SECI Modifies its 100 MW Solar Tender with Battery Storage to be Set Up in Chhattisgarh

The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) has issued amendments to the tender document for 100 MW (AC) of solar power projects along with a 50 MW/150 MWh battery storage system (BESS). The project is slated to be developed at Rajnandgaon in Chhattisgarh.

The project’s bid submission deadline has once again been extended, and the new date is December 15, 2020. The earlier deadline was November 27, 2020.

SECI had invited bids for the project in September, and the deadline for the submission of bids then was October 27, 2020.

As per the amendments issued by SECI, the annual capacity utilization factor (CUF) guarantee has been removed. In the previous version, it was mentioned that if the contractor failed to achieve the annual guaranteed CUF (36.5%) at the end of the tenth year, then the contractor was liable to pay a compensation amount equal to the net present value (NPV) of the revenue loss for 10th to 25th year. If the CUF was less than the guaranteed CUF, the contractor had to compensate as liquidated damages, equivalent to the remuneration of the equivalent energy, subject to a maximum of 100% of the total annual operation maintenance (O&M) cost.

Also, as per the amended clause, the cell technology used for the project should be monocrystalline and bifacial. Earlier, multicrystalline technology was also allowed.

According to the new eligibility criteria, the module supplier should have supplied a minimum of 5 GW capacity globally or 500 MW in India in the last five years. Previously, the capacity required was a minimum of 5 GW capacity globally and 1 GW in India in the past five years.

The project’s AC capacity is now 100 MW (AC), and the solar DC capacity is 160 MW. The BESS capacity has now been revised to 40 MW/120 MWh from 50 MW/150 MWh.

After the contract is signed, the winning bidder will be required to finalize a BESS sub-contractor and establish a subcontracting agreement within 180 days. Further, any delay beyond 180 days in the signing of the subcontracting agreement will attract 1.25% in liquidated damages per month on the project’s total price. The previous clause did not mention BESS sub-contractors and the subcontracting deal.

In another change, the BESS sub-contractor must have prior experience of having successfully executed grid-connected battery storage projects of a cumulative capacity of 12 MWh or above in the last five years. Such cumulative capacity must include at least two grid-connected BESS projects, having a minimum capacity of 4 MWh each. The project must have been in satisfactory operation for at least six months from its date of commissioning.

The previous clause mentioned that the sub-contractor should have commissioned at least three grid-connected battery storage projects, each having an individual capacity of 5 MWh or above in the last five years. It also said that the project capacity must have been in satisfactory operation for at least 12 months from the date of commissioning.

The bids’ validity has also been revised from April 27, 2021, to June 27, 2021.

The new clause states that the bidder should demonstrate the availability of financial resources such as liquid assets and lines of credit to meet the cash-flow requirement of ₹1.10 billion (~$15 million). Earlier, the amount was set as ₹1.44 billion (~$19 million).

The terms of payment for the project and equipment supplied have also been changed. As per the amended clause, 10% of the total will be paid within 45 days of receipt of the invoice after final acceptance of the project facilities. The earlier clause said that 10% of the total was to be paid within 45 days of receipt of invoice after final acceptance of the project facilities or completion of the first year of O&M, whichever was later.

Regarding the construction of feeder bays, the amended clause says that the construction of two 132kV feeder bays at the 220kV Thelkadih substation is not in the bidder’s scope of work. SECI has obtained the approval for the construction of two feeder bays at Thelkadih. The previous clause didn’t mention the construction of two feeder bays.

The new clause says that the inverter supplier should have supplied a minimum of 5 GW capacity globally or 1 GW in India in the past five years (as of three months from the contract’s effective date). Earlier, there was no mention of three months from the date of the agreement.

According to Mercom’s India Solar Tender Tracker, SECI has so far tendered 371 MW of BESS projects.

In July this year, SECI once again extended the bid submission deadline for its tender for 14 MW of solar projects with 42 MWh battery energy storage systems (7MW/21 MWh each). The projects are set to be developed at Leh and Kargil.

Earlier, SECI had issued a tender for setting up 4 MW of grid-connected floating solar projects. These solar projects will come with a 2 MW battery energy storage system. The projects will be developed at Kalpong Dam in Diglipur, located in northern Andaman.