A 500 megawatt solar power tender in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has seen very high tariff bids from project developers. While the tariff bids are lower than the previous auction conducted in the state, several major project developers of India stayed away from the auction.
The 500 megawatt solar power auction conducted by the Uttar Pradesh New Energy Development Agency (UPNEDA) was re-tendered after a 1 gigawatt tender conducted in July 2018 was cancelled soon after the auction due to high tariff bids. After the cancelled auction, UPNEDA announced that it would re-tender the capacity in two separate tenders of 500 megawatts of capacity each.
The latest tender of 500 megawatts attracted technical bids of 750 megawatts while the first tender of 1 gigawatt had received technical bids for 1.87 gigawatts.
The latest tender received the lowest bid of Rs 3.17/kWh (¢4.30/kWh) from Maheshwari Mining & Energy and NTPC Limited (RE). The major developers that were successful in this auction include EDEN Renewable and Adani Green Energy. The lowest bid in the initial auction of 1 gigawatt was Rs 3.48/kWh (¢4.72/kWh).
NTPC Limited (RE) is part of India’s largest power generation company NTPC Limited which has operational assets of over 50 gigawatts. This is the first solar auction in which NTPC Limited (RE) has participated. The company secured the largest capacity of 160 megawatts at tariffs of Rs 3.17/kWh (¢4.30/kWh) and Rs 3.21/kWh. Adani Green Energy secured 100 megawatts of capacity at tariffs of Rs 3.19/kWh (¢4.33/kWh) and Rs 3.22/kWh (¢4.37/kWh).
The maximum tariff set by UPNEDA for the tender was Rs 3.25/kWh (¢4.41/kWh), inclusive of safeguards duty for use of solar modules/cells imported from China and/or Malaysia. The maximum bid, without safeguards duty, was set at Rs 3.10/kWh (¢4.21/kWh).
Auctions for solar power projects in Uttar Pradesh have always yielded higher bids compared to auctions for projects in other states due to several factors, including low solar radiation, higher land costs, lack of dedicated transmission infrastructure for solar power projects, and uncertainty related to timely payments to developers.
These are perhaps also among the reasons for absence of several leading project developers from this auction. ACME Solar, ReNew Power, Azure Power and Hero Solar Energy are some of the major developers that participated in the initial 1 gigawatt tender but stayed away from this new tender.