NSEFI Pitches For A 6 Months Extension Across Solar Projects

The New Delhi-based NSEFI (National Solar Energy federation of India) has pitched for a clean 6 month extension for solar projects at various stages  of completion, citing multiple causes for delays beyond the lockdown period laid down by the MNRE. The body, an umbrella federation of stakeholders in the solar energy sector, sent a letter highlighting the issues to the Ministry of Finance.

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Drawing the attention of the ministry to its circular of 13h May 2020 by way of which the Ministry had iterated that Coronavirus pandemic be considered a Force Majeure situation, the federation has pointed out that despite mention of an extension of between 3 months to 6 months, the real situation being faced by concessionaires was quite different.  “Basis this OM, the relevant procuring entities have issued extension for a period of 3 months. However, such agencies are typically not willing to provide further extension without detailed documentary proof, and collecting such documentation is a very cumbersome process”, says the letter from its CEO Subrahmanyam Pulipaka.

The letter specifies challenges being faced on the ground, namely,

1. Land registrations are severely delayed in states as government offices are either understaffed due to various reasons as being part of containment zones, work from home guidelines and the staff being busy in Covid related work.

2. Mandatory quarantine guidelines wherein people incoming in a state are required to mandatorily stay in quarantine, thereby making movement of officials difficult, including site visit of Environmental, social and lender’s engineer could not be done.

3. The land-owners that are in other states or in other districts than the actual land location are reluctant to travel for land registration.

4. Factories are also not working at full strength which is having cascading effect on lead items of many equipment that are required for plant construction.

He goes on to add that collecting documentation for all these issues is very cumbersome, presently. The letter goes on to suggest that the

Timelines for all under-construction projects be  extended by respective counterparties, by a period of 6 months. These include projects which are under-construction and have their SCOD (SCheduled Commercial Operations Date) beyond September 2019.

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