Seeking Predictablity, MNRE Sets Schedule for Tendering Solar PV Projects

The government has set a schedule for state companies and official agencies to float solar tenders in a move aimed at spacing out the offer of large project capacities and preventing distortion of the market. This should also support domestic manufacturers that seek to expand or establish fresh capacities

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 in their tendering activities. MNRE reportedly wrote to the states upon the direction of Minister for Power, Raj Kumar Singh.

As per the letter, “It has been seen that sometimes bids of two organizations clash with each other, thus distorting the market.” It is being thought that by following a timetable for bidding, these organizations can evenly distribute their tender and auction activity throughout the year. In a way, this could also be seen as a subtle nudge to support domestic manufacturers further, by allowing them to plan manufacturing capacities and fresh lines based on dependable demand projections. Readers might note that one of the reasons given by a leading Wind Power player Suzlon, for its poor performance was erratic demand situation, which prevented the firm from taking advantage of overall demand in the market. The government seemingly wants to prevent a repeat in the solar market, even as some of the smaller tenders for rooftop segment have specified domestic purchases also as a condition.

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.

SECI

NTPC/PSUs States

December

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September October

November

Source: MNRE

Power and new and renewable energy minister RK Singh is reported to have taken a personal interest in ensuring a timetable of bids is issued to ensure year-round activity and smooth tendering activity.

With a target of adding 100GW of solar power capacity by 2022, the government has plans to invite bids for about 30,000 MW each in the current and next financial year. However, this timetable will be applicable for Large Tenders only, small tenders reportedly still have no directed limitations.

Readers will recall that basis the first quarter report of the MNRE itself on renewables additions, the numbers achieved versus the targets for the year have been shockingly low, leaving a lot of catching up to do for the rest of the year. It goes without saying that this sort of catch up mode is also not something that impressed the minister too much, as he faces increasing scepticism about the government’s ability versus its intent to reach the targeted numbers.

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