Scheme to incentivize solar equipment manufacturing on the anvil, bids soon for futuristic technology-based projects

New Delhi, Power, and New & Renewable Energy Minister R K Singh on Tuesday said that a scheme is on the anvil to provide interest subvention for the manufacturing of solar cells and wafers in the country.

The minister also indicated that there would soon be an auction to set up clean energy projects with advanced or futuristic technology having higher performance benchmarks.

Under the proposed interest subvention scheme for solar cells and wafers manufacturing, the interest subvention would be given for capex, working capital, technology upgradation of a plant after three years of operation and to offset cost of power required for wafer manufacturing.

Addressing at INDIA PV EDGE 2020 Conference, Singh said, “We have some schemes on the anvil wherein we would give interest subvention for setting up manufacturing capacity here. We will give additional incentive for manufacturing with latest or advanced technology (in India) or futuristic technology.”

He further said, “I think we will build it (provision for futuristic technology) in our interest subvention scheme. So anybody using advanced or futuristic technology for manufacturing equipment (renewable) here would get additional quantum of interest subvention.”

Talking about the setting up of new clean power generation capacity with futuristic technology, he said, “There would be future bids for futuristic technology. So we would have bids for only those technologies which have efficiency of 21 or 22 per cent etc. We will give some ground to those who are investing in technology. Such bids would come out in future. India will be the largest growing energy market for next 15 to 20 years.”

Besides, the government think tank NITI Aayog has also proposed a scheme for promoting cutting edge PV (photovoltaic) technology based new manufacturing units. The scheme would promote exports of modules from India and under it efficient solar modules would be eligible.

The government has already invited expressions of intent for adding 20GW of solar modules and cell manufacturing capacity in India.

The minister informed that during the lockdown the government finalised bids of 12GW of renewable energy and as on today, 30GW clean energy generation capacity has been tendered.

About power demand, he said, “In September, our power demand was higher than September 2019. So the growth started again. Despite the fact that COVID problem lingers, the growth in our power consumption and demand has started. That growth is being met through additions of renewable energy.”

He also talked about large traditional (fossil fuel based) system power generation capacity in India and told that many of those plants are getting retired. “Some plants are already retired and 29 more plants would retire and all that space (generation capacity) would be occupied by renewable energy,” he added.

He further said, “We are the fastest growing renewable energy country in the world. We are already at 38.5 per cent (renewable energy) capacity and by 2030, 60 per cent of our energy capacity would be from non-fossil fuel based. We have around 180 GW of capacity which is either installed or under construction or at the bidding stage. So we will achieve the 175GW of renewable energy target by 2022.”

About the tariff barriers for boosting domestic manufacturing of equipment particularly solar, he said, “We want all the equipment to be manufactured here. So we are putting up barriers. The safeguard duty (on solar equipment) is already in place to avoid dumping. We are also going to place basic customs duty (on solar equipment).”