The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission of India proposed a sharp reduction in the floor price of renewable energy certificates (REC) from April 1, 2017, a move that could increase demand and benefit sellers who have huge inventories of unsold credits. The commission wants to lower the floor price of solar RECs from 3,500 rupees ($52) to 1,000 rupees ($15), and of non-solar RECs from 1,500 rupees ($22) to 1,000 rupees ($15). The proposal is open for comment until March 20. Introduced in 2010, the REC program floundered almost from the start, as purchase obligations were not strictly enforced and no penalties were levied on those failing to meet targets. REC prices have been reduced at least twice before to make them attractive to buyers.
India also saw a lowering of tariffs in Asia’s first auction for wind. Solar Energy Corporation of India, which conducted the auction for the government, received bids to supply wind power for 3.46 rupees (5 U.S. cents) a kilowatt-hour. Previously, feed-in tariffs for wind energy ranged from 4 rupees to 5 rupees a kilowatt-hour across India’s windy states. The successful bidders that will each build 250 megawatts are Mytrah Energy, Green Infra Wind Energy, Inox Wind, Actis-backed Ostro Kutch Wind and Adani Green Energy. A note from Bloomberg New Energy Finance last week said that such low bids would likely prompt states to discard feed-in tariffs and shift towards competitive bidding.
In the solar sector, the world’s largest supplier of panels – China’s JinkoSolar Holding – said it expected shipments to grow at least 28% after its profit exceeded expectations. Shipments, which grew 48% last year to 6.66 gigawatts, may grow again to 8.5-9 gigawatts in 2017, the company said. JinkoSolar is expanding overseas. The Chinese government is encouraging companies to explore South America, Central and Western Asia and Africa to help make them more competitive, according to a statement on the website of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology last week.
Japan’s Marubeni agreed to partner with JinkoSolar and the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority to build and operate the biggest solar plant in the United Arab Emirates. Marubeni and JinkoSolar signed a 25-year power-purchase agreement with the sales unit of ADWEA. The 1,177-megawatt plant will cost about 100 billion yen ($881 million), said a Marubeni spokesman, who asked not to be identified because of company policy. GCL New Energy Holdings, a Chinese solar-farm developer, announced plans to invest 20 billion yuan ($2.9 billion) this year to increase global capacity to 7 gigawatts, from about 4.6 gigawatts at present. The company will add at least 500 megawatts of projects abroad.
Chinese companies are also setting up solar plants in Bangladesh, which approved proposals for 250 megawatts last week. Dubai-based Energon Technologies and China Sunergy won contracts to build a 100-megawatt solar power plant in southwestern Bangladesh. A consortium of Zhejiang DunAn New Energy, China National Machinery, Solar Tech Power and Amity Solar bagged a separate contract to set up a 100-megawatt plant. Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology, China’s biggest wind-turbine maker, reported record 2016 profit as it cut costs and increased electricity sales from wind farms. Net income rose 5% to 3 billion yuan ($437 million) from a year ago, according to preliminary figures filed Friday to the Hong Kong stock exchange. Sales fell 12% to 26.4 billion yuan.
Macquarie Group and Banco Santander jointly loaned 210 million pounds ($258 million) to The Banks Group to finance three new onshore wind farms in the U.K. Meanwhile TerraForm Power, a yieldco founded and controlled by bankrupt clean-energy giant SunEdison, expanded financing for four utility-scale solar farms in Ontario. It obtained $86 million in new debt for the 60-megawatt solar portfolio, it said in a statement last week. Actis bought 1.5 gigawatts of solar photovoltaic assets in Latin America from SunEdison. The London-based private equity firm wants to invest $525 million in renewable energy across Latin America, with a focus on Brazil, Mexico, Uruguay and Chile. Renovate America, a U.S. provider of financing for home improvements, arranged a $200 million credit facility with Bank of America to support consumer loans for energy-efficiency and solar-power projects.
Switzerland’s biggest electricity producer, Axpo Holding, proposes to follow its German peers in betting on green power. It plans to separate its clean energy, grid and trading units, after cutting the value of its power plants by 1.6 billion Swiss francs ($1.7 billion) in December. The utility is considering selling as much as 49% of the new company to strategic investors or in an exchange listing in early 2019 to raise cash for investments, board member Domenico de Luca said in an interview. In the field of smart mobility, Tesla’s revenue from China last year tripled to more than $1 billion, indicating better traction in a market that Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk has predicted could eventually become the company’s biggest. China accounted for more than 15% of Tesla’s more-than-$7 billion of total revenue last year, according to a U.S. regulatory filing. Sales from the U.S. more than doubled to $4.2 billion.
Daimler invested in ChargePoint, which operates a network of electric-car charging stations, as the Mercedes-Benz maker ramps up a push into battery-powered vehicles. Sempra Energy’s San Diego Gas & Electric utility, together with AES, have completed the world’s biggest energy storage system so far. The 30-megawatt facility in California, took nine months to build, and includes 400,000 lithium-ion batteries.