The Haryana Electricity Regulatory Commission (HERC) has approved a tariff of ₹2.48 (~$0.034)/kWh for 50 MW of Amplus Sun Solutions’ solar power projects in Bhiwani, Haryana, after re-examining the capital cost component of the developer’s tariff determination submission.
Amplus filed a petition with the Commission asking it to determine a tariff for its solar projects. To allow the people to participate in the proceedings, Amplus published the petition in a public notice in newspapers. They invited objections, comments, or suggestions from the general public and stakeholders. It received feedback from seven parties, including the Haryana Power Purchase Center (HPPC).
In its response, HPPC raised questions about the capital costs quoted by the developer. It particularly found the project, machinery, and civil cost components of ₹389.1 million (~$5.3 million) incurred by the developer to be substantial and “unbelievable.”
Amplus said it had incurred a total capital cost of ₹2.75 billion (~$37.7 million) or ₹55.08 million (~$755,790)/MW in its petition. A breakdown of the capital cost components can be seen here:
Referring to the projects set up under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evem Utthan Mahabhiyan (PM KUSUM) program, HPPC said that the approved capital cost for projects below 2 MW capacity was ₹34 million (~$466,537), and this included the cost of land, evacuation infrastructure, and the monetized value of solar panel degradation.
Amplus should have incurred a capital cost of ₹30.42 million (~$417,414)/MW considering a capacity utilization factor (CUF) of 17%, HPPC said. It also cited projects in Uttarakhand that had an approved capital cost of ₹35.6 million (~$488,492)/MW and projects in Rajasthan, which had a capital cost of ₹36.5 million (~$500,841)/MW. Karnataka had also approved a capital cost of ₹31.7 million (~$434,977)/MW, excluding land costs for projects smaller than 5 MW.
The Commission took note of HPPC’s submission while observing that capital costs vary from state to state. It further observed that Amplus had claimed the capital cost against a DC capacity of 75 MW instead of the contracted AC capacity of 50 MW.
It cited a previous petition where the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission declared that capital cost must be set based on AC capacity and not DC capacity since some developers deploy additional modules to optimize the project’s performance and inverters, in particular. This way, additional power is generated from the extra modules, which results in higher earnings from the feed-in-tariff. The HERC subsequently computed the capital cost components based on 50 MW of projects instead of 75 MW and used this to determine the tariff.
The HERC also said that Amplus’ quoted capital cost of ₹2.75 billion (~$37.7 million) or ₹55.08 million (~$755,790)/MW was not justifiable and that it would not consider this while determining the tariff. It approved a total capital cost of ₹1.91 billion (~$26.2 million) for the 50 MW project or ₹38.25 million (~$524,854)/MW. It noted that while this was still on the higher side, it was still reasonable given the developer’s proposal to consider a CUF of 25.91%.
Based on this capital cost and the other cost components submitted by the developer, the Commission arrived at a project-specific levelized tariff of ₹2.48 (~$0.034)/kWh for the 50 MW of projects. Some of the parameters considered are provided below:
This 50 MW solar project by Amplus has been through rough roads. The project was initially developed to sell power through open access to commercial and industrial consumers. But the distribution company (DISCOM) refused to provide open access approval and asked for the power to be sold to the DISCOM. This decision of the DISCOM was opposed in public interest litigation, and now the regulator has set the generic tariff for these projects.
In May 2020, HERC approved a tariff of ₹2.73 (~$0.036)/kWh for 240 MW of solar power from Avaada Energy Private Limited for 25 years.
In 2019, Siwana Solar Power Projects, which has a 5 MW solar project installed at Mithi village in Bhiwani district, had filed a petition against the HPPC for paying a reduced generic tariff for power generated from its project.
Nithin Thomas is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Previously with Reuters News, he has covered oil, metals and agricultural commodity markets across global markets. He has also covered refinery and pipeline explosions, oil and gas leaks, Atlantic region hurricane developments, and other natural disasters. Nithin holds a Masters Degree in Applied Economics from Christ University, Bangalore and a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce from Loyola College, Chennai. More articles from Nithin.