MNRE Invites bids to Install 50 Innovative Solar Pumps Under KUSUM Program

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) invited innovators, manufacturers, service providers to submit an expression of interest (EoI) for the installation of innovative solar pumps.

MNRE will shortlist promising technologies with variable claims for improved parameters and allow the selected innovators to install solar pumps under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyaan (PM-KUSUM) Program

The last date for submission of interest is October 8, 2020. Interested applicants must make an earnest money deposit (EMD) of ₹5,000 (~$68). MNRE would invite successful applicants to install up to 50 standalone solar pumps.

The purpose behind the EoI is to bring in innovation in the solar pumping sector by allowing innovators to showcase their technologies in real-world conditions.

Currently, only solar pumps fulfilling the MNRE specifications can be installed. The MNRE notice said that it had received representations from innovators claiming that by using different design or hardware for the solar pump, they can achieve better performance than what has been specified by MNRE.

So, to promote innovation in technology, the government has decided to permit the installation of innovative standalone solar pumps in test mode.

Back in June, the Ministry released the guidelines for installing innovative standalone solar pumps in test mode. This was after it had issued draft guidelines for the installation and invited comments and suggestions from stakeholders. Earlier, MNRE had also asked the states to prepare innovative business models for implementing the KUSUM program. It had cited the example of business models for the solarization of pumps adopted in Haryana, Gujarat, and Maharashtra, the MNRE has asked other states to follow suit.

For this tender, prospective applicants should bear in mind that only those innovative products which are available for testing and field trial will be eligible for participation. Bidders should carry the test report for the improved solar pumping system.

Apart from this, new technologies (for which patent applications have been filed but not awarded) are also eligible to participate. In such cases, the organization which has filed the patent should be the sole applicant or lead partner in case of a consortium or joint venture.

However, the committee may recommend re-testing of performance of the pumps at the National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE) or any accredited lab by the National Accreditation Board for Testing & Calibration Laboratories (NABL), before allowing installation in the field.

The elements of innovation for improved performance need to be mentioned by the applicants in their response to EoI. A cost-benefit analysis should also be enclosed with the proposal, the notice added. If the technology is in its nascent stage, a special method would be adopted to test the pumps in consultation with the innovator and NISE. The expenditure incurred on testing will be borne by the applicant, said MNRE.

Innovators scoring at least 75% based on the marking scheme will be shortlisted and invited to participate in the program. Innovators who accept the invitation of the Ministry will be empanelled and allocated sites for the installation of solar pumps. Innovators will have to submit an indemnity bond to cover any losses incurred by the farmer in case of underperformance or failure of the solar pump or its sub-systems.

The field demonstration will continue for at least one year from the date of installation of such pumps so that the performance of the pump can be monitored in real-time. Successful bidders will also be asked to provide comprehensive maintenance for the installed pumps for five years.

Image credit: Tata Power Solar