MNRE Drafts Schedule For Issue Of Solar Tenders To Ensure Sustained Activity

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MNRE suggests governments to follow timetable for tendering solar photovoltaic capacities.

In a recent report Mercom has stated that the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has written to the central and state governments as well as public sector implementing agencies, asking them to follow a set timetable for tendering of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacities. MNRE wrote to the states upon the direction of Minister for Power, Raj Kumar Singh.

MNRE

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As per the timetable, the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) will have the months of December, March, June, and September for its tender and auction activity. The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and other public sector units will utilize January, April, July, and October for tender and auction activity. Moreover, state implementing agencies will use February, May, August and November for their activity.

The MNRE has requested implementing agencies to follow this timetable in light of the tender trajectory that was announced earlier. Per the trajectory, 30 GW of solar will be tendered and auctioned in the current and the next financial years (FYs). An MNRE official said to Mercom India that rooftop solar tenders will not have to follow this timetable since it is only for large-scale tenders.

Solar industry stalwarts thinks this to be a welcome move by the MNRE. According to them this will give visibility to developers to plan out their participation in these tenders better. This will also help developers choose which tenders, in which months will be more amenable to them per their resources. At the same time industry stalwarts raised a question as to how this will get implemented is the issue. 

In the past, auctions have shown that in a few states historically companies have chosen to stay away from developing projects as conditions, policies are not that conducive for them. So, a question arises, “Won’t this timetable also allow for cherry picking of tenders and auctions by developers?” Developers are more inclined towards auctions by NTPC, SECI compared to state agencies as these organizations are less prone to breach sanctity of power purchase agreements (PPAs) or delay payments.

Commenting on this initiative undertaken by the government, Chetan Shah, the director of Indian module manufacturer Goldi Green, said to Mercom that this is a welcome step by the MNRE. Shah believes that now, all manufacturers will be able to plan their production and make optimum utilization of existing manufacturing facilities.

Elaborating further on the implications, Shah said that prices will become more competitive. He thinks that MNRE must call a coordination meeting of all stakeholders (manufacturers, EPC firms, developers, government agencies) and form a task-force. This task-force will have representatives from each segment of the sector and will be tasked with monitoring tender and auction activity and ensuring that the calendar is followed.

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