Shapoorji Pallonji Wins 50-MW floating Solar Bid for Rihand Dam, Uttar Pradesh.

Things are finally moving ahead on the floating solar plant at Rihand Dam, potentially the largest of its kind in the world, as Shapoorji Pallonji Group has been entrusted with a 50 MW parcel out o the possible 150 MW plan.

One of India’s leading infrastructure giants, Shapoorji Pallonji has won the bid at Rs 3.29/kWh, to develop 50 MW of floating solar project in Uttar Pradesh. Shapoorji Pallonji and Renew Power had reportedly bid for Package B, and media reports add that result of the auctions for Package A&C will be out soon.

The tender of 50 MW is a part of 150 MW (50MW x 3)of grid-connected floating solar projects at Rihand Dam. Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) had tendered this project in March this year and since then has extended its bids submission deadline multiple times due to poor response from bidders.

SECI had put a tariff cap of Rs 3.32 for this tender, and a 25 Year PPA with Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) is on the cards. SECI, for this tender, had allowed a single developer to bid for minimum 50MW to maximum 150 MW capacity.

The Nodal agency has come under tremendous pressure after a recent directive from the government. Indian Government has asked SECI to bring 1,000 MW tenders every month from November 2018 to February 2019. Between the multiple pain points of price ceilings, safeguard duties, and a volatile currency, developers have slowed down noticeably in their bidding, making the target look daunting now.

After re-issuing the Request for Selection document, SECI last month issues a clarification on its 150 MW Rihand dam Floating Solar Tender. The clarification was answered after the pre-bid Meet and stated that the solar power developers will have to get the required transmission line constructed by Uttar Pradesh Power Transmission Corporation Limited (UPPTCL) on a depository work basis. It also clarified the approximate cost:

Package A (Connectivity at Anpara): Rs 245 million

Package B (Connectivity at Bina): Rs 92 million

Package C (Connectivity at Pipri): Rs 245 million

Clarifying further it added that project developers will have to procure the final cost from the UPPTCL directly.

Unlike other floating solar plants which face a challenge with evacuation of power produced, this one on the dam reservoir is expected to benefit from the evacuation facilities that already exist for the hydro power produced at the dam’s power plant.   With a tight deadline of 13 months, the project when completed, will easily be the biggest of its kind in India, fittingly enough, on the biggest man made reservoir in the country.

In other developments, the Shapoorji Pallonji group is planning a rare solar asset sale worth $1 billion. They plan to sell as much as 30% in solar engineering arm of Sterling & Wilson, according to Jai Mavani, Executive Director at the conglomerate’s flagship company. The asset sale will bring outside investors into its solar unit and reduce the debt of the 153-year old conglomerate.

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