In the latest solar auction held by the Grid Corporation of Odisha (GRIDCO) for the development of 200 MW of grid-connected solar photovoltaic auction in the state, the lowest (L1) tariff quoted was ₹2.79/kWh.
The 200 MW capacity which was tendered back in April was oversubscribed by nearly four times according to the information made available by the GRIDCO. Back in April, this was the first tender that was introduced with a pass-through option due to the ongoing uncertainties surrounding the imposition of safeguard duty. A total of 14 bidders submitted technical bids aggregating to 845 MW. However, of the 14 only 12 participated in the financial bidding process.
The L1 (₹2.79/kWh) tariffs were quoted by Aditya Birla Renewables, the only bidder below the ₹3/kWh mark. Besides which three firms bid ₹3.19/kWh and ACME Power were the last winners with their bid of ₹3.20/kWh.
Since the state authority will award the capacity in a bucket filling order, ACME might just be awarded 30 MW of the capacity after having bid for 50 MW. In India, ₹2.44/kWh is the record low tariff, but with the overall uncertainties regarding the applicability of the safeguard duty on imports leading up to the bidding process of this tender, the quoted rates were higher than usual as bidders try to adjust to the duty on imports. Even then, off-takers are reluctant to purchase solar power closer of above the ₹3/kWh mark.
It has also been observed that auctions resulting in high tariffs have the risk of being withdrawn or undersubscribed. Much like the 1200 MW tendered by the KREDL back in January, which so far has been able to successfully award only 1050 MW in projects. The state has had to release a third tender for the remainder of the 150 MW capacity (read that report).
SECI, in a discussion with IamRenew last week had made it clear that their focus was primarily on price reduction, everything else was secondary. Reconciling that intent with the increase in duty on solar cell imports is going to be a hard one to reconcile, not just for SECI but all government bodies now.