In the auction for 500 MW of solar projects conducted by the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL), Juniper Green Energy Pvt Ltd has emerged as the lowest bidder.
Juniper Green won 150 MW of solar projects in the auction at a tariff of ₹2.89 ($0.0407)/kWh. The remaining 350 MW has been bagged by Maharashtra State Power Generation Company Limited (MSPGCL) at a tariff of ₹2.90 ($0.0409)/kWh through bucket filling method. It had bid for the entire capacity of 500 MW but has been awarded 350 MW.
In November 2019, the state had issued a Request for Selection (RfS) for the long-term procurement of power from 500 MW of intra-state solar power project (Phase-IV).
The MSEDCL had set a ceiling tariff of ₹2.90 (~$0.0409)kWh for the tender. The tender for these projects added that interested bidders must identify 100% of the land required for the project at the time of the submission of the bid. However, successful bidders would be allowed to change the location of the project within the state at the time of achievement of the financial closure. Developers had to achieve financial closure within nine months from the date of execution of the power purchase agreement (PPA) for projects set up in solar parks and within 12 months from the date of execution of the PPA, for projects set up outside the solar parks.
The state has been reluctant to approve tariffs above ₹3 ($0.040)/kWh.
Earlier, the commission dismissed a petition filed by MSEDCL seeking the approval of tariff for 1,170 MW of solar projects to be set up under the Mukhyamantri Saur Krishi Vahini Yojana. The MSEDCL in its petition had requested for the adoption of tariff in the range of ₹3.16 (~$0.045)/kWh to ₹3.30 (~$0.046)/kWh. The tariffs were discovered in the competitive bidding process for a cumulative capacity of 1,170 MW of solar power projects to meet the DISCOM’s solar RPO.
In August 2019, MSEDCL issued a tender to procure 500 MW of solar power with a tariff cap of ₹2.80 ($0.04)/kWh. However, according to a state official, that project has been canceled due to bidders not being clear about the transmission charges.
Before this tender, Maharashtra had floated a tender for the long-term procurement of 1 GW of solar power to meet its RPO in June 2019. The ceiling tariff for that tender was also set at ₹2.80 ($0.038)/kWh.
The state has been struggling to meet its solar and non-solar RPO and had earlier invited potential bidders for the procurement of 500 MW of wind power on a long-term basis for eight years at a ceiling tariff of ₹2.52 ($ 0.036)/kWh.
Tariff caps in reverse auctions have been a major problem for the sector as developers are very reluctant to participate in auctions where tariffs can only go in the downward direction.
According to Mercom India Solar Project Tracker, Maharashtra has 1.6 GW of large-scale solar projects in operation and 2 GW is currently under the development pipeline.
Image credit: Renovalia Energy
Anjana is a news editor at Mercom India. Before joining Mercom, she held roles of senior editor, district correspondent, and sub-editor for The Times of India, Biospectrum and The Sunday Guardian. Before that, she worked at the Deccan Herald and the Asianlite as chief sub-editor and news editor. She has also contributed to The Quint, Hindustan Times, The New Indian Express, Reader’s Digest (UK edition), IndiaSe (Singapore-based magazine) and Asiaville. Anjana holds a Master’s degree in Geography from North Bengal University, and a diploma in mass communication and journalism from Guru Ghasidas University, Bhopal.