BIS Certification Rather than Tier-1 List label Important for Solar modules, says MNRE

The ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) of India has issued a memorandum to  lending and financing bodies to give importance to BIS certification of solar PV modules rather than Tier-I label of the manufacturers.

The memorandum says, ““The lenders involved in financing solar PV power projects must insist for BIS certification regarding quality of solar modules and not whether the supply of solar modules is from the Bloomberg Tier-I List.”

Last year, MNRE made it mandatory for manufacturers or sellers of PV modules in India to obtain BIS registration.

Following several extensions, the order will be effective January 1, 2019, the official quoted above said.

Prior to implementation of BIS certification as a compulsory requirement, there was no uniform means to ascertain quality of modules supplied in India, the ministry noted.

MNRE emphasizing on BIS standards will lead to use of quality Solar PV modules instead of low quality Chinese solar PV modules even if the manufacturer is listed in the Tier-I list from Bloomberg.

This is because what Bloomberg list of solar manufacturers basically tells is how credible and reliable is the Solar company, but it does not focus on technical specification of the modules.

What is Bloomberg Tier – I list?

Bloomberg New Energy Finance puts out a quarterly list of PV module manufacturers from around the world and rank them under Tier I list.

This ranking system is purely on the financial status of the company, and not the quality of the modules.

Investors and lending institutions invariably use this list to determine if the solar panels  used for the projects are backed by a strong warranty and company will be able to operate for the full 25 years of planned operation – and hopefully beyond.

Bloomberg, being a bank, defines bankability as: if solar products are likely to be offered non-recourse debt financing by banks.

Qualifications required to get listed in Tier 1

To qualify for the Bloomberg Tier 1 list, and listed in order of accomplishment, a manufacturer needs to prove:
  1. At least 6 different projects of 1.5 MW’s or more in the past 2 years
  2. Which have received non-recourse debt financing by 6 different banks (where available – otherwise additional documentation is needed)
  3. Manufacturers need to own production facilities and the brand name
  4. Cannot have filed bankruptcy, insolvency, or defaulted on bond payments
A solar manufacturer can submit documents to Bloomberg for review, however Bloomberg will tier companies regardless of receiving additional information and will review companies based on their database.
As can be seen these requirements prove that a manufacturer has a lot of financing around its customers and projects though this does not directly show a strong business model or financial stability – which might be a priority for anyone looking for long and stable warranty coverage. 

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