The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) has extended the bid submission dates for two tenders.
The first extension is for the 1,500 MW of solar projects under the second phase of the Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSU) program Tranche-II.
The new date for the submission of bids is September 13, 2019. Previously, SECI had announced August 23, 2019, as the deadline for bid submission.
During the first week of August, Mercom had reported that the power generated from these projects might be procured by the government for self-use either directly or through distribution companies on the payment of mutually agreed usage charges of not more than ₹3.50 (~$0.050)/kWh.
The projects can be developed anywhere in the country, and the cells and modules used in the projects should be manufactured locally.
Similarly, SECI has also extended the bid submission date for its tender for 1,200 MW of solar projects connected with the interstate transmission system (ISTS) network under tariff-based competitive bidding (ISTS-VI).
The new date for bid submission is September 16, 2019. The original bid submission deadline for this tender was August 9, 2019. This is the second extension for the tender.
The bid was first extended from August 9, 2019, to September 9, 2019. Earlier, the tender was issued for the state of Madhya Pradesh only.
“Initially, the tender was only for bidders in Madhya Pradesh, but now, it’s on a pan-India basis,” an official told Mercom.
Previously, Mercom had reported that the tariff ceiling for the tender was set at ₹2.65 (~$0.038)/kWh. Now the tariff cap has been amended to ₹2.68 (~$0.037).
One of the developers commented, “the tariff cap regime is posing a barrier for renewable energy additions in the country. The tariff cap of ₹2.65/kWh has no bidders. It has forced the developers to bid only in two states (Rajasthan and Gujarat), putting pressure on the local grids and curbing other states from using wastelands for construction of solar projects, denying them the benefits of employment, investment, and development. It has also shrunk the profit margins restricting new investments. Needless to mention, the quality of the projects is a huge concern.”
According to Mercom’s India Solar Tender Tracker, SECI has tendered 11 GW under the ISTS program (Tranche I to Tranche VII); and 5.5 GW has been auctioned (under ISTS I to V) so far.
Mercom has been reporting on how the solar market in India is extremely competitive with reverse auctions driving tariffs lower and lower, and developers fighting for every penny to make a decent return on their investment. In this tough environment, tariff caps have added a new challenge for developers.
Anjana is a news editor at Mercom India. Before joining Mercom, she held roles of senior editor, district correspondent, and sub-editor for The Times of India, Biospectrum and The Sunday Guardian. Before that, she worked at the Deccan Herald and the Asianlite as chief sub-editor and news editor. She has also contributed to The Quint, Hindustan Times, The New Indian Express, Reader’s Digest (UK edition), IndiaSe (Singapore-based magazine) and Asiaville. Anjana holds a Master’s degree in Geography from North Bengal University, and a diploma in mass communication and journalism from Guru Ghasidas University, Bhopal.