Last month, the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co. Ltd. (MSEDCL) had filed a petition with the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) seeking the approval to procure an additional 300 MW capacity of solar power from the Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL). The commission, in turn, has approved MSEDCL’s submission and allowed the procurement of 300 MW of solar power from the EESL at a tariff of ₹3/kWh ($0.042) for its RPO fulfillment.
The power would be procured on a long-term basis from ground-mounted solar projects proposed to be set up at the premises of MSEDCL/Maharashtra State Electricity Transmission Company Limited (MSETCL), gram panchayats, and other government-owned lands. MSEDCL had also requested that this procurement of 300 MW of solar power should be counted towards the fulfillment of its renewable purchase obligation (RPO).
The DISCOM had, in its petition, requested the MERC to allow the procurement of solar power generated under this project at a tariff of ₹3/kWh ($0.042). It had also suggested that the individual projects that would be developed under this program will be between 0.3 MW to 10 MW capacity.
According to the petition, until now, MSEDCL has floated tenders for nearly 3,800 MW capacity for the procurement of solar power.
The MERC has been reluctant to approve tariffs above ₹3 ($0.040)/kWh. Earlier, the commission had dismissed a petition filed by MSEDCL seeking the approval of tariff in the range of ₹3.16 (~$0.045)/kWh to ₹3.30 (~$0.046)/kWh for 1,170 MW of solar projects to be set up under the Mukhyamantri Saur Krishi Vahini Yojana.
According to Mercom Solar Project Tracker, Maharashtra has 1.4 GW of cumulative large-scale solar installed capacity as of Q2 2019. A total of 1,087 MW of solar projects are under development in the state.
However, the state has been struggling to meet its solar and non-solar RPO, and recently, MSEDCL filed a petition before the MERC seeking its approval for the procurement of 500 MW of flexible and schedulable power to fulfill its RPO for 25 years.
Before this, 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 set at ₹2.80 ($0.038)/kWh.
Shaurya is a staff reporter at MercomIndia.com with experience working in the Indian solar energy industry for the past four years in various roles. Prior to joining Mercom, Shaurya worked with a renewable energy developer and a consulting company. Shaurya holds a Bachelors Degree in Business Management from Lancaster University in the United Kingdom.