SECI Invites Bids for Selection of Solar Module Manufacturers Under Centre’s INR 19,500 Crore Solar PLI Scheme

On 18th November 2022, the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) issued the tender for the second tranche of the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme under ‘National Programme on High Efficiency Solar PV Modules’. The SECI has invited online bids for ‘Selection of Solar PV Module Manufacturers (SMM) for Setting up Manufacturing Capacities for High Efficiency Solar PV Modules in India’.

This is subsequent to the issuance of the guidelines for Implementation of the relevant PLI scheme (Tranche-II) by Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) on 21st September 2022.

Salient features of the tender have been summarized below.

  • ‘Basket’: Based upon the extent of integration proposed, a bidder can opt to bid for any one of the three ‘baskets’ described in table 1 below.
  • PLI Fund Allocation: The PLI fund of INR 19,500 crore is distributed amongst the 3 baskets. The fund allocations for each of the baskets are also illustrated in table 1.

  • Bid Capacity Limit: Bid capacity will be limited on the basis of the manufacturing stage and buckets. The minimum bid capacity for each of the PV manufacturing stage (i.e., P, W, C and M) is 1 GW. Key criteria pertaining to the maximum bid capacity have been defined in table 1. Further, the bid capacity conditions are bound by the constraint that the maximum capacity which will be eligible for grant of PLI will be 50% of the capacity which is to be set up by a bidder.

  • Module Performance: The PLI awardee must fulfil certain minimum values of module performance (combination of module efficiency and module’s temperature co-efficient) and Local Value Addition (LVA).
    • Minimum module efficiency – 21.00% 
    • Minimum temperature coefficient of Pmax – -0.40%/°C, OR
    • Minimum module efficiency – 20.50%
    • Minimum temperature coefficient of Pmax – -0.30%/°C
  • Manufacturing Plant: The Bidders are required to setup either greenfield or brownfield manufacturing facility for the entire capacity quoted. PLI receivable for brownfield projects will be 50% of the PLI receivable for greenfield projects. The PLI beneficiaries has to ensure that at least 20% of the electricity consumption for the solar PV manufacturing plant will be sourced from renewable energy sources.
  • Commissioning Date: Commissioning timeline for the solar manufacturing facility also depends on the extent of manufacturing integration (see table 1).

Table 1: Some of the Key Provisions in SECI Tender for Solar PLI Tranche-II Scheme

Source: SECI, JMK Research

The distribution of the PLI corpus into three different buckets on the basis of extent of manufacturing integration (a feature that was lacking in PLI tranche-I) is a distinctly encouraging provision. This is expected to foster participation from companies with varied interest vis-à-vis extent of manufacturing integration. Further drawing comparison between tranche I and II of the PLI scheme, it can be observed that the tranche-II has four performance criteria for bidders for being eligible for PLI viz., extent of integration, proposed manufacturing capacity, LVA and module performance. In case of tranche-I, it was limited to the former two criteria.

Also, in the previous tranche, the PLI awardees were Reliance New Energy Solar, Adani Infrastructure and Shirdi Sai Electricals, of the total bidders of 18 companies. The total bids received amounted to ~50 GW for the 10 GW tender. This time, for tranche-II, the central government expects ~65 GW of annual manufacturing capacity of fully- and partially-integrated solar PV modules. In addition, the scheme is anticipated to attract direct investment of ~INR 94,000 crore in the sector.[1]

With the rest of the globe eyeing to tap the immense potential of the Indian solar market, the new SECI tender comes at an opportune time. It is highly imperative for India to fast-track the development of a robust domestic PV manufacturing ecosystem that will serve to fulfil the nation’s larger goal of achieving 50% of installed power capacity by 2030 through non-fossil fuel sources.

[1] Business Standard, Cabinet approves second tranche of solar PLI worth Rs 19,500 crore, September 2022