The Indian state of Maharashtra has issued a tender for the installation of 1.3 gigawatts of solar power projects.
According to media reports, the entire capacity will be used for supplying electricity to agricultural consumers. The capacity would be spread across 29 districts in Maharashtra. Project developers would be required to set up projects of 25 megawatts or 50 megawatts. Power generated from these projects would be purchased by the state’s power distribution utility, Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Corporation Limited.
Project developers can submit bids of a maximum Rs 3.05 (¢ 4.10) per kilowatt-hour. They would be required to sign power purchase agreements with the distribution utility for a period of 25 years. Maharashtra has issued similar tenders in the recent past.
Another state, Andhra Pradesh, had also issued a tender to set up solar power projects exclusively to supply power to agricultural consumers. The tender of 6.4 gigawatts capacity was among the largest, if not the largest renewable energy tender, ever issued in India. The tender garnered bids from five developers that offered to set up as much as 14.3 gigawatts.
Adani Green Energy, NTPC, and Torrent Power were among the prominent winners of the Andhra Pradesh tender. The companies secured rights to develop 3.9 gigawatt capacity between them. These projects would be commissioned in large solar power parks spread across the state. Power from these projects would also be purchased by local power distribution utilities through 30-year power purchase agreements. These power purchase agreements are priced at Rs 2.47 to 2.58 (3.52¢ to 3.68¢) per kilowatt-hour.
The Indian government is looking to meet a substantial power demand from the agricultural sector through solar power projects. It has launched the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM) and has set a target to install 25.7 gigawatts of solar power capacity by 2022. The government plans to install small solar power projects and solar-powered irrigation pumps.