Reliance and Tata reportedly to bid for solar module manufacturing incentives

Jingyue Hsiao, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0

Credit: AFP

India has closed the application window for its solar module manufacturing incentive scheme, and Reliance and Tata are reportedly bidding on the grants. However, Adani Group, engulfed in a fraud allegation, might not participate.

Bloomberg quoted an unnamed source from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy saying that 11 companies applied for the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for high-efficiency solar PV modules, including Reliance Industries, Tata Power, First Solar, JSW Energy, Avaada Group, and ReNew Energy Global. Adani Group, which announced ambitious renewable investment plans in recent years, reportedly did not join the PLI scheme as it may have to preserve cash in the wake of fraud allegations in recent months.

India announced two tranches of the solar PLI scheme. Tranche I has a budget outlay of INR45 billion (US$550 million), which is unattractive for solar module manufacturers, and the budget outlay for tranche II, which the Indian government approved in September 2022, has more than tripled to INR195 billion. India opened the bidding for tranche II in November 2022 and closed the application process at the end of February.

Business Standard reported that India's Ministry of New and Renewable Energy expects the PLI scheme to ensure India has a 90GW solar module capacity by 2026, along with the capacities for polysilicon of 38GW, 56GW for ingots and wafers, and 70~80GW for cells.

Besides the PLI scheme, in order to build a local solar module ecosystem and reduce reliance on imports, India also implements domestic content requirements for solar PV cells and modules, preference for 'Made in India' in public procurement, imposition of basic customs duty on imported solar PV cells and modules, and discontinuation of customs duty concessions, according to the ministry.

Still, according to an International Energy Agency report, China will dominate the manufacturing of solar modules and cells in the foreseeable future, with India expected to account for 6.8% of global solar module capacity in 2027, far less than China's 73.9% for the same period.