Month in a Minute: Top Headlines from the Indian Renewable Sector in May 2024

India installed 367 MW of rooftop solar capacity in the first quarter (Q1) of 2024. This accounts for a 10% quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) decrease from 406 MW and a 24% year-over-year (YoY) drop from 485 MW, according to Mercom India’s newly released Q1 2024 India Rooftop Solar Market Report. Capacity additions for the quarter declined because many residential consumers postponed their installations, anticipating the benefits of the PM Suryaghar.

India achieved a milestone by adding over 10 GW of solar capacity in Q1 of 2024, the highest quarterly installation to date. This figure represents an almost 400% YoY increase compared to the over 2 GW installed in Q1 2023, according to the recent Q1 2024 India Solar Market Update from Mercom India Research. QoQ capacity additions also surged 414% from nearly 2 GW in Q4 2023.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has expanded the Approved List of Models and Manufacturers (ALMM) by adding 3,508 MW of new solar module capacity. The cumulative module manufacturing capacity under ALMM now stands at 47,971 MW. Rayzon Solar accounted for 692 MW of the HQ Lamps newly added capacity, while RenewSys India contributed 576 MW. Oswal Solar Structure, Manufacturing Company, ADM Solar Power & Infrastructure, and Luminous Power Technologies were the new entrants to the ALMM.

The National Portal, launched by MNRE, is used for everything from registration, uploading feasibility documents and project completion reports to applying for subsidy. The portal’s instability and user-unfriendliness have caused a backlog of thousands of pending requests, leaving installers and customers frustrated. MNRE had said vendors must register on the National Portal to be eligible to install rooftop solar projects under the PM Surya Ghar: Muft Bijli Yojana rooftop solar program.

The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has increased the maximum block bid size for all power generators, including those using renewable sources and participating in the day-ahead market of power exchanges, except thermal, to 100 MW. While Indian Energy Exchange  and Hindustan Power Exchange had already raised the maximum block bid size to 100 MW, now the Power Exchange India’s  maximum bid size also stands at 100 MW from 25 MW.

In the first year after setting renewable energy bidding targets, the implementing agencies designated by the MNRE exceeded their goal of bidding out 50 GW of solar, hybrid, wind, and round-the-clock projects, moving closer to the 200 GW target by 2028. The target, set out in April last year, called on Renewable Energy Implementing Agencies  to issue of at least 50 GW of renewable energy projects in the financial year 2023-24, including 10 GW of pure wind energy.

Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission  has issued its Draft Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission (Net Metering Rooftop Solar PV Grid Interactive Systems) (Fourth Amendment) Regulations, 2024. This draft introduces specific provisions for low- and high-tension consumers installing rooftop solar systems, aiming to enhance the integration of larger solar capacities into the grid while ensuring equitable cost distribution.

The Karnataka government has announced a series of measures to expedite the implementation of rooftop solar projects, following recommendations from an expert committee constituted by the state’s energy department. Bangalore Electricity Supply Company will serve as the nodal agency to create a unified URL and website for rooftop solar applications, including the application process. Login credentials will be provided to all other Electricity Supply Companies to use the same platform.

CERC has recognized the Change in Law event and mandated compensation, agreeing with NTPC and Telangana distribution companies that any impact should be recovered through usage charges for two solar projects. The Commission outlined a methodology for compensation payments, setting a normative interest rate and annuity term.

CERC has approved the procedure for scheduling, metering, accounting, and settlement submitted by the National Load Despatch Centre (NLDC) for a 150 MW/300 MWh standalone Inter-State Transmission System-connected Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) pilot project at 400/220 kV Fatehgarh-III substation in Rajasthan. The NLDC filed a petition for the advance procurement and dispatch of a 150 MW/300 MWh BESS. This project is part of a larger 500 MW/1000 MWh standalone BESS pilot project.

The MNRE has exempted solar and renewable energy parks developed by central public sector undertakings or their joint ventures from having their Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) vetted by state government committees. Instead, DPRs can be submitted directly to central agencies such as the Solar Energy Corporation of India, the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency, and MNRE.

Rajasthan Electricity Regulatory Commission has approved Jodhpur Vidyut Vitran Nigam’s  petition to purchase 2,929.8 MW of power from 1,111 solar projects under Component-C of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan program for 25 years. The final levelized tariffs range from ₹2.52 (~$0.03)/kWh to ₹3.527 (~$0.042)/ kWh.

The Andhra Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (APERC) has adopted the Green Energy Open Access, Charges, and Banking Regulations, 2024. The regulations apply to granting open access for electricity generated from renewable energy sources for utilization within the state involving Intra-State Transmission Systems and/or distribution systems of licensed entities. In October, APERC issued the preliminary draft of the regulations and invited stakeholders’ opinions.

The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission has approved the BESS agreement between BSES Rajdhani Power and Kilokari BESS for the establishment of a 20MW/40MWh energy storage project. The Commission also adopted a single-part tariff structure, comprising capacity charges of ₹5.7million (~$68,981)/MW per year. These charges will be billed monthly per the agreement.

The Ministry of Power has mandated that every coal-based thermal power project operated by power generation utilities equipped with bowl mills must incorporate a 5% blend of biomass pellets derived from agro residue annually. This mandate will take effect one year from the date this guideline is issued. Subsequently, the obligation will increase to 7% after two years and remain at this level.

The MNRE has clarified the applicability of the Approved Models and Manufacturers of Solar Photovoltaic Modules (Requirements for Compulsory Registration) Order, 2019, to solar projects. According to MNRE’s Office Memorandum on March 10, 2021, the ALMM mandate applies to projects with bid submissions completed 30 days after the list’s publication date.

GERC has mandated that the Uttar Gujarat Vij Company, Gujarat Energy Transmission Corporation, and the Energy and Petrochemicals Department should reimburse the amounts that were excessively charged to the solar developers. This was done following provisions pertaining to billing elements, including cross-subsidy surcharge, additional surcharge, wheeling charges, wheeling losses, transmission charge, transmission loss, and the handling of any surplus energy.

Consumers with a minimum contracted demand or sanctioned load of 100 kW can access Green Energy Open Access, according to the Meghalaya State Electricity Regulatory Commission (Terms and Conditions of Green Energy Open Access) Regulations, 2023. There is no maximum power supply limit for captive consumers. The regulations align with the green energy open access rules issued by the Ministry of Power last June.

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