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NEW DELHI : With the Indian solar power industry facing a supply crunch and the government’s plan to develop the domestic solar equipment industry, Nasdaq-listed ReNew Energy Global Plc plans to apply for the second tranche of the production linked incentive (PLI) scheme for solar modules.

In an interview, Sumant Sinha, chairman and CEO of ReNew Power said the company is building a six gigawatt (GW) capacity of solar modules.

“We are setting up a 6 GW capacity of solar modules capacity. The submissions (of applications for 2nd tranche PLI) are due in January. We probably will apply," he said.

In September, the union cabinet approved the second tranche of PLI scheme worth 19,500 crore for domestic manufacture of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules that could lead to savings of 1.37 trillion in imports. The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) recently invited bids for the PLI. The last date for submitting bids is 11 January, and the bids will be opened on 12 January.

This is the second tranche of the PLI. The first tranche of 4,500 crore was approved last year and the bids were awarded to Reliance Industries, Adani Group and Sri Shirdi Sai Group.

On the availability of solar modules, Sinha said the crunch continues and the domestic capacity will take two-three years to be completed.

"Right now, the situation in solar modules is not that easy as there is ALMM (Approved List of Models and Manufacturers), there is customs duty and there is not yet a full development of a domestic market," he said.

Currently, only the equipment of firms on the ALMM list can be sourced for government-supported schemes and projects from where power discoms procure electricity. Further, India imposed a basic customs duty (BCD) of 40% on solar modules and 25% on cells with effect from 1 April in a bid to cut imports from China and boost domestic manufacturing.

On the need for relief in customs duty and the ALMM for developers, Sinha, who is also president of industry body Assocham, said if the government gives relief to developers, then the manufacturers may take a hit as they have already made their investments taking into consideration the domestic demand in the future.

“I think government has to take a bit of a view on what has to be done. When the government had announced a certain set of policies a year and a half ago and they should just stick to it if they want to give policy predictability," he said.

On his expectation from the budget, he said that government should lower the GST and customs on utility-scale batteries in line with the taxation for EV batteries. The Assocham president also suggested that support tax breaks should be given to green hydrogen manufacturing.

“Prime minister has set a target to become energy independent by 2047 and green hydrogen has a very important role to play in that and that does require some encouragement from the government, whether it is taxation or direct subsidies," he said.

In April this year, ReNew Power tied up with Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and state-run Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOC) to set up a joint venture to develop green hydrogen in India.

On the progress of regarding the green hydrogen project, Sinha said that the joint venture is waiting for few government approvals and once the approvals come up venture would be able to go ahead with the project.

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