Author: PV-Tech

CSUN India dispute a ‘one-off case’, says ACME Solar

India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has warned domestic companies against using solar modules from Chinese supplier CSUN, having received complaints from several Indian firms.

One of India’s leading developers, ACME Solar, which has 2.5GW of solar capacity in operation and 4GW at various stages of development, was one of the complainants.

Sandeep Kashyap, president of ACME, told PV Tech: “We have dealt with most of the Tier 1/Major module suppliers from China and find this to be a special one-off case so far. Having said that, we also understand CSUN, with 1.2GW of integrated facilities, has defaulted with multiple developers in India in the last two years.”

Indeed, the Consulate General of India in Shanghai has also reported that CSUN is a “high risk” company with more than 160 court cases filed against it in Chinese courts in the last five years, mainly for similar breaches of contract, showing the firm to be what Kashyap described as “a habitual offender”.

An MNRE notice said that CSUN had breached module supply contracts with Indian firms and failed to return advance payments made to them. The Ministry noted one specific case where the matter had been settled in favour of an Indian company through the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (see boxed text below), but CSUN has not yet honoured the ruling.

In the light of its approaching solar target of 100GW by 2022, MNRE stated: “Such breach of valid contracts and not supplying modules on time by foreign companies cannot be tolerated.”

Tier trouble

Kashyap noted that CSUN had been a member of Bloomberg’s Tier-1 list of module suppliers at the time of the procurement, a list which is referred to by many global buyers and financial institutions, however, since then, CSUN has been taken off the list.

The BNEF solar tiering team told PV Tech that it was fully aware of CSUN’s financial situation and highlighted that the first paragraph of its tiering list methodology, which has been online in more or less the same form since 2012, states this “should never replace a proper due diligence process in product selection”.

Kashyap said MNRE has been trying to ensure supply from reputed and serious module manufacturers in India through new quality standards and introducing its ‘Approved List of Models and Manufacturers (ALMM)’, in which it will be compulsory for all module suppliers in or into India to enlist after March 2020. For the ALMM, inspection teams will ascertain, as far as possible, that there are no contractual violations on part of the applicant in supply of cells or modules.

Kashyap added that ACME was grateful to MNRE for responding to the complaints and safeguarding the industry from contractors that don’t fulfil their commitments.

Escalation risk

Adding an alternative viewpoint, Vinay Rustagi, managing director of consultancy firm Bridge to India, said: “Unfortunately, this has been the nature of market - the breaches have been going on for a long time on both sides.

“The government action, while laudable, creates the risk of escalation when trade anxieties are already very high. We believe that such matters should ideally be resolved by private companies themselves or by industry associations.”

MNRE said Indian companies would now be dealing with CSUN at their own risk and advised companies to contact Indian authorities in China to verify the reputation of Chinese companies before placing any orders. It is also informing banks and lending institutions on the matter.

The ACME Case

According to ACME Solar, it placed an order with CSUN for the supply of 30MW of solar PV modules on 20 September 2017. It paid a 30% advance on 25 September 2017, but CSUN failed to supply 30MW modules to ACME. The two parties then mutually agreed to reduce the capacity to 9MW – equivalent to the advance amount paid to CSUN – however, CSUN again failed to supply 9MW modules and did not return the advance amount paid by ACME.

ACME stated: “This has happened for the first time [during the] last nine years of module purchasing from China. CSUN is the only one amongst most suppliers which defaulted on meeting their contractual obligations.”

In March 2018, ACME applied under Rule 5.1 of the SIAC (Singapore International Arbitration Centre) for the arbitration to be conducted. CSUN did not appear in any of the arbitration hearings.

On 24 January 2019, Arbitral Tribunal ordered CSUN to pay the claimant more than US$4 million for damages for breach of contract with additional legal and arbitration costs.

PV Tech has contacted CSUN for comment but the Chinese firm has yet to reply.

India starts review phase on technology-selection for multi-GW of new cell and module facilities

Following recent announcements from the government departments administering India’s solar PV growth ambitions, the country is now in the process of working out how to expand its domestic upstream manufacturing capacity, at a time when the PV industry is going through a period of rapid technology-change and supplier competition.

Having been through various (albeit at reduced levels) manufacturing capacity expansion phases over the past couple of decades, it really is crunch time for prudent decision-making across both domestic and overseas investors, seeking to move India finally to manufacturing powerhouse status.

The article discusses the opportunity and challenges involved for India to realize the addition of 5-10 GW of new cell and module manufacturing capacity, now being spelled out through a combination of domestic content requirement (DCR) and manufacturing-linked supply-arrangements designed specifically to create a risk-free sales pipeline to stimulate multi-GW levels of annual cell and module production within India.

The timing of the government-body announcements over the past few months is particularly relevant to PV-Tech’s inaugural PV IndiaTech 2019 conference that takes place in Delhi on 24-25 April 2019. This article previews the conference themes, companies lined up to speak, and how such an event has the potential of educating not just the entire Indian solar segment, but also overseas investors and manufacturing/technology suppliers that are lining up to benefit from the capex uptick from 2020 onwards.

Understanding the drivers for Make-in-India PV manufacturing

India has a heritage in solar cell manufacturing that predates the first major industry growth phase, and well before the days of GW-level global end-market deployment. Government-owned and domestic-run conglomerates such as Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited and Tata epitomised early PV fervour: the JV cell facility operated by Tata BP Solar in Bangalore was at the time one of the most eagerly-tracked manufacturing sites of global industry observers.

Indeed, anyone glancing at MNRE’s compendium of cell producing companies in recent years can see almost all of the early cell manufacturing advocates still listed, despite the fact that very few are running lines today in any competitive manner.

Two other mini expansions booms have occurred within India during the past 15 years. The first one (dating back to before 2010) was stimulated by the goal of exporting cells to module producers outside India. The second phase was prompted by the National Solar Mission’s stimulus in domestic module supply to installers and EPCs, and was accompanied by the market-entry of pure-play module producers, some of whom expanded to the GW-level.

Few, if any, within India, would be bold enough to assign these investment phases as being successful. The reality that unfolded saw a vibrant end-market dominated by Chinese and Southeast Asia produced modules flooding into the country, almost regardless of nominal import duties that were contemplated in order to artificially inflate domestic cell and modules sales prices.

The two major rounds of capacity expansions have also seen different subsets of production equipment suppliers benefiting from the spending cycles. The earlier expansion phase was characterized by turn-key lines being supplied to the country. The more recent phase saw specific European (mainly German and Italian) and Chinese tool suppliers being chosen, almost in a carbon-copy manner across different companies/facilities, with much of the technology advice again coming from European (German) origins, akin to a remote turn-key design/consultancy service.

Virtually everything installed during these phases, and in particular the most recent phase, was unfortunately based upon Al-BSF p-multi cells, at a time when the signs were clear within China that billions was being invested into mono and PERC. Fast-forward to today – and aside from any other cost/performance benefits associated with Chinese manufacturers – India now has several cell fabs using yesterday’s technology choice. Part of Adani’s GW expansion was afforded to mono, and these lines can be regarded today as the most advanced across the whole of India.

It is highly unlikely that the same approach to expansions will be adopted within India when things start anew from 2020 onwards. Indeed, the entire way that investors assess factory cost and technology metrics has to move from passive-caution to informed-progression; being much more educated about solar manufacturing trends is simply a must if India is to succeed third-time around in creating multi-GW of viable cell factories.

Benchmarking and reality-checking is an essential start-point

It may seem obvious that any investor seeking to formulate a new multi-billion dollar investment should undertake good sector benchmarking, but the solar industry is littered with investments that have been done on the back of fact-devoid hype and through wholly misunderstanding the gap between R&D results and GW factory operations.

A similar narrative can also be assigned to investments that have stoically followed the status-quo of the day, by merely adding more mainstream technology, but in a different country (as India did exactly in its last expansion phase). It is not necessary to be a technology expert, but thinking that copying the current mainstream offering today – and taking 2 years to build a factory – will result in anything other than tears is simply naïve.

India’s new expansion aspirations come at a fascinating point in PV technology change, with the industry having shifted from 80% p-multi Al-BSF cell production to 60% p-mono PERC (with optional bifaciality) in rapid time. Huge investments are pouring into n-type technologies, with many voices suggesting that existing p-mono producers need to adapt to n-type production with passivated contacting at the rear. Others are pushing the adoption of heterojunction lines, if full differentiation is needed, and especially if the expansion is linked to greenfield projects, often the case with new market-entrants.

Even among the multi-GW cell producers of today, there is much debate, with few willing to commit fully to just one technology in the near-to-mid-term. Of course, each has a strong preference, and the market today has only just shifted to p-mono PERC being the mainstream technology offering.

This is entirely a new landscape for investors to absorb, and has evolved very quickly in just 12-18 months. Good due-diligence while having some kind of flexible technology route is perhaps the most sound advice that can be offered within the India context today. For others, simply having an exit strategy to avoid throwing good money after bad may be the most prudent strategy.

PV IndiaTech 2019 has been refocused to help decision-making within India

As the announcements have come out from government departments over the past few months, we have received increased levels of requests from the industry about focusing the scope and content of our inaugural PV IndiaTech 2019 event on addressing many of the questions raised earlier within this article.

Many have cited the need for a substantially higher level of awareness and knowledge from the new types of organizations and institutions that are currently hoping to benefit in the post-DCR world from 2020 onwards. What is state-of-the-art today for cell and module production costs and efficiencies? How flexible does production need to be for multi/mono and mono/bifacial? Is it essential to move direct to n-type or can a viable cell/module business be effected today with p-mono bifacial module supply?
And behind all this also is the need to understand the role of materials used in cell/module assembly, such as glass, backsheets, etc., and what is needed by way of test/inspection, certification and bankability due-diligence.

Clearly, a range of domestic and overseas companies from wafer-supply to module-testing fall into the target group of key stakeholders set to attend PV IndiaTech 2019. However, two other groupings need to both hear and feed into all the suggestions on how India needs to spend its money on building the multi-GW of new cell/module factories from 2020 onwards.

The first is everything-governmental, as perhaps the institution with most to win (and most to lose) through erroneous technology and supplier selection. The other massive input however comes from project developers, EPCs, O&Ms, portfolio owners, and asset managers. Like-it-or-not, these parties are going to have to get accustomed to site builds and ROI analysis, where a significant part of the owned/operated assets is coming from domestic-produced cells/modules. Those sitting with a near-100% portfolio of assets using low-cost, low-grade (by China standards) 72-cell p-multi modules are the ones with most to learn, and hopefully to benefit from if all goes to plan!

Agenda for PV IndiaTech 2019

More detailed information on confirmed speakers, partnering companies and other features happening at PV IndiaTech 2019 can be found at the event website here.

The two-day event includes 11 sessions, with 3-4 companies speaking within each session. The session titles are shown here now:

• Understanding India’s PV competitiveness through investment & foreign company participation
• Benchmarking how India becomes a PV powerhouse: state-of-the-art practices by global leaders
• Growing the domestic sector: Make-in-India as a global gold-standard in the PV industry
• Test & inspection, certification of bankability metrics for modules deployed within India
• Identifying the barriers for Indian PV manufacturing competitiveness
• Overseas technology-transfer: research labs driving high-efficiency & low-cost PV manufacturing
• Maximizing PV return-on-investment through components, materials supply & BoS optimization
• Production equipment & materials supply to Indian PV cell & module fabs
• Market-competitive & next-generation manufacturing technologies
• How do project developers, EPCs & investors operate effectively in a post-DCR landscape
• Returning value to the banks & investors: the importance of qualified O&M and asset management

There are still a few remaining speaking and partnering slots available for the event, and anyone interested should get in touch with us ASAP using the contact routes here.

An allocation of exclusive partner/organized VIP tickets has also been created, to ensure the event has the perfect mix of guest participants. Interested parties falling within this category should also get in touch with us as soon as possible.

Similar to our PV CellTech and PV ModuleTech events, the conference will be covered on our PV-Tech web portal. Much more to follow from myself and others in the team leading up to, and after the event.
 

India starts review phase on technology-selection for multi-GW of new cell and module facilities

Following recent announcements from the government departments administering India’s solar PV growth ambitions, the country is now in the process of working out how to expand its domestic upstream manufacturing capacity, at a time when the PV industry is going through a period of rapid technology-change and supplier competition.

Having been through various (albeit at reduced levels) manufacturing capacity expansion phases over the past couple of decades, it really is crunch time for prudent decision-making across both domestic and overseas investors, seeking to move India finally to manufacturing powerhouse status.

The article discusses the opportunity and challenges involved for India to realize the addition of 5-10 GW of new cell and module manufacturing capacity, now being spelled out through a combination of domestic content requirement (DCR) and manufacturing-linked supply-arrangements designed specifically to create a risk-free sales pipeline to stimulate multi-GW levels of annual cell and module production within India.

The timing of the government-body announcements over the past few months is particularly relevant to PV-Tech’s inaugural PV IndiaTech 2019 conference that takes place in Delhi on 24-25 April 2019. This article previews the conference themes, companies lined up to speak, and how such an event has the potential of educating not just the entire Indian solar segment, but also overseas investors and manufacturing/technology suppliers that are lining up to benefit from the capex uptick from 2020 onwards.

Understanding the drivers for Make-in-India PV manufacturing

India has a heritage in solar cell manufacturing that predates the first major industry growth phase, and well before the days of GW-level global end-market deployment. Government-owned and domestic-run conglomerates such as Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited and Tata epitomised early PV fervour: the JV cell facility operated by Tata BP Solar in Bangalore was at the time one of the most eagerly-tracked manufacturing sites of global industry observers.

Indeed, anyone glancing at MNRE’s compendium of cell producing companies in recent years can see almost all of the early cell manufacturing advocates still listed, despite the fact that very few are running lines today in any competitive manner.

Two other mini expansions booms have occurred within India during the past 15 years. The first one (dating back to before 2010) was stimulated by the goal of exporting cells to module producers outside India. The second phase was prompted by the National Solar Mission’s stimulus in domestic module supply to installers and EPCs, and was accompanied by the market-entry of pure-play module producers, some of whom expanded to the GW-level.

Few, if any, within India, would be bold enough to assign these investment phases as being successful. The reality that unfolded saw a vibrant end-market dominated by Chinese and Southeast Asia produced modules flooding into the country, almost regardless of nominal import duties that were contemplated in order to artificially inflate domestic cell and modules sales prices.

The two major rounds of capacity expansions have also seen different subsets of production equipment suppliers benefiting from the spending cycles. The earlier expansion phase was characterized by turn-key lines being supplied to the country. The more recent phase saw specific European (mainly German and Italian) and Chinese tool suppliers being chosen, almost in a carbon-copy manner across different companies/facilities, with much of the technology advice again coming from European (German) origins, akin to a remote turn-key design/consultancy service.

Virtually everything installed during these phases, and in particular the most recent phase, was unfortunately based upon Al-BSF p-multi cells, at a time when the signs were clear within China that billions was being invested into mono and PERC. Fast-forward to today – and aside from any other cost/performance benefits associated with Chinese manufacturers – India now has several cell fabs using yesterday’s technology choice. Part of Adani’s GW expansion was afforded to mono, and these lines can be regarded today as the most advanced across the whole of India.

It is highly unlikely that the same approach to expansions will be adopted within India when things start anew from 2020 onwards. Indeed, the entire way that investors assess factory cost and technology metrics has to move from passive-caution to informed-progression; being much more educated about solar manufacturing trends is simply a must if India is to succeed third-time around in creating multi-GW of viable cell factories.

Benchmarking and reality-checking is an essential start-point

It may seem obvious that any investor seeking to formulate a new multi-billion dollar investment should undertake good sector benchmarking, but the solar industry is littered with investments that have been done on the back of fact-devoid hype and through wholly misunderstanding the gap between R&D results and GW factory operations.

A similar narrative can also be assigned to investments that have stoically followed the status-quo of the day, by merely adding more mainstream technology, but in a different country (as India did exactly in its last expansion phase). It is not necessary to be a technology expert, but thinking that copying the current mainstream offering today – and taking 2 years to build a factory – will result in anything other than tears is simply naïve.

India’s new expansion aspirations come at a fascinating point in PV technology change, with the industry having shifted from 80% p-multi Al-BSF cell production to 60% p-mono PERC (with optional bifaciality) in rapid time. Huge investments are pouring into n-type technologies, with many voices suggesting that existing p-mono producers need to adapt to n-type production with passivated contacting at the rear. Others are pushing the adoption of heterojunction lines, if full differentiation is needed, and especially if the expansion is linked to greenfield projects, often the case with new market-entrants.

Even among the multi-GW cell producers of today, there is much debate, with few willing to commit fully to just one technology in the near-to-mid-term. Of course, each has a strong preference, and the market today has only just shifted to p-mono PERC being the mainstream technology offering.

This is entirely a new landscape for investors to absorb, and has evolved very quickly in just 12-18 months. Good due-diligence while having some kind of flexible technology route is perhaps the most sound advice that can be offered within the India context today. For others, simply having an exit strategy to avoid throwing good money after bad may be the most prudent strategy.

PV IndiaTech 2019 has been refocused to help decision-making within India

As the announcements have come out from government departments over the past few months, we have received increased levels of requests from the industry about focusing the scope and content of our inaugural PV IndiaTech 2019 event on addressing many of the questions raised earlier within this article.

Many have cited the need for a substantially higher level of awareness and knowledge from the new types of organizations and institutions that are currently hoping to benefit in the post-DCR world from 2020 onwards. What is state-of-the-art today for cell and module production costs and efficiencies? How flexible does production need to be for multi/mono and mono/bifacial? Is it essential to move direct to n-type or can a viable cell/module business be effected today with p-mono bifacial module supply?
And behind all this also is the need to understand the role of materials used in cell/module assembly, such as glass, backsheets, etc., and what is needed by way of test/inspection, certification and bankability due-diligence.

Clearly, a range of domestic and overseas companies from wafer-supply to module-testing fall into the target group of key stakeholders set to attend PV IndiaTech 2019. However, two other groupings need to both hear and feed into all the suggestions on how India needs to spend its money on building the multi-GW of new cell/module factories from 2020 onwards.

The first is everything-governmental, as perhaps the institution with most to win (and most to lose) through erroneous technology and supplier selection. The other massive input however comes from project developers, EPCs, O&Ms, portfolio owners, and asset managers. Like-it-or-not, these parties are going to have to get accustomed to site builds and ROI analysis, where a significant part of the owned/operated assets is coming from domestic-produced cells/modules. Those sitting with a near-100% portfolio of assets using low-cost, low-grade (by China standards) 72-cell p-multi modules are the ones with most to learn, and hopefully to benefit from if all goes to plan!

Agenda for PV IndiaTech 2019

More detailed information on confirmed speakers, partnering companies and other features happening at PV IndiaTech 2019 can be found at the event website here.

The two-day event includes 11 sessions, with 3-4 companies speaking within each session. The session titles are shown here now:

• Understanding India’s PV competitiveness through investment & foreign company participation
• Benchmarking how India becomes a PV powerhouse: state-of-the-art practices by global leaders
• Growing the domestic sector: Make-in-India as a global gold-standard in the PV industry
• Test & inspection, certification of bankability metrics for modules deployed within India
• Identifying the barriers for Indian PV manufacturing competitiveness
• Overseas technology-transfer: research labs driving high-efficiency & low-cost PV manufacturing
• Maximizing PV return-on-investment through components, materials supply & BoS optimization
• Production equipment & materials supply to Indian PV cell & module fabs
• Market-competitive & next-generation manufacturing technologies
• How do project developers, EPCs & investors operate effectively in a post-DCR landscape
• Returning value to the banks & investors: the importance of qualified O&M and asset management

There are still a few remaining speaking and partnering slots available for the event, and anyone interested should get in touch with us ASAP using the contact routes here.

An allocation of exclusive partner/organized VIP tickets has also been created, to ensure the event has the perfect mix of guest participants. Interested parties falling within this category should also get in touch with us as soon as possible.

Similar to our PV CellTech and PV ModuleTech events, the conference will be covered on our PV-Tech web portal. Much more to follow from myself and others in the team leading up to, and after the event.
 

SECI tenders 2GW of local content solar under CPSU scheme

Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) has issued a tender for 2GW of solar to be procured by Central Public Sector Undertakings (CPSUs), as per its announcement at the beginning of this month.

This is part of the CPSU Scheme Phase II, which mandates cells and modules to be sourced locally, and projects will be developed on a build, own operate (BOO) basis.

The minimum capacity for bidding is 10MW with a maximum of 2GW. The deadline for bid submissions is 3 May 2019.

Projects have an 18-month commissioning timeframe, but a six-month extension is possible.

On 5 March, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) issued the CPSU Scheme Phase-II for setting up 12GW of grid-connected PV projects by government producers with Viability Gap Funding (VGF) support. Power generated must be for the self-consumption of government entities either directly or through distribution companies (Discoms).

In the case of this 2GW tender, usages charges should not be more than INR3.50/kWh (US$0.051).

The total 12GW capacity will be added over a four-year period from FY 2019-20 to 2022-23. 

Back in February, SECI also announced plans for a 1GW CPSU solar tender

The latest issuance comes amid an unprecedented tendering spree across India.

The inaugural PV IndiaTech conference kicks off in New Delhi on 24-25 April.

Indian solar tendering rolls on with another major co-located storage issuance

India has continued to fling out solar tenders with 1.2GW in Madhya Pradesh, 275MW in Uttar Pradesh, and a significant solar-plus-storage tender in Andhra Pradesh.

Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) invited bids for 1.2GW of Interstate Transmission System (ISTS)-connected solar projects in the central state of Madhya Pradesh, a state with excellent solar resources, but with less power demand than other parts of India hence the national grid connection.

SECI also released a notice of interest (NIT) for setting up 275MW of grid-connected PV projects in a solar park in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

The Agency also announced an NIT for 200MW of grid-connected solar projects to be combined with 300MWh of battery energy storage in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

This will include two 100MW PV projects, each with 150MWh of batteries at the Galiveedu Site of Ananthapuramu Ultra Mega Solar Park and at the Talaricheruvu Solar Park.

All the detailed Request for Selection Documents (RfS) for the three tenders shall be available by 30 March.

The latest news confirms India’s reignition of its large-scale solar and storage plans. Last week, after SECI announced a tender for 1.2GW of ISTS-connected solar to be combined with 3,600MWh of energy storage, Dr Rahul Walawalkar, president, India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA) and CES (India), told PV Tech: “This is the big and long-awaited step and we can see that in the last four months the government’s seriousness towards the sector after some unfortunate cancellations of tenders for over 100MWh in 2017-18. IESA had strongly protested the cancellations and delays in implementation of the storage projects, and we are hopeful that this time, the government will prioritize these projects and see them through to implementation.”

Most recently, SECI said that another 2GW tender for solar to be procured by Central Public Sector Undertakings (CPSUs) would be made available this month, amid an unprecedented tendering spree that seems to keep on rolling this month ahead of the general election.

Cabinet approves National Mission on Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage

In related news, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved:

  1. Setting up of a ‘National Mission on Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage’, to drive clean, connected, shared, sustainable and holistic mobility initiatives;
  2. Phased Manufacturing Programme (PMP) valid for 5 years to support setting up of a few large-scale, export-competitive integrated batteries and cell-manufacturing Giga plants in India.
  3. Creation of a PMP valid for 5 years to localize production across the entire Electric Vehicles value chain.

Both PMP schemes will be finalised by the National Mission on Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage.

A phased roadmap to implement battery manufacturing at Giga-scale will be considered with an initial focus on large-scale module and pack assembly plants by 2019-20, followed by integrated cell manufacturing by 2021-22.

Debi Prasad Dash, executive director of India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA), said: “We welcome the cabinet’s decision on setting up of National Mission on Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage. […] This announcement is the result of the work done over the past 6 years by India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA) along with various state agencies, as well as central government departments including MNRE, MOP, and NITI Aayog on different aspects related to energy storage policy. The mission also suggested to have the steering committee with representation of 8 ministries & departments, which will definitely bring appropriate co-ordination on appropriate policy creation.

“India has a significant market potential for batteries and electric vehicles. Electric vehicles are creating a big demand and due to this demand, the cost of batteries will further come down.  IESA estimates the market for energy storage would grow to over 300 GWh during 2018-25. IESA is working with various EV & charging infrastructure companies through its MOVE (Moving Onwards with Vehicle electrification) initiative to catalyze the adoption through indigenous manufacturing of EV components. Currently, more than 10 companies are doing module and Li-Ion pack assembling in India and we’re expecting 4-5 large companies to enter cell manufacturing in the next 2-3 years. With appropriate policy support through this mission, Indian companies will be able to diversify into energy storage business. Through Make In India initiative, India will able to compete with the countries like China, Australia, Germany, USA, Taiwan, South Korea other Li-Ion manufacturing countries.”

SECI readies 2GW local content solar tender for public sector

Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) has said that another 2GW tender for solar to be procured by Central Public Sector Undertakings (CPSUs) will be made available this month.

The CPSU scheme mandates cells and modules to be sourced locally and as per a note released today by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), the government will be keeping a close eye on early tenders with a view to possibly including ingots, wafers and polysilicon to the domestic content mandate in future CPSU tenders.

The 2GW tender, supported by Viability Gap Funding (VGF), will be released on 25 March.

Back in February, SECI also announced plans for a 1GW CPSU solar tender

The latest issuance comes amid an unprecedented tendering spree across India.

The inaugural PV IndiaTech conference kicks off in New Delhi on 24-25 April.

India solar tender spree continues north and south

Continuing a gargantuan tender spree, Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) has issued a notice of interest for 500MW of PV projects in Tamil Nadu, 750MW in Rajasthan, and several solar-plus-storage offerings in Jammu & Kashmir.

The issuances come alongside 400MW of floating PV tenders in Tamil Nadu (250MW) and Jharkhand (150MW). 

SECI invited bids for 500MW of grid-connected standalone solar PV capacity in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. A Request for Selection (RfS) document will be available from 15 March.

Meanwhile, the RfS for 750MW of standalone projects in the northern state of Rajasthan will go up on 19 March. A PV auction recently completed in Rajasthan attracted lowest bids of 2.48 rupees per unit.

SECI is also hoping to procure 2MW of solar PV across two army posts at Siachen and Parapur in Jammu & Kashmir at the far north of the country. The RfS will come online from 11 March.

Finally, bids have been invited for two solar-plus-storage projects in the Leh and Kargil regions of Ladakh, which is also part of Jammu & Kashmir state. Each project will have 7MW of solar PV combined with 21MWh of battery energy storage systems. Full details will be released on 15 March.

Last week, SECI also announced plans for huge tenders across the country with various combinations of solar, energy storage, wind and hybrid concepts, followed by a 1GW in the northeastern states.

SECI tenders 400MW of floating solar in Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand

Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) has tendered for 400MW of floating solar in the states of Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand.

The 250MW floating PV issuance for the southern state of Tamil Nadu will have its Request for Selection Document (RfS) along with a list of dams or water bodies made available from 29 March.

The 100MW issuance for the northern state of Jharkhand will have its Request for Selection Document (RfS) available from 20 March. It is to be located on the Getalsud reservoir in Ranchi.

Tendering activity for floating PV technology has started to proliferate in recent months across India. This includes a tender for 20MW of floating solar PV projects with 60MWh Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) by SECI on a turnkey basis in the union territory of Lakshadweep, with other activity in Rajasthan, and at thermal power stations of state-run utility NTPC and others.

In January, consultancy firm Bridge to India said it expected up to 5GW of tenders to come out for floating PV in India in 2019.

Last November, Indian conglomerate Shapoorji Pallonji won the country’s first major grid-connected floating solar tender for 50MW of capacity at a tariff of INR3.29/kWh (US$0.047) at Rihand dam in Uttar Pradesh.

Rajasthan’s 750MW solar auction draws lowest bids of 2.48 rupees

A 750MW solar PV auction for capacity in the Indian state of Rajasthan has drawn in winning bids of between INR2.48-2.49/kWh (US$0.035).

Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) conducted the auction, the results of which were as follows:

Bidder Capacity (MW) Tariff (INR/kWh)
Fortum 250 2.48
Palimarwar 40 2.48
Acme Solar 250 2.48
Sitara Solar 100 2.48
ReNew Power 110 (bid for 360) 2.49

Unsuccessful bidders that took part in the auction include Azure Power, Mahindra Susten, Rays Power Infra, and Green Infra Wind Energy.

The previous lowest ever tariffs in India were the now famous 2.44 rupees per unit bids at the Bhadla Solar Park, Rajasthan, as well as at a 500MW park in Gujarat.

India is in the midst of a major solar tendering and auction spree, from which the most recent tenders hope to include energy storage.

India plans ‘huge step up’ with large solar-plus-storage tender

An Indian state-directed agency has launched three huge tenders across the country with various combinations of solar, energy storage, wind and hybrid concepts, in what the India Energy Storage Alliance has described as ‘the long-awaited step’.

First, Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) announced a pan-India tender for 1.2GW of solar PV projects to be connected to the Interstate Transmission System (ISTS). It then announced a tender for 1.2GW of ISTS-connected solar to be combined with 3,600MWh of energy storage, followed by a third tender for 1.2GW of ISTS-connected wind-solar hybrid projects. The government has made it clear before that energy storage capacities can also be included in the hybrid projects.

The Request for Selection (RfS) documents for all three tenders will be released on 8 March.

Vinay Rustagi, managing director of the consultancy firm, Bridge to India, told PV Tech that at this stage, SECI is just issuing the notices and the tender documents are clearly not ready yet. It is likely that the rush is to circumvent the two-month policy hiatus that usually precedes a general election – likely to start from 5 March in this case.

Auction and tender activity has been frantic at the end of last year through to the present day and the backlog of solar tenders continues to pile up, even with capacity awards in GujaratMaharashtra and pan-India recently.

Last January, Rustagi warned that the tender flurry was over-ambitious, noting that of the 50GW of clean energy tenders last year, there were only around 20GW of allocations, as per the table below:

Tender bonanza reality

Today, Rustagi said that nothing has fundamentally changed in the market and despite a number of auctions in the last two months, the field of winning bidders is “getting narrower and narrower”.

He added: “All the second and third-tier developers are struggling to raise money. It’s a pretty challenging environment, because of all the negative developments in the last year, whether on the tax front, cost of financing, interest rates, rupee rate etc.”

While all the announcements are likely to be part of a plan to fast-track approval from MNRE since the unique new tender parameters will have taken time to concoct, Rustagi noted: “The fact remains that India doesn’t need as much renewable power as the tender programme of the government suggests, and we’ve seen so many tenders being cancelled or undersubscribed.

“One hopes that quality of these schemes would not be compromised in the last minute rush.”

Yesterday, SECI even announced plans to tender for 1GW of solar in the mountainous and forest-covered Northeastern states and Sikkim, adding even more capacity to the pot.

Storage leap

On the plus side, the latest tenders also compound the long-awaited rise of energy storage tendering in India. Besides this week’s issuances, seven tenders with a total storage capacity of 84MWh combined with 78MW of solar PV had been issued in the last 12 months, according to Bridge to India figures.

Rustagi described the new 1.2GW solar / 3,600MWh tender as “a huge step up”, given that clearly, the cost of power will be very high. However, it is difficult to comment without the full tender details on off-take and ceiling tariffs.

He also said it would be interesting to see what kind of government support may be added, such as viability gap funding (VGF), because Bridge to India believes that making the distribution companies (Discoms) bear the extra costs would be unrealistic.

Solar and storage tenders over the last year have been issued by SECI, NTPC and NLC mostly in remote areas of Ladakh, Lakshadweep, Himachal Pradesh and Andaman & Nicobar Islands. There have also been 760MW of new wind-solar hybrid tenders in Andhra Pradesh with the option of adding storage.

Bridge to India tabs the country’s current grid-scale commissioned storage capacity at just 10.75MWh. 

Earlier this month, AES and Mitsubishi also inaugurated a landmark 10MW / 10MWh energy storage facility in Delhi.

‘The long-awaited step’

Dr Rahul Walawalkar, president, India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA) and CES (India), commented on the latest tender:

“As your readers know, the Indian government is on verge of launching the National Energy Storage Mission (NESM). Demand creation is a key component of the national energy storage mission, and the ultimate goal is to make India a global hub for R&D and manufacturing of advanced energy storage technologies. Since the announcement of NESM by Hon. prime minister Shri. Narendra Modi on 2 October 2018, various government agencies have already released 5+ request for proposals (RfPs) for RE integration. This includes a tender for 20MW of floating solar PV projects with 60MWh Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) by SECI on a turnkey basis in the union territory of Lakshadweep for multiple locations. Another large tender by a transmission utility has called for 400MW for 3-8 Hr of storage for RE integration which would also create a 1.2 to 3.2 GWh RfP for storage.  

The IESA team is in touch with SECI and MNRE to get more details on the RfS for 1.2GW solar combined with 3,600MWh of storage. CEA and CERC have already recommended inclusion of energy storage with solar and wind hybrids, so we also anticipate that in addition to the 3.6GWH storage project, other hybrid tenders will also have an opportunity for storage technologies to be included.

This is the big and long-awaited step and we can see that in the last 4 months the government’s seriousness towards the sector after some unfortunate cancellations of tenders for over 100MWh in 2017-18. IESA had strongly protested the cancellations and delays in implementation of the storage projects, and we are hopeful that this time, the government will prioritize these projects and see them through to implementation.

We are also seeing strong leadership from private companies such as AES and Mitsubishi, which deployed the 1st 10MWh stationary energy storage in New Delhi earlier this month.”

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