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48% of renewable energy tenders for large-scale ground power stations in India come from photovoltaics

published: 2024-05-09 17:18

In fiscal year 2024, India's renewable energy bidding capacity for large-scale ground power stations more than tripled to 69.8GW, 48% of which came from solar photovoltaics.

According to a report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) and JMK Research & Analytics, of the nearly 70GW of capacity put up for bid between April 1, 2023, and March 31, 2024, 40GW were ultimately awarded.

This is a four-fold increase from FY23, when only 10GW of capacity was ultimately allocated, while the capacity tendered in FY24 exceeded the 50GW target set by the government. Tenders are expected to cross the government threshold of 50GW again in FY25 and further increase the capacity awarded.

Over the past two years, solar electricity prices have increased slightly by nearly 8.5%, from an average of 2.3-24 rupees/kWh (about 0.027-0.0287 US dollars/kWh) to 2.56 rupees/kWh, even though module prices fell by 57% during the same period.

A quarter of the nearly 70GW of installed renewable energy capacity comes from Indian state-run solar company SECI, underscoring the importance of national-level tendering agencies in the deployment of renewable energy at large ground-based power stations.

Since the introduction of hybrid tendering in 2018, the solar-wind mix share has increased from 16% in FY20 to 43% in FY24, with solar as a standalone project accounting for nearly half of all tendered capacity in the country in FY24.

"There is strong investor interest in the renewable energy market for large-scale ground-mounted power plants in India. The main reasons are the huge potential for market growth, support from the central government in terms of targets and regulatory framework, and higher operating margins," said IEEFA Director South Asia Vibhuti Garg, who is also a contributing author of the report said.

Despite an increase in capacity tendered and awarded in FY24, there are still challenges in the execution of tenders. Chief among them is the introduction of 40% import duties on solar modules in basic tariffs in April 2022, and the requirement to procure domestically produced modules through the Approved List of Models and Manufacturers (ALMM). Due to insufficient supply of domestic parts, ALMM was re-implemented after a one-year suspension.

According to the report, India's annual module and cell production capacity is 68GW and 8GW respectively as of April 2024. However, actual capacity is much lower, with Indian manufacturers expected to ship only 17GW of modules in 2023.

In addition, more than 10 new developers have entered the Indian large-scale ground power plant project market in the past few years, including US independent power producer Bright Night, which has partnered with energy platform ACEN to expand its 1.2GW of renewable energy projects in India. Renewable energy portfolio development efforts


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