KERC Denies Extension of Commissioning Dates for SunEdison’s 150 MW of Solar Projects

The Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) has ruled against a petition filed by the special purpose vehicles (SPVs) of SunEdison Energy – SEI Aditi Power, SEI Bheem, SEI Suryashakthi, SEI Diamond, and SEI Venus.

The solar power developer had filed petitions with the KERC requesting the extension of the scheduled commercial operation date for solar projects totaling 150 MW on the grounds of force majeure (unforeseeable) events.

The projects were being developed in five blocks of 30 MW in Chellakere taluk of Chitradurga district.

However, electricity distribution companies in Karnataka – Hubli Electricity Supply Company, Bangalore Electricity Supply Company, and the Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited (respondents) in this case had objected to the request.

SunEdison's 150 MW Solar Projects in Karnataka

The respondents argued that there was a ten-month delay in commissioning of the projects, and the petitioners were liable to pay the penalties as liquidated damages.

Besides, they stated that the delay and the cause for the delay in commissioning the projects do not fall within the ambit of the force majeure event. According to the developer, the delay was caused by the non-availability of power evacuation infrastructure by the Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited (KPTCL).

The KERC ruled that the developer had admitted that these solar power projects were not ready for commissioning, and consequently, the non-availability of the evacuation system cannot be treated as a force majeure event.

Further, the commission also passed an order that all the solar power projects of the petitioners are liable to a reduced tariff of ₹6.51 ($0.091) /kWh for the energy supplied under the PPAs, from the respective dates of commissioning of the projects. The projects were awarded to the developer at tariffs between ₹6.83 ($0.0969)/kWh and ₹6.97 ($0.01)/kWh.

The commission, however, rejected the claims of the respondents for the award of liquidated damages against the petitioners.

In November 2016, Greenko completed the acquisition of SunEdison’s 587 MW Indian wind and solar projects for a cash payment of $42 million and assumption of project-level debt of $350 million (at an average interest rate of 11.3%). The enterprise value of the transaction was approximately $392 million.

Image credit: juwi