Assam Continues Focus on Off Grid Solar Systems With Tender for 71,999 Systems

Highlights :

  • With higher affordability, India needs to use solar systems in a big way in its more inaccessible regions to lower pollution caused by alternate methods and improve well being.
  • The country has a thriving base of manufacturers capable of filling requirements in the distributed energy space as it is called.

Assam, faced with challenges of terrain and delivering power to some of the more inaccessible parts of the state, has tried to emulate the Bangladesh example, using solar systems in a big way to ensure energy access for its people.

The latest move is a tender by the Assam Power Distribution Company Limited (APDCL), inviting bids for off-grid rural electrification through 71,199 standalone solar systems on a turnkey basis under the Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijlee Har Ghar Yojana (SAUBHAGYA) program. Bangladesh has been the stand out example of using solar home systems for energy access at scale, and in many ways, Assam’s topography as a neighbouring state means it faces similar challenges of delivering dependable grid connected power to all its people. At it’s peak, Bangladesh’s solar systems provided energy access to 20 million people, or 16% of its population. It remains the largest off grid network in the world, turning into a hotbed of innovation along the way.

The scope of work in the Assam tender includes site survey, planning, design, engineering, assembly manufacturing, testing, supply, loading, transportation, unloading, insurance, handling, storage, installation, testing, commissioning, and documentation of all items required to complete the installation of the standalone solar systems. Maintainance for 5 years is also part of the requirement.

The tender has been divided into 17 packages covering districts of the state, with a single bidder allowed to make bids for upto 5 packages or districts.

The bid document places the estimated cost of a system at Rs 50,000. That makes it one of the larger tenders seen in India for solar systems, with a notional value of almost Rs 360 crores.

The last date to submit the bids online is September 28, 2021, and bids will be opened on September 29.

The project must be completed before December 31, 2021.

With most packages estimated to be worth over Rs 15 crores, interested bidders need to submit Rs 2.5 million  as an earnest money deposit (EMD). Performance bank guarantee for the successful bidders has been placed at 3% of the order value.

Like all government contracts, modules used in the project have to be manufactured in India. Interestingly, the base capacity has been set at 300wp.

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Prasanna Singh

Prasanna has been a media professional for over 20 years. He is the Group Editor of Saur Energy International

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