SECI Increases Solar Tender Capacity from 6 to 7 GW with 2 GW of Manufacturing

The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) has increased the manufacturing linked solar tender, which it had initially floated in January 2019. The capacity has been increased from 6 GW to 7 GW. The amended tender calls for 7 GW of interstate transmission system (ISTS)-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) projects linked with 2 GW of solar manufacturing component.

SECI has set the maximum tariff payable to the solar developer at ₹2.93 ($0.041) from earlier ₹2.75 ($0.039)/ kWh, an increase of 6.5%.

The solar PV power projects set up under this Request for Selection (RfS) would be eligible for ISTS charges waiver, even if commissioned beyond March 31, 2022.

A SECI official confirmed to Mercom that the tender issued is in line with the MNRE order, and the new deadline for bid submission is October 31, 2019.

According to the new clause, SECI will provide a “green-shoe option” to the successful bidders or developers equivalent to the capacity won by them. To avail the green-shoe option, the successful bidders need to match the lowest tariff of the respective bidding packages.

The developers will be provided PPAs for up to 2,000 MW capacity against 500 MW of solar manufacturing component under Bidding Package-A and up to 1,500 MW against 500 MW of solar manufacturing projects under Bidding Package-B.

The PPAs will be executed within a maximum time frame of 180 days.

The developers would be allowed to set up ISTS-connected solar projects in parallel with setting up of the manufacturing facility. The solar PV power projects will be allowed staggered commissioning over a period of five years under Bidding Package-A and four years under Bidding Package-B.

According to SECI, the solar PV modules and solar PV cells should meet the technical specification and standards mentioned in a previous MNRE order.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) had issued an order on January 2019, for the implementation of ‘Approved and Manufacturers of Solar Photovoltaic Modules (Requirements for Compulsory Registration) Order, 2019’. Only the models and manufacturers included in ALMM will be eligible for use in solar power projects.

SECI also specified that the successful bidder would not be allowed to benefit from other central government programs providing for capital subsidy or viability gap funding (VGF) program. However, they would be free to avail any fiscal incentives from central or state governments.

The tender aims to promote only commercially established and operational technologies to minimize the technology risk and to achieve timely commissioning of the projects. The successful bidder has to confirm the selection of technology.

“For solar PV power projects, the technology proposed at the time of submission of the response to RfS can be changed at the time of financial closure,” adds the tender.

Further, it states that to have a sustainable manufacturing base, the earlier generation technology such as multi-crystalline or polycrystalline will not be allowed. For manufacturing of solar PV cells, only advanced technologies, with a minimum 21% efficiency, like Mono-PERC and Hetro-Junction will be allowed.

Mercom recently published a report highlighting how India is slowly transitioning to Mono Perc technology owing to its higher output and efficiency.