The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) has issued three tenders inviting project developers to set up large-scale solar power projects, hybrid wind-solar power projects, and storage-equipped solar power projects across the country.
The fourth phase of national-level solar power auctions was launched in the second week of this month. The tender offers 1.2 gigawatts of solar PV power capacity to project developers which can be set up anywhere in the country. The maximum allowed tariff bid for this tender has been set at Rs 2.65/kWh (3.83¢/kWh). Project developers can bid for project capacities between 50 megawatts and 600 megawatts.
National-level solar power tenders issued by SECI usually get attention from some of the leading solar power project developers. Successful project developers sign power purchase agreements directly with SECI, which is a much more reliable off-taker of power compared to power distribution utilities which are actually the ultimate buyers of this power.
Project developers usually bid capacities significantly exceeding the minimum limit of 50 megawatts which leads to substantial oversubscription of the tender, and high competitive.
The second phase of solar-wind hybrid tender was also launched in early March. SECI has offered 1.2 gigawatts of capacity in the tender. Project developers are free to choose the project site but ought to have at least 25% of the one technology (solar or wind) in the project. In this tender, too, developers can bid for capacities between 50 megawatts and 600 megawatts. The maximum tariff bid allowed in this tender is Rs 2.70/kWh (3.90¢/kWh).
SECI has had mixed luck as far as solar-wind hybrid tenders are concerned. After long delays, SECI had to reduce the offered capacity from 2.5 gigawatts to 1.2 gigawatts in the first hybrid auction. Even in this truncated tender only two project developers participated — Adani Green Energy and SB Energy. The two companies were awarded a total of just 840 megawatts of capacity at a tariff of Rs 2.67/kWh (3.86¢/kWh).
The fifth phase of national-level solar power tender was announced and is expected to be launched soon. This phase would see 1.2 gigawatts of capacity offered to project developers. This capacity shall be supported with storage capacity of 3,600 megawatt-hours. Developers would, again, be allowed to set up projects at the sites of their choice in the country. This would likely be the largest storage-equipped tender in India.