Solar PLI: Don’t let big players seize all the benefits, industry tells government


The first tender took place under a budget allocation of Rs4,500 crore, which led to the creation of a waiting list of bidders in addition to the winners.

The decision by the Union Department of Energy to relaunch the tenders for the Production Linked Incentive Scheme (PLI) for the solar sector could create monopolies, as a few prominent players could walk away with dealerships, industry sources fear.

The first tender took place under a budget allocation of Rs4,500 crore, which led to the creation of a waiting list of bidders in addition to the winners. The waiting list was to be cleared after an increase in scheme spending by the Ministry of Finance. However, after the new allocations of Rs 19,500 crore for FY23 under the PLI scheme, the Ministry of Energy decided to remove the listing and re-tender.

“The PLI scheme would only be beneficial for the sector if companies win integrated unit projects. Companies are unlikely to be interested in creating stand-alone units for polysilicon and wafers,” said a company executive, who attended a stakeholder meeting chaired by the energy minister. of Union RK Singh last week. If new bids are solicited, it could also hamper building local capacity for raw materials such as polysilicon and wafers, he said. These inputs can be imported without basic customs duties, mainly from China.

Several companies have also urged the minister to make the benefits of the scheme available to companies intending to set up smaller capacities as well. The individual capacity limit of 4 GW under the first tender must also be retained for the second tender. It is believed that the limit could be raised to 10 GW in the second tender, which could allow large players to take advantage of the full Rs 19,500 crore incentives under the scheme, leaving smaller units dry.

In addition, they said, the government should consider scrapping the waiting list under the first tender, amid fears that this list will now be dropped. Sources said that if the government felt that the grant offered under the first tender – up to 50% of the project cost – was too high, it could rationalize it, but without removing the list of things to do. make.

“The current need is to extend the advantages of the PLI to as many manufacturers as possible. We need more competition among domestic players for cost savings so that we are self-sufficient in cell and module capacities,” another executive said.

“The ministry’s intention is very clear, it wants all players on the waiting list to advance from the first tender and participate in the second tender,” officials said.

Sources said the Department of Energy wants to invoke a clause in the tender document which states that new tenders can be issued if the incentives are not awarded within six months of the announcement. “So there can be no legal constraint for the ministry. The only concern is that (the new tenders) will delay the whole process when many manufacturers have already started their expansion works thinking that the to-do list will be wiped out,” the official said.

Under the new tender, incentives will be allocated based on higher local content in manufacturing of 90%. Other criteria include panels must have efficiencies greater than 23% and panel capacities greater than 600 watts peak.

Of the 15 companies that applied for the first tender, around 13 are on the waiting list, including the public sector’s Coal India, Adani Infrastructure, Larsen and Toubro, ReNew Solar and Tata Power Solar. Others on the list are Waaree Energies, Vikram Solar, Megha Engineering & Infra, FS India Solar Ventures, Avaada Ventures, Premier Energies and Acme Eco Clean Energy.

Andhra Pradesh-based transformer manufacturer Reliance New Energy Solar, Shirdi Sai Electricals, Jindal India Solar Energy of BC Jindal Group, has been selected as a beneficiary of the PLI program for the manufacture of solar panels based on the initial allocation of Rs 4,500 crore.


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