The Union cabinet has approved the second tranche of the Performance Linked incentive (PLI) scheme to boost manufacturing of high efficiency solar photovoltaic (PV) modules in India with an outlay of ₹19,500 crore.

The scheme is expected to bring direct investment of around ₹94,000 crore, the Union cabinet says in a statement, adding it is estimated that about 65,000 megawatt per annum manufacturing capacity of fully and partially integrated, solar PV modules would be installed.

The PLI allocation of solar PV modules was increased to ₹24,000 crore from the earlier ₹4,500 crore after seeing an encouraging response in the first round. Considering India's ambitious plans to expand solar generation, this scheme may continue to attract additional allocation every year.

The solar PLI scheme will result in direct employment of about 1,95,000 and indirect employment of around 7,80,000 persons, the cabinet statement says.

The national programme on high efficiency solar PV Modules aims to build an ecosystem for manufacturing of high efficiency solar PV modules in India, and thus reduce import dependence in the area of renewable energy. It is expected to strengthen the Atamnirbhar Bharat initiative and generate employment.

The solar PLI allocation will result in import substitution of around ₹1.37 lakh crore, the cabinet says.

The scheme will also lead to creation of manufacturing capacity for allied equipment in the solar manufacturing chain including solar glass.

Solar PV manufacturers will be selected through a transparent selection process, the government says. PLI will be disbursed for five years post commissioning of solar PV manufacturing plants on sales of high efficiency solar PV modules from the domestic market will be incentivised, it adds.

Meanwhile, e-commerce giant Amazon on Wednesday announced its first utility-scale renewable energy projects in India – three solar farms located in the state of Rajasthan.

These include a 210 MW project to be developed by India-based developer ReNew Power, a 100 MW project to be developed by local developer Amp Energy India, and a 110 MW project to be developed by Brookfield Renewable.

Combined, these solar farms have the capacity to generate 1,076,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of renewable energy per year, enough to power over 360,000 average-sized households in New Delhi annually.

Amazon said its solar projects in Rajasthan will help to increase the availability and affordability of renewable energy in India, by enabling new capacity beyond what is available on the grid today.

The U.S.-based online retailer also announced 23 new solar rooftop projects on its fulfilment centres across 14 cities in India, which have the capacity to generate an additional 4.09 MW of renewable energy. This brings the total number of solar rooftop projects in India to 41 with 19.7 MW of renewable energy capacity, which will contribute to powering Amazon’s fulfilment network in India.

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