- Indian New and Renewable Energy Minister RK Singh has reportedly said India will issue fresh tender for Solar PLI Scheme
- A news report by FE that quoted Singh to have made the announcement warns it could lead to legal trouble ahead
- Apart from fears of legal troubles over this, the move may dampen investor sentiment in the short run
Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has said the government will invite fresh tenders for solar manufacturing Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme, according to local media reports.
MNRE boss RK Singh was quoted by business daily Financial Express (FE) as making the announcement, however no specific reason was specified by the minister according to the report. It warns of this decision to lead to some legal trouble ahead as it goes against the tender terms.
At the same time, the MNRE move may dampen investor spirit and delay the country’s plans to lower its dependence on imported solar products to reach 280 GW solar power capacity target by 2030.
For the record, the solar PLI scheme is one of the flagship schemes of the Indian government to encourage domestic solar manufacturing. The auction concluded in November 2021 had Jindal India Solar Energy Limited, Shirdi Sai Electricals Limited (SSE) and Reliance New Energy Solar Limited (RNESL) as the 3 winners claiming INR 44.5 billion out of INR 45 billion budget. However, the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) received interest worth 54.5 GW worth of PV manufacturing capacity from a total of 16 companies (see Solar PLI Budget Set To Increase).
Later, the Finance Ministry increased the total budget of the Solar PLI Scheme to INR 240 billion under FY 2022-2023 federal budget which set off speculation about the remaining offers from 13 bidders to be accommodated under the scheme (see Energy Transition On India’s Agenda In Budget).
Winners and waiters on IREDA’s list have already started arranging financing and other business activities, for instance, US based thin film module maker First Solar—on the qualifiers list—has secured $500 million debt financing for its planned 3.3 GW fab (see $500 Million Loan For India’s Solar Manufacturing).
One of the winners of Solar PLI, SSE has also forged a partnership with Viridis.IQ to help it establish 4 GW polysilicon to module fab (see 4 GW Integrated PV Manufacturing For India).
On the project development front, there is trouble ensuing as India remains firm on its stance to impose Basic Customs Duty (BCD) on imported solar cells and modules as planned, from April 1, 2022 which the National Solar Energy Federation of India (NSEFI) believes would be detrimental for 10 GW solar projects (see 10 GW Solar In India Under Threat From BCD).