Solar Auctions Plummeted While Tender Activity Soars in March 2019

Solar auction activity in March plummeted to 750 MW, which was approximately one-fourth of the capacity auctioned in the previous month. The auctioned capacity in March 2019 was also lower when compared year-over-year when 1 GW of solar auctions conducted in March 2018.

However, the tender announcements fared better in March with 5.3 GW of solar capacity tendered through the month, 1 GW higher than the capacity tendered in February 2019, according to Mercom’s India Solar Tender Tracker.

Tender activity was also nearly 2.3 GW more in comparison to the solar tenders announced in the same month last year. The end of the financial year and the approaching general elections in the country seem to have stirred tender activity in March. However, auction activity is expected to resume most likely after the elections are concluded and the new government assumes office.

According to the tender trajectory issued by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), approximately 30 GW are expected to be tendered in FY 2018-19. So far, over 55 GW have already been tendered. While these announcements sound positive for the industry, the markets must wait to see if these tenders will turn into auctions.

Here is a quick recap of major tenders and auctions that took place in March 2019:

Major Tenders in March

The Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Limited (GUVNL) issued a revised Request for Selection (RfS) for 700 MW of grid-connected solar power projects to be set up under Phase III of Raghanesda Solar Park located in the state.

The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECIissued a Request for Selection for 750 MW (Tranche-II) of grid-connected solar PV projects in Rajasthan. It has set the upper ceiling tariff at ₹ 2.68 (~$0.039) / kWh.

Largest Auction in March

Four solar project developers – Fortum Solar (250 MW), ACME Solar (250 MW), Sitara Solar (100 MW), and Palimarwar Solar (40 MW),  quoted the lowest tariff of ₹2.48 (~$0.0349)/kWh in the auction held by SECI for 750 MW of solar power projects which are slated to be developed in Rajasthan.

Auction activity in April is also expected to be muted due to ongoing elections.

Nitin is a staff reporter at Mercomindia.com and writes on renewable energy and related sectors. Prior to Mercom, Nitin has worked for CNN IBN, India News, Agricultural Spectrum and Bureaucracy Today. He received his bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Communication from Manipal Institute of Communication at Manipal University and Master’s degree in International Relations from Jindal School of International Affairs. More articles from Nitin Kabeer