MNRE Asks SECI to Set Upper Ceiling for Solar Tariff at ₹2.50/kWh Without Safeguard Duty

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has written to the Karnataka government expressing its concern over delays in granting land approval for various solar projects, affecting the country’s renewable growth trajectory.

The letter cites 24 solar power projects with total capacity of 970 MW being implemented by the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) under MNRE’s 2,000 MW Viability Gap Funding (VGF) program in Karnataka.

According to guidelines and bidding conditions of the VGF program, a project developer must file a financial closure within seven months from signing the power purchase agreement (PPA). One of the conditions to reach financial closure is that the solar project developer should have all the necessary documents to show that the land has been secured for the project.

However, SECI has observed that many such projects have been delayed because land approvals are still pending.

The letter notes that delays on part of the state government not only leads to financial stress for developers but also creates a negative sentiment for the sector that may affect the development of solar power industry.

The letter, signed by Anand Kumar, the secretary at MNRE, has asked the Karnataka government to give adequate direction to the concerned departments.

According to the Mercom’s India Solar Project Tracker , Karnataka’s solar capacity crossed the 5 GW mark in the first quarter of 2018 making it India’s top solar state.

So far in 2018, Karnataka has maintained a brisk pace of solar project commissioning. In 2017, the state installed over 2 GW of solar PV capacity and, in the first three months of 2018 alone, the state matched that annual total with installations of over 2 GW of solar PV projects.