentive For Solar & Wind Power Projects

As India struggles to achieve its ambitious 160-gigawatt solar and wind power target by 2022, it has once again extended the expiry of a crucial incentive for those projects. The Ministry of Power extended the expiry of waiver of inter-state transmission charges available to solar and wind power projects. All such projects that are commissioned before 30 June 2023 will not be required to pay any inter-state transmission charges for a period of 25 years. The initial date of expiry of this incentive was 30 June 2017, which was first extended to 31 December 2019, then 31 March 2022, and later until 31 December 2022. The latest extension may have been the result of delay in commissioning of solar and wind projects due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

India May Levy Import Duty On Chinese Wind Energy Equipment

The Indian government may impose a solar-like safeguard duty on wind turbine components to curb Chinese imports. With the recent border dispute with China along the Line of Actual Control, the Indian government is looking to reduce dependence on Chinese imports by discouraging developers to import Chinese equipment and encourage investors to develop domestic manufacturing facilities. According to government sources, the government is planning to levy higher taxes on wind turbine components and generators to encourage the use of domestic wind turbine equipment.  

India To Promote New Solar Manufacturing Zones

To reduce dependence on Chinese solar equipment, the Indian government is planning to set up new manufacturing zones. According to the minister for new and renewable energy, these zones will be located near ports to facilitate logistics. The move is the latest one in a series of measures taken and being considered by the Indian government to reduce Chinese solar imports. The government extended a safeguard duty on Chinese imports for one more year and is considering imposing a customs duty. It has also announced several other incentives to promote domestic production of solar power equipment.

Indian Railways Plans To Set Up 20 Gigawatts Of Solar Power Capacity By 2030

The Indian Railways plans to achieve full electrification of its network over the next few years, and the use of solar power will be central to this plan. The minister for railways announced that Indian Railways will set up 20 gigawatts of solar power capacity by 2030. It has already issued tenders to set up 3 gigawatts of large-scale solar power projects across the country. It is also working to install rooftop solar power projects atop railway stations. 

Indian Manufacturers Urge Indian Government To Levy 50% Import Duty On Chinese Solar Equipment

The All India Solar Industries Association (AISIA) has proposed that the government levy a 50% import duty on solar equipment coming from China. India currently imposes a 14.9% safeguard duty on Chinese cell and module imports. AISIA officials claim that this does not deter developers from buying Chinese modules, which are comparatively cheaper than Indian modules.

NTPC, Greenko Partner To Supply On-demand Renewable Energy

A subsidiary of India’s largest power generation company, NTPC, and a leading private renewable energy generator, Greenko Energy Holdings, have signed a memorandum of understanding to supply on-demand wind and solar power to consumers. Greenko Energy Holdings is among the largest renewable energy generators in India with a portfolio of 6.4 gigawatts and is working on 7.2 gigawatts of storage projects. Government-owned NTPC has around a gigawatt of renewable energy capacity and is looking to expand its green power base to 32 gigawatts by 2032.

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