Tata and Reliance vie for India's $2.4 billion solar incentives

01 Mar 2023

Reliance Industries Ltd. and Tata Power Co., two manufacturers of solar modules, are among the bidders for 195 billion rupees (2.4 billion USD) in financial incentives that India is offering to increase domestic manufacturing and reduce panel imports from China's dominant producer.

People familiar with the situation, who requested anonymity because the information has not been made public, say that Indian companies JSW Energy Ltd., Avaada Group, and ReNew Energy Global Plc, as well as the U.S. company First Solar Inc., are also showing interest. According to the individuals, none of the bidders included the troubled Adani Group, one of the largest manufacturers of solar panels in the nation.

The financial support is part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's plan to transform the country into a manufacturing powerhouse, resulting in the creation of more jobs and a reduction in imports that can deplete foreign exchange reserves. In light of a worldwide push to diversify supply chains following the pandemic, his "Make in India" campaign aims to promote India as an alternative to China.

To increase the nation's module-making capacity to as much as 90 gigawatts, which would be sufficient to satisfy its own needs and serve export markets, the government is providing grants. However, there are concerns that India's transition goals are being undermined by the focus on domestic manufacturing, which is slowing down renewable power projects. In an effort to speed up projects, Power Minister Raj Kumar Singh stated last month that his department is considering temporarily "relaxing" a significant obstacle to module imports.

JSW Energy, Avaada Group, and Reliance representatives declined to comment. Adani, Tata Power, ReNew, and First Solar, as well as the renewables ministry, did not immediately respond to emailed requests for comment. After being extended multiple times, the state-run Solar Energy Corp.'s bids ended on February 28. Projects and incentives are still under wraps.