Centre Exceeds Bid Target for FY24, No Extension for Solar Project Timelines: Bhupinder Singh Bhalla

by IS_Indust
Bhupinder Singh Bhalla

The government is considering ending the practice of extending the deadlines for solar power project completion in an effort to meet its lofty goal of having 500 GW of non-fossil electricity capacity by 2030.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy’s (MNRE) secretary, Bhupinder Singh Bhalla, stated in an interview that the government had awarded 51 GW of renewable energy capacity in FY24, exceeding the goal of 50 GW. According to him, capacity addition will pick up speed starting in FY26.

He said that going forward, the Center would handle requests for project timeline extensions far more strictly and would only permit extensions if they were “absolutely warranted.”

Even though developers previously had to deal with problems like a lack of domestic supply or expensive module costs, prices have already dropped, and the domestic supply chain is expanding.

The announcement coincides with the ministry’s decision to bring back, from April 1, the approved list of models and manufacturers (ALMM) for solar photovoltaic modules, which requires government-funded projects to only purchase modules from certain vendors.

“We plan to stop giving extensions for completion of solar projects, except for cases wherein extension is absolutely warranted and the situation is out of the control of the developer. Extensions were given earlier to developers in several projects and also under CPSU scheme, one of the reasons being high prices of module and cells,” Bhalla said.

Bhalla emphasized that the approved capacity under ALMM is currently approximately 37 GW, and there are applications for an additional 12 GW, demonstrating the expanding domestic capability of solar module capacity.

“This will take the annual manufacturing capacity to nearly 50 GW, which would be adequate as the current requirement in the country is seen at 25 GW annually. In the next two years, the requirement will go up to 50 GW,” the secretary said.

In recent years, delays in solar projects and certain plans have been permitted in order to mitigate the effects of high customs duties and a shortage of modules on capacity installation targets. Among these extensions, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) extended till September 30, 2024, the duration of solar power plants under the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd. (Ireda) Phase-II CPSU program.

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