Railways Issues Tender Mandating Made in India Cells & Modules for 1 GW of Solar Projects

The Railway Energy Management Company Limited (REMCL), a joint venture company of the Ministry of Railways and RITES Limited, has announced a tender for setting up 1 GW of solar projects along the railways’ tracks in various states.

The tender has been floated under the domestic content requirement (DCR) category. This implies that the successful bidders will have to use both solar PV cells and modules manufactured domestically as per the specifications of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).

The last date for the submission of bids is September 2, 2020, while the pre-bid meeting has been scheduled to take place on July 30, 2020. The prospective bidders need to pay ₹1 million (~$13,274)/MW as the earnest money deposit (EMD).

The site locations suggested by Railways are in the states of Assam, Haryana, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Bihar, and Delhi.

In order to bid for the project, the interested bidder will have to apply for state-wise solar capacity in packages. For each state-wise package, the concerned nodal railway will sign the PPAs with the solar power developer for 25 years. The estimated cost of the projects considered in the tender is ₹45 million (~₹598,383)/MW.

The scope of work will include the design, building, financing, operation, and long-term maintenance of solar PV projects.

To participate in this tender, the interested bidders should have commissioned at least one land-based solar PV project of at least 35% of the total quoted capacity in the last three financial years. Further, they must have received contractual payments for at least 150% of the estimated cost for the total capacity quoted in the last three financial years. Members of a consortium should have a lead member with an equity shareholding of at least 26% of the paid-up and subscribed equity of the special project vehicle.

The bidder will have to furnish bid security of ₹1 million (~$13,274)/MW in the form of a bank guarantee, having a net worth of at least ₹10 billion (~$133 million). The bid security should have a validity period of at least 240 days from the bid due date.

Recently, REMCL also released a tender for 400 MW of grid-connected solar projects on vacant railway lands in the country. This tender was also floated under the DCR category.

REMCL has been assigned the responsibility of setting up 3 GW of solar power projects on vacant lands of the Indian Railways. The projects will be divided into three phases of 1 GW each. The first and third phases will be carried out under a public-private partnership basis under the design, build, finance, operate, and transfer model. Meanwhile, the second phase will be carried out under the ownership of REMCL.

During the announcement of the Budget 2020, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had stated that solar capacity would be deployed along the railway tracks on lands owned by the Indian Railways. She had mentioned that the government aims to electrify 27,000 km of railway tracks.

Image credit: Piyush Sharma / CC BY-SA (4.0)