HPPC Asked to Study Commercial Viability of its Solar Project with Battery Storage

The bid-submission deadline for the tender to set up 1 GW grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) projects at Dholera Solar Park (phase V) has seen a few extensions already.

Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Limited (GUVNL) had tendered the capacity in January 2019, and the upper tariff ceiling for this tender had been set at 2.75 (~$0.039)/kWh.

The initial bid-submission deadline was set as February 15, 2019. This was postponed to February 25, 2019. Later, the GUVNL again postponed the bid-submission deadline to March 5, 2019.

Now, for the third time, the bid-submission deadline for this tender has been extended to March 19, 2019. When contacted, a GUVNL official informed, “The bidders have repeatedly requested for the extension of submission deadline as they say they need some more time. The GUVNL is merely accepting their request.”

Asked to elaborate on the reason for these requests by bidders, the GUVNL official said, “Bidders aren’t finding the commissioning timeline favorable.” But that doesn’t mean we are going to amend provisions in the tender document. No clause will be changed,” added the GUVNL official.

The Dholera solar park is expected to cover an area of more than 27,000 acres upon completion. According to a Gujarat state government release issued last year, “The proposed solar park will attract investment of ₹250 billion (~$3.84 billion) and provide employment opportunities to more than 20,000 individuals.”

An executive at one of the leading solar PV project developers said, “In Dholera, the terrain will be tough to execute the project in a set timeframe. The land has to be leveled before anything can be installed there, and that will take up the majority of the time. We find the accorded timeline stringent, and on top of that the meager tariff ceiling doesn’t help.”

A market insider told Mercom, “Safeguard duty has been in effect since July 30, 2019, and most developers are waiting for the first year of the levy to conclude. That way, even if the timeline is stringent and measly, they can cut down costs by the reduction in the percentage rate of safeguard duty on solar modules. The upper tariff cap is not much of a bother.” The new deadline is March 19, 2019. It will take up to three months to award the contracts. By the time the actual procurement begins, safeguard duty may have entered into the last six months of its existence, the lowest rate”.

Last month, the expert committee overseeing the projects related to the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) recommended that the first phase of the 1 GW solar power project can commence in the inter-tidal areas. This capacity is part of the 4,400 MW Solar Power Park at Dholera Special Investment Region, near Gulf of Khambat. However, the committee put forward some conditions. Read about the committee’s conditions here.


Image credit: Azure Power