Electricity Tribunal Grants Grid Connectivity to Avaada's 100 MW Solar Project

The Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (APTEL), in reply to Avaada Energy’s petition, has approved grid-connectivity for a 100 MW solar project in Maharashtra. The project was earlier caught in disputes with the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) and Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL).

The tribunal has ruled in favor of the developer in two cases; it has asked MSEDCL to honor the grid connectivity already granted to the developer for a 28 MW solar project commissioned in April 2018. The tribunal has also approved the evacuation of power for the remaining 72 MW to either MSEDCL or any third party.

Avaada Energy, a demerged entity of Welspun Energy, had filed the petition seeking APTEL’s direction in the matter.

Background


In 2016, Welspun was awarded 100 MW of solar projects in SECI’s 500 MW auction. The project was to be developed on build own operate basis with viability gap funding (VGF) in Maharashtra under Phase-II Batch-III of the National Solar Mission.

Avaada Energy had written to MSEDCL seeking grid synchronization of the balance 72 MW capacity to enable the supply of power to MSEDCL or a third-party. Even after the tribunal’s directions, MSEDCL did not grant grid synchronization to the project, the petition noted.

Of the 100 MW, Avaada was able to develop 28 MW after certain issues in project development. The remaining 72 MW was delayed and was later granted a time extension by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC).

But SECI refused to sign the power purchase agreement (PPA) for the 28 MW, which was delayed and also canceled the remaining 72 MW project.

The APTEL later intervened and directed SECI to sign the PPA for the 28 MW project. It also asked MSEDCL to arrange evacuation for the remaining 72 MW (of which 29 MW is ready for immediate synchronization) from which either MSEDCL could purchase power or be allowed to sell to a third-party.

Tribunal’s Analysis

In its analysis, the tribunal noted that the main grievance of Avaada Energy was regarding the non-synchronization of the completed capacity of its project beyond 28 MW (29 MW of power out of the balance 72 MW).

The APTEL stated that MSEDCL had not facilitated the power evacuation and had raised many objections that were unfounded and untenable.

APTEL further noted that Avaada Energy had already been granted grid connectivity for the entire 100 MW by the Maharashtra State Electricity Transmission Company (MSETCL), out of which 28 MW stood synchronized. The tribunal observed that MSETCL had extended the grid connectivity for the whole of the 100 MW in the name of Avaada Energy.

Given these facts, APTEL stated that the grid connectivity which had already been granted to Avaada Energy should be honored. It directed MSEDCL to facilitate the evacuation of the additional capacity to either MSEDCL or any third party.

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Image credit: Photo by Vasco Figueira on Unsplash