India’s solar sector logged unprecedented tender activity in January, with more than 5.5 GW of solar photovoltaic (PV) projects tendered during the month. The capacity tendered was more than double the 2.5 GW tendered in December according to Mercom India Research.

By contrast, auction activity declined sharply during the first month of 2018. While in December, over 750 MW of solar was auctioned, that figure plunged to just over 20 MW in the month of January based on data from Mercom India Solar Tender Tracker.

This surge of tenders was the result of an ambitious tender trajectory issued in November by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). It called for issuing 3 GW of solar tenders in December and 3 GW of solar tenders in January, 5 GW in February 2018, and 6 GW in March 2018. Incidentally there was no timeline set for auctions.

“While tender announcements are important, auctions are what count. With continued uncertainty around antidumping, safeguard duty recommendation and port duty, auction activity fizzled in January. Unless there is a clarification by the Ministry in writing that none of these duties will apply to projects that are auctioned and in development, auction activity may be muted for some time.” said Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group.

India Solar Tenders and Auctions in January 2018 (MW)

Here is a quick recap of the major tenders and auctions that took place in January of 2018:

Major Tenders

The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) tendered 2,000 MW of inter-state transmission system (ISTS)-connected grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) projects to be developed across the country.

The Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Limited (KREDL) tendered 1,200 MW of grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) projects to be developed in the Pavagada Solar Park in Karnataka’s Tumkur district.

The Uttar Pradesh New and Renewable Energy Development Agency (UPNEDA) tendered 1,000 MW of grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) projects to be developed across the state.

SECI tendered 750 MW of grid-connected solar PV projects to be developed at the Kadapa Solar Park in Andhra Pradesh. The capacity was tendered under NSM Phase-II Batch-IV Tranche-XV.

Major Auctions

Sterling & Wilson, an engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) company, had the winning bid to develop a 9.9 MW grid-connected solar project for CIAL Infrastructures Ltd.

Azure Power, an independent solar power producer, won a bid to develop a total of 11.35 MW of grid-connected rooftop solar PV projects for various schools across the country.

Expression of Interest

The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) invited expressions of interest (EoIs) from EPCs to develop a 160 MW, large-scale solar wind hybrid project with an energy storage system in the Ramagiri district of Andhra Pradesh.

Vedanta Limited, a subsidiary of Cairn Oil & Gas, issued a notice inviting EoIs for the development of a solar PV project with a minimum capacity 20 MW and a maximum capacity 50 MW in the state of Rajasthan.

Mercom reported that solar was the leading source of new power capacity additions in India during the calendar year 2017, with installed capacity of over 9.5 GW accounting for 45 percent of new power capacity additions.