India to introduce a cap on solar tariff and reduces tender size for manufacturing unit

In a major development, the MNRE has directed the Solar Energy Corporation of India(SECI) to fix the upper permissible solar tariff at INR 2.50/kWh and INR 2.68/kWh for developers using domestic cells & modules (without safeguard duties) and imported products (with safeguard duties), respectively. SECI has reduced its solar manufacturing tender size from 5 GW to 3 GW and curtailed minimum bid capacity from 1 GW to 600 MW. However, the size of the PPA remains the same at 10 GW. This comes to post an announcement by the Power  Minister – that all the future renewable energy projects bid would have to cover at least a 50% of a project’s components with domestic manufacturing. Regarding the PPA, it must be executed within a maximum time frame of 90 days from the date of award and a minimum of 40% of commissioned within 21 months from the date of PPA signing. The remaining 60% of the capacity will have to be commissioned within 36 months from the date of the bid award letter. SECI has also revised the time allowed to set up manufacturing capacity to two years from the earlier three-year time period.

  • For silicon-based facilities, the module manufacturing unit has to be set up in India whereas polysilicon can be imported.
  • For non-silicon-based technologies, the primary functional raw material can be imported.

To support this development SECI has announced a 5 MW solar manufacturing tender linked to a 10 GW PPA, also in June. It was the first solar tender where developers were required to locally produce equipment in order to win projects.

Solar installations in India drop down in the second quarter : Report

According to a report, solar installations have gone down by 52% in the second quarter of 2018, primarily due to the uncertainties related to trade duty & module price fluctuations. The Q2 installations were at the lowest since Q1 2017 with 1599 MW, compared to 3,344 MW in 2018. The plant installations were also down by approximately 21% year-on-year compared to 2.025 MW installed in Q2, 2017.

The downfall in the installations was an expected one, pertaining to PPA negotiations post the all-time low bids which led to a slowdown in the tender auctions in 2017 resulting in weaker project pipeline in 2018.

The large-scale installations totaled at 1,184 MW compared to 2954 MW in Q1, 2018. In case of rooftop installations, 415 MW was installed (6% higher than 390 MW in the previous year.)

Cumulative solar installed capacity summed to be at 24.6 MW at the end of the second quarter of 2018 with large-scale projects accounting for 90% & rooftop solar making up the remaining 10%.

It is expected that the installations will be close to 8.3 GW in 2018 if the schedule remains on time.

REC trade results – August 2018

Non-Solar: Non-solar RECs prices continue to rise with robust demand but the clearance volume is constrained due to limited supply availability. This session the RECs were traded at the price of INR 1101 at PXIL (10.1% above the floor price) and INR 1200 at IEX (20% above the floor price). The non-solar REC inventory completely exhausted in August 2018 with a clearing ratio of 100% at PXIL & IEX both respectively. A total of 3,33,479 RECs were traded in this session.

Solar: Total number of solar RECs traded in this session was 4,86,129 (184% decrease from the last trade). The clearing ratio was 29.06% at PXIL & 15.42% at IEX respectively. RECs traded at the floor price, i.e. INR 1000 at PXIL and IEX both respectively.

The overall trade volume of (8,19,608) decreased almost by 50% from the last trade (16,18,069).

MNRE proposes a draft schedule for solar tender activities to avoid clashes between agencies

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has approached all the central & state governments as well as public sectors implementing agencies for tendering of solar PV capacities to follow a timeline for implementing renewable energy projects. According to the letter “It has been seen that sometimes bids of two organizations clash with each other, thus distorting the market.” It is being assumed that by following a timetable for bidding, these organizations can evenly distribute their tender and auction activity throughout the year.

According to the timetable, SECI will have the months of Dec, Mar, Jun & Sept for its tender and auction activity. NTPC and other public sector units will utilize Jan, Apr, Jul, and Oct for tender & auction activity. Further, the state implementing agencies will use Feb, May, Aug, and Nov for the activities.

MNRE has requested implementing agencies to follow this timetable in light of the tender trajectory that was announced earlier. As per the trajectory, 30 GW of solar will be tendered and auctioned in the current and the next Financial years. The timeline is to be followed by the large-scale projects tenders only and not the rooftop solar tenders.

The manufacturers are in acceptance of the proposed plan and believe, that now they will be able to plan their activities in an efficient manner. However, people in the industry are skeptical if the state will follow this timetable, since MNRE is an organization providing guidelines and it is up to the state to decide whether to follow it or not.

Not implementing Safegaurd Duty on solar modules and cells for time being: Ministry of Finance

A recent development in the safeguard duty event, the Orissa High Court has directed the Ministry of Finance to withdraw the duty by August 13, 2018, and issued a stay until August 20, 2018. The stay came after a petition was filed by Hero Future Energies, ACME, and Vikram Solar against the Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR).

Vikram Solar’s petition stated the following:

  • Suitable exemption/clarification for SEZs (Special Economic Zones) from duties of safeguard, which will put SEZs at par with manufacturing units located in domestic tariff area (DTA).
  • Considering SEZ units as a part the of domestic industry for the purpose of safeguard investigation.
  • EPC contracts which are already awarded should be kept out of the ambit of safeguard duty

The safeguard duty is currently applicable to companies in SEZ affecting a majority of the domestic solar manufacturing capacity.

Ministry of Finance had announced to levy 25% safeguard duty based on the final recommendation proposed by the DGTR. The duty came into effect from July 30, 2018. The ministry levied the duty despite Orissa High Court’s order to put a stay on the safeguard duty on solar modules and cells. ACME Solar had filed a petition post the DGTR recommendations and received the stay order from the court. The Orissa court had then directed the government not to issue any notification regarding the safeguard duty until August 20, 2018. But after the sudden imposition of the duty, the three companies filed a new petitions in the Orissa HIgh Court.

Hence, considering the recent stay order put in force by the Orissa on the safeguard duty notification, the Ministry of Finance announced that the government will, for the time being, not imply the payment of safeguard duty on solar imports.

The current scenario draws doubts on the future of safeguard duty and whether the Indian solar sector embraces it going ahead.

MERC announces generic tariff for various RE sources

Recently the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) announced an order for generic tariff determination of various renewable resources including Solar and Wind. Even after the generic tariff is realized, DISCOMs opt for competitive bidding for tariffs due to the low rates. The details regarding the tariffs for various RE sources is a follows:

Renewable energy sources

Tariff without AD Tariff with AD
Non-Fossil Fuel-Based Cogeneration Projects INR 4.99 _
Biomass projects INR 7.30 INR 7.44
SHP (5 MW-25 MW) INR 3.66 INR 3.92
SHP (1 MW-5 MW) INR 4.36 INR 4.64
SHP (500 kW-1 MW) INR 4.86 INR 5.14
SHP 500 kW and less INR 5.36 INR 5.64
Wind Energy projects INR 2.87
Utility-Scale Solar PV Projects INR 2.72

Rooftop Solar PV projects INR 3.22

The above mentioned solar rooftop tariff will be applicable from August 1 2018 to March 31 2019 and for wind projects between August 1 2018 – March 31 2019 for  a period of 13 years from the date of commissioning. However, in a recent project auction base tariff of INR 2.52/kWh was discovered (INR 0.35/kWh less than the new generic tariff).

In case of SHP, the above-mentioned tariffs will be applicable between August 1, 2018, and March 31, 2019, for 35 years (with capacity up to 5 KW) and 13 years for SHP with a capacity greater than 5 MW and up to 25 MW.

Recently Maharashtra also announced its final regulations for the forecasting, scheduling and deviation management regulations in July 2018.

SECI favours lowest bid in recent solar auctions, cancels rest

The nodal agency for National Solar Mission, Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) has canceled mostly all but the lowest bid project in its mega solar auctions held in July. The decision to cancel 2400 MW solar capacity out of 3000 MW came to light at a meeting of developers with government officials and SECI on August 1st, 2018. Out of all the tenders, only ACME solar won 600 MW for quoting INR 2.44/unit. The government felt all the other bids were too expensive and not competitive enough.

Among the canceled projects were 1100 MW by SB energy (a Joint Venture between Japan’s Softbank, Taiwan’s Foxconn & Bharti Airtel), 500 MW by Renew Power, both of which quoted INR 2.71/unit and lastly 300 MW each by Mahindra solar and Mahoba solar (Adani group) who quoted INR 2.64/unit. The developers felt that if they quoted below INR 2.71/unit, it would be not feasible for them to sustain.

Recently an auction in Uttar Pradesh was also canceled for 1,000 MW without stating any reasons.

Post the Safeguard duty implementations, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has also requested the Finance Ministry to exempt the ongoing solar power projects from the 25% safeguard duty imposed on imported solar equipment. The developers showed their concern over the increase in capital of the projects. While the duty seeks to protect the domestic solar manufacturing industry, project developers have mentioned that the duty would increase solar power tariffs.

Looking at the trend of the competitive tariff over the past years, tariff prices have dropped drastically, and the developers have gone weary of the ongoing trend and believe that they won’t be able to sustain the long-term agreement. However, the government is of the opinion that the tariff is too high and not competitive enough yet.

Maharashtra joins the list of states with final Forecasting and Scheduling regulations

Recently Maharashtra became the latest state to publish final Forecasting and Scheduling (F&S) regulations. These regulations were published in the State Gazette on July 20, 2018. With this, all supposedly “RE rich” states except Gujarat and Tamil Nadu have finalized their F&S regulations.

The detailed summary of the regulations is as below:

Regulation Applicable on All grid-connected Wind and Solar Power Generators with pooling station capacity not less than 5MW or that of an individual Generator connected to some other Substation, shall not be less than 5 MW.

Deviation Accounting: The deviation accounting can be either carried out based on the Available Capacity:-

Available Capacity (AvC) = 100/Actual Generation – Scheduled Generation AbsoluteError in %

Point of Forecasting: Pooling Station or STU Feeder where injection is made.

Keypoints

  • No Aggregation – Clause 5.13 specifies the aggregation of schedules at Pooling Substation level only, and not of multiple pooling station capacity.
  • Further charges in case of shortfall in DSM pool – Clause 12.1 (d) specifies that any shortfall in the aggregate amount of Deviation Charge payable by Solar and Wind Energy Generators at the State periphery and the amount receivable from them by the Pool Account shall be recovered in proportion to their deviation reflected at the State periphery.

Sr.

No.         

Absolute Error in %age terms in 15-minute time block                               Deviation Charge payable to Pool Account for Wind/Solar Generation
1 < = 15%

None*

2 >15% but <=25% At Rs. 0.50 per unit for the shortfall or excess beyond 15% and up to 25%
3 >25% but <=35% At Rs. 0.50 per unit for the shortfall or excess beyond 15% and up to 25% + Rs. 1.00 per unit for the balance energy beyond 25% and up to 35%
4 >35%

At Rs. 0.50 per unit for the shortfall or excess beyond 15% and up to 25% + Rs. 1.00 per unit for the shortfall or excess beyond 25% and up to 35% + Rs. 1.50 per unit for the balance of energy beyond 35%      

Role of a QCA:

  • Provide day ahead, weak ahead and intra-day forecast, schedules and periodic revisions;
  • Coordination with DISCOM/STU/SLDC for metering, data collection, communication/issuance of dispatch/curtailment.
  • De-pooling of charges among generators
  • Commercial settlement of DSM charges and all other ancillary and incidental matters.
  • The QCA shall furnish weekly meter readings to the SLDC by 00.00 hours on Thursday of the previous week, in addition to the data provided to the SCADA Centre, for the purpose of energy accounting under these Regulations.

Revisions:

  • 16 revisions are permitted starting from 00:00 Hrs of the day for Wind & Solar Generators
  • All revisions will be effective from the 4th time-block

Important differences between intrastate and interstate transactions:

  • The sale of power within Maharashtra by Solar and Wind Energy Generators connected to the Intra-State Transmission Network shall be settled by the Procurers on the basis of their actual generation.
  • The sale or of power outside Maharashtra by Solar and Wind Energy Generators connected to the Intra-State Transmission Network shall be settled by the Procurers on the basis of their scheduled generation.
  • Inter-State transactions at a Pooling Sub-station shall be permitted only if the concerned Generator is connected through a separate feeder. In that case, a separate Schedule will have to be provided for its energy generation.
  • The Generator shall pay the Deviation Charges applicable within Maharashtra in case of deviations in the State DSM Pool Account, the consequences of such deviation at the Inter-State level being governed by the CERC Regulations governing the Deviation Settlement Mechanism and related matters.

REC trade results July 2018

Non-solar: Non-solar RECs prices continue to rise on the back of robust demand and limited availability. The RECs were traded at the price of INR 1050 at PXIL ( 5% above the floor price) and INR 1200 at IEX (20% above the floor price). The non-solar REC inventory was completely exhausted in July 2018 with a clearing ratio of 100% at PXIL & IEX both respectively. A total of 235,437 RECs were traded in this session.

Solar: Solar RECs registered the highest ever traded volume. Total 13,82,632 RECs were traded in the current trade session. The clearing ratio was 40.23% at PXIL & 36% at IEX respectively. RECs traded at the floor price, i.e. INR 1000 at PXIL and IEX both respectively. As compared to the available supply of Solar RECs on March 31, 2018, 77% of the RECs have already been sold.

 

HERC announces a combined order for multiple matters

Haryana Electricity regulatory commission recently announced an order on multiple matters including Suo Motu for amendment and/or modification of HERC (Terms and Conditions of Determination of Tariff from Renewable Energy Sources, Renewable Purchase Obligation and Renewable Energy Certificate) Regulations, 2010 and its subsequent amendments (hereinafter referred to as RE Regulations, 2010). The Commission invited views and comments from the stakeholders and answered to them individually. The order also talks about the following:

Suo-Moto proceedings on RPO compliance

If an Obligated entity fails to comply with the obligation to purchase the required percentage of power from renewable energy sources or the renewable energy certificates, it shall also be liable for penalty as may be decided by the Commission under section 142 of the Act. Provided that in case of genuine difficulty in complying with the renewable purchase obligation because of the limited availability of renewable energy or non-availability of certificates, the obligated entity can approach the Commission for relaxation or carry forward of compliance requirement to the next year. However, in normal circumstances, the renewable purchase obligation shall not be waived off. Provided further that where the Commission has consented in writing on an application made by the obligated entity to carry forward of compliance requirement, the provision of regulation 58 (1) of these regulations or the provision of section 142 of the Act shall not be invoked.

The petition filed by Amplus seeking implementation of exemption or waiver of  wheeling charges, cross-subsidy charges, transmission and distribution charges and surcharge for ground-mounted and rooftop solar power projects

Waivers/concessions shall be applicable till the aggregate installed capacity of 500MW of Solar PV Plants in the State is achieved, where after the Commission shall review the provision of waivers/concessions taking into account the financial impact on the Distribution Licensees. Further, provided that waivers/ concessions once provided to any project shall be applicable for a period of 10 years,

The petition filed by Haryana Power Purchase Centre (HPPC) on behalf of the Haryana Distribution Licensees seeking a relaxation of Renewable Purchase Obligation

The Commission has considered the above submissions and is of the considered view that, after considerable deliberation, the RPO targets have been fixed. Further, even the Discoms have raised the issue of these targets being on the higher side. Further, it has been submitted by the Discoms / HPPC procurement of RE power in the peak hours will not only add to the demand-supply gap but also add to the surplus and backing down of cheaper conventional power putting an avoidable financial burden on the electricity consumers of Haryana. Hence, the Commission finds no reason to change the RPO targets as appearing in the draft Regulations as the same in the considered view of the Commission attempts to balance the interest of all the stakeholders.

Read the complete order here.

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