India releases roadmap for RE rollout, announces 20 GW manufacturing auction

At a meeting held in New Delhi last Friday, November 24, the Indian Government finally shed some light on how it expects to achieve its ambitious 175 GW renewable energy goals, of which 100 GW comprise solar, and 60 GW wind.

Anand Kumar, Secretary of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), said that the MNRE, along with individual states, will announce bids for 20 GW worth of ground-mounted solar parks in 2017-18. Of this total, 3.6 GW have already been auctioned off, while 3 GW are set to be auctioned this December; 3 GW in January 2018; 5 GW in February 2018; and 6 GW in March 2018. “30 GW will be bid out in 2018-19 and 30 GW in 2019-20,” added Kumar.

The government has yet to mention its plan for rolling out 40 GW of rooftop solar, which had been communicated previously. However, if it still wants to meet that figure, its 100 GW solar target will be exceeded by 20 GW. If not, it may mean the figures will be revised down from 40 to 20 GW.

Regarding GST (goods and service tax) on solar panels, Kumar said the MNRE is in talks with the Ministry of Finance. The issue, which concerns the high rates, is set to be resolved in the next seven to 10 days. It is expected that they will be reduced.

MNRE Minister, Raj Kumar Singh further said that the central government has provided all the required support, including funds to the states to ensure 24/7 power for all by strengthening the intra-state transmission networks and guaranteeing the mandatory presence of metered connections. Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) and Renewable Purchase Obligations (RPOs), meanwhile, must be honored, said Singh.

Domestic ambitions

At the same meeting, Raj Kumar Singh announced plans to ramp up India’s domestic renewable energy manufacturing industry via an auction for facilities totaling 20 GW.

Singh said the ministry is currently working on a scheme and will soon issue an Expression of Interest (EoI) to industry, to establish domestic renewable energy (RE) manufacturing facilities totaling 20 GW. It is hoped the announcement will encourage and support the “Make in India” policy in the RE sector.

A crucial issue for the forthcoming auction will be the anti-dumping duty (ADD) case. According to Bridge to India, a decision is expected by 2018 October; although, it could be made earlier.