Second Phase of Grid-Connected Rooftop Solar PV Program Approved

The Paschim Gujarat Vij Company Limited (PGVCL) has reissued an expression of interest (EoI) for empaneled agencies to set up 600 MW of grid-connected residential rooftop solar projects in the state.

According to the document, the rates invited are for eleven capacities of solar systems: 1-1.5 kW, 1.51-2.50 kW, 2.51-3.50 kW, 3.51-4.50 kW, 4.51-5.50 kW, 5.51 kW-6 kW, 6 kW, >6kW to 10 kW, 10 kW to 25 kW, 25 kW to 50 kW, 50 to 100 kW and >100 kW.

Two types of bidder categories are to be empaneled through this EoI.

  • Category A bidders are those who have experience in installing at least 200 kW of solar rooftop projects in the residential sector in Gujarat or should have successfully installed a minimum aggregate capacity of 1,000 kW in any sector.
  • Category B bidders will include those who are not covered under Category A.

The contract will also include five years of maintenance of the projects. The solar systems should also be guaranteed by the empaneled agency for a minimum period of five years from the date of successful commissioning.

The last date for the submission of online bids is March 16, 2020, and the last date for the physical submission of bids is March 20, 2020. A pre-bid meeting will take place on March 04, 2020.

For category A bidders, the earnest money deposit (EMD) is ₹700,000 (~$9,762). Similarly, for category B bidders and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), the EMD has been set at ₹400,000 (~$5,578).

The solar modules and cells used for the project should be made in India, the document further adds.

Category A bidders should either be a manufacturer of solar modules or a PV system integrator. For Category B, if the bidder is not a manufacturer or a PV system integrator, they should submit at least one letter of consent from the manufacturer agreeing to the supply of SPV modules.

In terms of financial criteria, category A bidders should have an annual turnover of at least ₹15 million (~$209,193)/year for the last three financial years. Also, the bidder should have a positive net worth in the last three financial years.

Only a few days ago, the Energy and Petrochemical Department, under the Gujarat government, extended the deadline for receiving applications from empaneled agencies for setting up 600 MW of grid-connected residential rooftop solar projects. The deadline was extended to February 28, 2020.

Speaking to Mercom on the extension, a solar module manufacturer had then said, “Of the 600 MW, bids for only 225 MW were received according to our information. It could be challenging to receive bids for the entire 600 MW because of various impractical clauses in the tender. One such clause reads, “Prior to the dispatch, the materials may be inspected and tested by the concerned DISCOM or its consultants, at the premises of the original  equipment  manufacturer, where solar panels, grid-tie inverters, module mounting structure, other components of the project are manufactured.” So, if a developer sources his modules from a manufacturer in Mumbai, Delhi or Kolkata, he needs to arrange for the DISCOM officials to inspect the factory in these cities. This is time-consuming, expensive, and impractical. Also, after all the installations, the developers will have to wait for the government subsidy, which we all know can take a long time, until which the money invested is stranded.” The clause has been retained in the reissued tender.

In July last year, the state had issued an expression of interest for empaneled agencies to set up 600 MW of grid-connected rooftop solar projects in residential premises.

According to the Gujarat Energy Development Agency (GEDA), the state has ~417 MW of installed rooftop solar capacity as of December 2019.

To promote solar rooftops in the residential sector, the government of Gujarat has introduced the Surya Urja Rooftop Yojana. Under the program, a state subsidy of 40% is

available for projects up to 3 MW and 20% for solar rooftop projects above 3 kW and up to 10 kW installed by private residential consumers.