The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has amended the guidelines for the implementation of its scheme under which the government aims to develop 5 GW of solar projects with Viability Gap Funding (VGF) under the fourth batch of the National Solar Mission (NSM) Phase-II.
According to the new amendment, if there is a delay in the allotment of land for the project or connectivity by the government, the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) can now extend the time for the financial closure and commissioning date of the project, without any financial implications to the project developer.
Earlier, in such delays, SECI could extend the time for financial closure and commissioning date only up to three months. In case of extension beyond three months, SECI was earlier mandated to approach the MNRE with full justification for the delay, which would then be authorized to decide on further extension up to two months with the approval of its joint secretary and if the delay exceeds five months in total, the approval of MNRE’s secretary will be needed.
However, under the new amendment, if SECI itself is the solar park or project developer, then the approval for any extension will be given only by the MNRE.
This is the fourth time that the MNRE has made amendments to the VGF program guidelines. In June 2018, MNRE amended the guidelines under which mandatory registration with state nodal agency will no longer be required for projects being implemented by SECI. Earlier, there was a requirement for registration with the state nodal agency and obtaining their approval for project implementation.
In June 2017, MNRE, for the first time, amended the guidelines for the implementation of 5,000 MW VGF program for solar under NSM Phase-II Batch-IV. The MNRE amendment stated, “SECI will tie up with buying entities and/or states for the entire capacity to be tendered, before the issue of request for selection (RfS).” Priority will be provided to the host state with the remaining power to be sold to other states or interested buying entities. The MNRE then amended the guidelines for the second time in September 2017.