We will talk about ‘Muni’ Bonds today. Please be warned that this article does not pay homage to the popular Bollywood dance number in any manner.
According to a report published by Climate policy Initiative, the third part financing woes of solar rooftop developers can be resolved by issuing ‘Muni’ Bonds.Muni Bonds help municipal corporations to raise funds for infrastructure projects by issuing bonds to Institutional and public investors.
Very recently there was news that the Ahmedabad Municipal corporation has decided to issue ‘Green’ Bonds. The bond will be issued to raise funds to implement a bio-mining technique at the city’s landfill to reduce and recycle the waste being dumped there.
Basically, the Muni bond for solar rooftop projects is likely to fund and make popular the RESCO Model. Under this model, a RESCO (renewable Energy Service Company )will buy assets (panels, collectors) and then monetize the generated energy by selling it to utilities/building owners. The bond will help the developer to access the debt capital market to buy said assets. More often than not such ‘tax free’ bonds are issued to banks, insurance companies and pension funds. Just last year, Pune Municipality Corporation issued Muni bonds to modernize its water supply system. The 10 year bond with a pricing at 7.59 per cent was oversubscribed 6 times and the Pune municipal corporation raised a cool Rs 200 Crores.
Municipal bonds are fairly popular in the US. The bonds have funded many public sector renewable energy projects.The default rate is rare if not zilch. Back home, SEBI has put in place safeguards to prevent defaults. Only those Municipal corporations which have a good investment credit rating can issue bonds. Additionally, the corporation should not have defaulted on loans in the past one year. The revenue raised from the project will be kept in an escrow account which would then be regularly monitored by banks or financial institutions.
We hope that a muni bond to fund India’s rooftop solar dreams is issued soon.
The government of India has warned developers against using Imported Solar modules in projects under MNRE Schemes/Programmes where Domestic Content Requirement (DCR) has been mandated (in a WTO compliant manner).
The notice published on MNRE’s website goes on to state that there were apprehensions that the DCR Policy maybe misused by way of mis-declaration and using imported modules.
The following actions will be taken by MNRE on an agency acting on behalf of mnre if violations take place :-
1) Filing of criminal case under IPC 420 and related sections
2) Blacklisting of developer for a period of 10 tears
3) Forfeiting of relevant bank guarantee
4) Disciplinary case against the officers of concerned CPSU/State Govt
In an order issued on 13th February, the power ministry has decided to extend the waiver of inter-state transmission fees and losses incurred on transmission of electricity from wind and solar sources.
The waiver is applicable for 25 years for all those solar and wind projects which will be commissioned till 31st March, 2022. Earlier, the waiver was to conclude in 2019.
The waiver is subjected to the following conditions –
The waiver is applicable for all those solar & wind projetcs that are entering into PPAs with any entity including DISCOMS
The waiver will be allowed to only those wind and solar projetcs which are awarded through competitive bidding process in accordance with guidelines issued by the Central Government
This move is probably the first positive sign for the renewable energy industry this year. The Budget did not hold any jackpots so as to speak for the renewable energy industry.
Also, the last few months have held a lot of uncertainty for the Solar Sector with the Director Safeguards imposing a 70 % tariff on Chinese modules with little clarity on the future of imported modules lying at the ports for commissioned projects. The order was stayed by Madras High court but no decision has since been announced.
With the rollback of duty on tempered glass and waiver of transmission fees and losses, one does wonder if the 70% safeguard duty on Chinese modules might just become a reality.
Amongst 29 states and 7 Union Territories in India, Tamil Nadu currently has the largest installed capacity of renewable Energy at 10.686 GW (as of 31st Dec, 2017) which is almost 16 % of the current renewable capacity of the country (Refer Fig 1.1).
In the month of February this year, The Insititue of Energy Econimics & Financial Analaysis (IEEFA) published a report titled ‘Power-Industry Transition, Here and Now Wind and Solar Won’t Break the Grid: Nine Case Studies’. This report has been authored by Gerard Wynn, an energy consultant in UK. One of the Breakthrough Electricity Markets that has been showcased in this well-researched and comprehensive report is Tamil Nadu. According to the report –
Tamil Nadu ranks 9th on the list of global electricity markets that are leading the transition into wind and solar.
Below we have reproduced a Executive Summary from another IEEFA Case Study on Tamil Nadu published in the Report ‘Electricity Sector Transformation in India – A Case Study of Tamil Nadu’ authored by Mr. Tim Buckley and Kashish Shah.
Electricity production climbs to 164 terawatt-hours (TWh) by 2026/27, an increase of 60TWh or 57%.
IEEFA forecasts 67% of installed capacity and 56% of generation in Tamil Nadu will be derived from zero-emissions technologies by 2026/27. Distributed battery storage, demand response management, further diversification of generation capacity across fuel types, solar thermal power, pumped hydro storage (e.g. 500 megawatts (MW) at Kundah) and interstate grid connectivity will each play a key enabling role to accommodate a progressively higher market share of variable renewable energy sources.
Onshore and offshore wind capacity additions will provide an estimated 41% of the production uplift needed – As of March 2017, Tamil Nadu has 7.85 GW of wind operational. This makes Tamil Nadu one of the largest states in the world in terms of operational wind farms. August 2017 saw the finalization of a 500 MW wind tender by TANGEDCO at a near TN state record low tariff of Rs3.42/kWh. IEEFA models a near doubling to 15.0 GW of operational wind by 2026/27 across Tamil Nadu, including from repowering end-of-life projects to attain a tenfold uplift in capacity at existing facilities. Indian Electricity Sector Transformation – Tamil Nadu 3 IEEFA expects offshore wind to emerge as a new, cost competitive source of electricity generation system diversification for Tamil Nadu by 2025.
IEEFA forecasts that Tamil Nadu will see total solar installs increase sixfold by 2027 – IfTamil Nadu can maintain its sector leadership in rooftop Solar, this would imply 1-2 GW of rooftop solar is a conservative target by 2026/27, requiring 100-200 MW annually over the coming decade. The addition of 10.3 GW of new utility-scale solar by 2026/27 looks entirely commercially feasible after the 1.5 GW solar auction of July 2017 at just Rs3.47/kWh. Please note that Maharashtra had overtaken Tamil Nadu in Rooftop Solar by the time this report was published.
TANGEDCO’s improving financial profile is forecast to move into a net profit for the first time in two decades within 2-3 years. Critical to any sustained momentum in the Indian electricity sector transformation is a solution to the financial distress of the states’ distribution companies. Ongoing losses at Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corp. (TANGEDCO), have been a major constraint on electricity sector progress. TANGEDCO’s 2016/17 loss has been reduced by three quarters in just three years to Rs3,783 crores (US$582m). June 2017 saw the announcement that TANGEDCO was targeting a breakeven profit result for 2017/18. IEEFA views this as overly optimistic, but the path is set for better than breakeven results within the next few years.