Response to MSEDCL And RUMSL Tenders Indicates Resilience In Solar Market

Two recent tenders, by the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited  (MSEDCL) for 500 MW of Wind-Solar Hybrid power, and another one by Madhya Pradesh’s RUMSL Agar Solar Park for 550 MW, have thrown up some pleasant surprises.

Contrary to fears expressed by some Industry insiders we had spoken to last month, where they were worried about a low response to these, the MSEDCL tender has been oversubcribed by almost a GW, while the RUMSL Agar tender has seen an even stronger response, with a total of over 8 GW being offered, from 15 bidders.

The strong interest, even before the price bids are opened, indicates one thing or sure. That the solar sector is much more resilient than many outsiders imagine, and despite the non-stop news of disruptions caused by rising prices, policy changes, delayed payments and more, key firms are in it for the long haul. For many of these firms, this is still the time to build a strong capacity base linked to the grid, and that explains the interest too. Firms are also betting, not unreasonably, on a faster than projected shift away from coal power, led by premature plant retirements or even curtailments, which might ensure adequate demand, including for projects awaiting PPA’s currently.

Thus, while 5 bidders made up the list for MSEDCL, all five have a strong established base, unlike some of the previous bids where we saw newer firms bid low to enter the market possibly.

Tata Power 300 MW
O2   Power 300 MW
Azure Power 300 MW
Renew Power 300 MW
JSW Power 250 MW

For the RUMS Agar Solar Park, the bidders include PSU majors NTPC, SJVN and  NHDC, besides firms with a presense in the region already, like Avaada, ReNew Power, Torrent Power and Azure Power etc. Saudi Arabia’s Al Jomaih Energy and Sembcorp’s Green Infra Wind Energy, which had also bid at record low prices of Rs 2 each to win auctions in November, are also in the fray. To that extent, the winning price bids should  be really interesting, as these bids  will need to factor in the possible increase in import costs for modules from April 2022 next year.

The RUMSL authorities, by building a strong reputation for contract sanctity and timely payments, have done their cause no harm in the process, when it comes to getting quality bids.

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