Giving an overview of what to expected over the next few months, the Solar Energy Corporation of India announced three tenders for solar power projects within the first week of this year.
The Solar Energy Corporation of India announced three separate tenders to set up solar power projects in the states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh. The announcements are part of an accelerated program to auction at least 77 gigawatts of solar power capacity by March 2020.
The tender for the Kadapa solar power park in Andhra Pradesh offers 750 megawatts of capacity to project developers under the open category (developers are free to use domestic or imported modules). Initially, the SECI had planned to auction 150 megawatts of capacity under the domestic content requirement program wherein developers would be obligated to buy Indian-made modules.
The Kadapa solar power park will eventually have an installed capacity of 1,000 megawatts (AC). In the first auction for the solar park, Solairedirect secured rights to develop 250 megawatts of capacity at Rs 3.15/kWh (¢5.00/kWh). Power generated from the project will be bundled with thermal power generated from NTPC power plants before being sold to utilities in Andhra Pradesh.
The fresh tender of 750 megawatts of capacity will be offered under the Viability Gap Funding, wherein the project developers willbid for the lowest capital cost subsidy they will need per megawatt capacity to set up the project. The tariff is fixed at Rs 2.93/kWh (¢4.6/kWh) but developers can quote a lower tariff as well. Recent trends have shown that developers have opted not to get any capital cost subsidy and quoted a lower tariff than that fixed by SECI for individual tenders.
A similar tender has been announced for the Pavagada solar power park in Karnataka. A capacity of 200 megawatts is on offer under the open VGF category with a fixed maximum tariff of Rs 2.93/kWh (¢4.6/kWh). The central government, through NTPC, auctioned 300 megawatts of capacity at the solar park at a tariff of Rs 4.80/kWh (¢7.6/kWh). A 200 megawatt tender was launched last year but had to be cancelled. Karnataka, itself, launched a tender for 860 megawatts last month.
SECI has also launched its first-ever tender for utility-scale solar power projects in the state of Uttar Pradesh. A total of 275 megawatts of capacity is on offer under the open VGF category with a maximum tariff of Rs 3.43/kWh (¢5.40/kWh). Uttar Pradesh significantly lags behind other large Indian states in terms of installed solar power capacity due to several reasons including lack of infrastructure and land availability issues. As a result, the tariff offered here is higher and developers may even ask for subsidies while bidding.
SECI recently auctioned 750 megawatts of capacity in the neighboring state of Rajasthan, which has adequate infrastructure, land, and solar radiation sources. These projects will supply electricity to utilities in Uttar Pradesh at a tariff of just Rs 2.48/kWh (¢3.90/kWh).
Uttar Pradesh auctioned several solar power projects in 2015 under its own solar power policy. The utilities recently agreed to sign power purchase agreements with those projects at Rs 7.02/kWh (¢11.00/kWh).