Government’s Rs 4,500 crore Production Linked Incentive scheme for renewables finds 18 applicants

India’s big business corporate houses like Reliance, Adani, Tata, and Jindal are some of the 18 companies that have applied for the government’s Rs 4,500 crore production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme. They expect to start or increase their manufacturing capacity with the help of these funds.

State-owned giant, Coal India Limited (CIL), which is also trying to expand its footprint in the renewables industry has applied too. And so have American firms First Solar and CubicPV.

According to business daily, Economic Times, which has seen a copy of the bid document released by the Indian Renewable Development Agency (IREDA), the financing arm of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), other notable companies to apply for the bid is Larsen and Toubro and ReNew Power.

In total, 18 companies with a cumulative capacity of 54.8 gigawatt (GW) have applied for the scheme. The government only has a capacity for 10 GW.

The companies have divided the bids up into four stages of the manufacturing process that include polysilicon, wafers, cells, and modules. At present, India’s existing 15 GW production capacity has no polysilicon or wafer production capacity.

Adani, Reliance, Jindal, First Solar, and Andhra Pradesh-based Shirdi Sai Electricals have bid for the entire value chain’s integration as part of their tenders.

CIL, CubicPV, L&T, and ReNew have applied for wafer and onwards, while the rest of the nine names on the list that include Indian players such as Tata, Vikram, Waaree, Acme, and Avaada will be concentrating on cells and modules, as per the IREDA’s list.

Manufacturing companies import wafers or cells from abroad, mainly China, and then assemble them into cells and modules respectively. Nearly 95 per cent of the solar equipment used in projects in India is imported from China or from Chinese-origin companies. To prevent the industry’s dependence on China, the government has also constituted a basic customs duty (BCD) tax on solar imports. It will be charged at 25 per cent for cells and 40 per cent for modules and will be applicable from April 2022.

Shekhar Ghosh is a communications consultant and and former journalist, who has edited and written for publications such as like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today and Outlook.

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