ACME Solar, Shapoorji Pallonji, Hero Solar, Mahindra Susten, Mahoba Solar (Adani), and Azure Power have emerged as the winners in the recently conducted auction by the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) for 2 GW of Interstate Transmission System (ISTS)-connected solar projects to be developed across the country.
In the auction, ACME Solar once again quoted the lowest (L1) tariff of ₹2.44 (~$0.0355)/kWh, a record it had set for the solar industry at the 500 MW Bhadla Phase-III Solar Park Auction in May 2017. ACME has won the bid to develop 600 MW of solar projects at the L1 price of ₹2.44 (~$0.0355)/kWh.
Shapoorji Pallonji managed to win 250 MW at a bid of ₹2.52 (~$0.0367)/kWh. Hero Solar Energy, Mahindra Susten won the bids to develop 250 MW quoting ₹2.53 (~$0.0368)/kWh whereas Azure Power quoted ₹2.53 (~$0.0368)/kWh be develop 600 MW.
Mahoba Solar (Adani) which had placed the bid for 500 MW succeeded in winning only 50 MW at ₹2.54 (~$0.037)/kWh.
When contacted by Mercom, a SECI official said, “It is a very good outcome. We were confident of securing competitive rates for this auction but still not this low. Now let us hope these projects come up and on time.”
“We feel the modification of competitive bidding guidelines providing extension of timeline for land acquisition, financial closure and commissioning, played a major role in giving comfort to the developers, especially those developing projects above 300 MW to bid aggressively. The developers were asking for these timeline extensions for a long time now.”
“The challenge now is obtaining ISTS-connectivity. Now, solar developers will be exposed to the same challenges as wind developers in securing ISTS-connectivity. Let us hope for the best.”
When asked where these solar projects would most likely be located, the SECI official said “The developers have the option to change the location after the financial closure. With such low bids, my guess is Rajasthan would be a preferred location by developers considering the high solar irradiation in the area.”
He further added, “PPAs will be signed in 3 months from the LoI and 8-10 distribution companies (DISCOMs) across India have already shown interest in signing the PSAs”.
ACME announced its Initial Public Offering (IPO) worth ₹22 billion (~$336.86 million) in December 2017 and was in the news recently for downsizing the IPO from ₹22 billion to ₹10-15 billion ($147-219 million).