Caught in a confusion of canceled auctions, tariff wars, safeguard duties and missed targets, the Indian government is now fast tracking solar power, having asked the Solar Power Corporation of India (SECI) to float 4 GW worth of tenders in four months.
In a significant move, which will greatly impact India’s solar industry, the country’s Supreme Court has reportedly given the go-ahead for the government to impose 25% safeguard duties on imports of PV cells and modules. The levy will be effective July 30, 2018.
To ensure their continued viability, nearly 8 GW of solar PV projects have been granted an extension by the Ministry of New and renewable Energy (MNRE).
In a major development, the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) has directed the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) to fix the upper permissible solar tariff at Rs. 2.50 (US$0.036)/kWh and Rs. 2.68 ($0.038)/kWh for developers using domestic solar cells and modules (without safeguard duties), and imported products (with safeguard duties), respectively.
Offsetting the impact of changes in central or state government duties post bidding, India’s Power Ministry has directed the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) to pass on the excess costs to consumers in the form of electricity tariffs in a time-bound manner.
According to the latest figures from the MNRE, cumulative grid-connected ground-mounted solar PV capacity has reached 22 GW in India, with 1.3 GW connected between this April to July. Module prices, meanwhile, are said to have come down “considerably”.
Amidst the Indian government’s yo-yoing on the 25% safeguard duty, the National Thermal Power Corporation’s (NTPC) auction to develop 2 GW of interstate transmission system (ISTS)-connected solar PV projects attracted a low winning tariff of Rs. 2.59 (US$0.0372) per unit.
As of July, Acme Solar had about 2.8 GW solar projects at different stages of development across India. Recently, it won another 600 MW of SECI’s 3 GW interstate transmission system (ISTS) tender, at a tariff of INR 2.44/unit (USD 0.036/unit).
The Indian government has imposed a safeguard duty of 25% on solar imports from China and Malaysia for two years. The Ministry of Finance (Department of Revenue) levied the duty based on the final recommendations proposed by the Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR). While most industry players are dismayed, believing project costs could “immediately” go up by 15%, others are more optimistic.
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