NTPC Renewable Energy Ltd (NREL), the renewable energy arm of the state-run energy producer NTPC, has invited expressions of interest (EoI) from local module manufacturers to purchase 15,000 megawatts (MW) of solar panels for their projects over the next five years. Taking into account the company’s future plans to add renewable energy capacity, NREL “would like to enter into long-term sourcing partners for solar PV modules to develop its renewable energy portfolio either by outsourcing or through contract manufacturing,” the company said.
NTPC merged NREL to focus on its green energy business in October 2020, aiming to reach 60,000 MW of green energy by 2032 from the current level of about 1,400 MW. About 75% of the green energy target for 2032 is expected to come from solar energy. Modules made up of imported solar cells will also be eligible, NREL said, adding that “the purpose of this EoI is to assess the upcoming capabilities of domestic solar PV module manufacturers, and their technical commercial requirements to start the long-term supply process tie ups.”
The development comes at a time when up to 10,000 megawatts of new integrated solar manufacturing plants are expected under the government’s Rs 4,500 crore Production Linked Catalytic Scheme (PLI). The sources said the government has received orders for a cumulative manufacturing capacity of 54,809 megawatts under the scheme from 19 companies, including Reliance Industries Ltd, Adani, ReNew Power, L&T, Tata Power, Acme Solar, Vikram Solar and state-run Coal India Ltd. Currently, the country’s annual unit manufacturing capacity is about 10,000 MW and the cell production capacity is at 3,000 MW. Since the start of fiscal year 23, imports of solar modules and cells will attract base tariffs of 40% and 25%, respectively. Unit costs make up about 60% of the total project expenditures for solar power plants.