SECI’s 1200 MW ISTS-V Solar Tender Undersubscribed

SECI’s ISTS-V solar tender which was issued seeking to award projects worth 1200 MW has received bids only for half the tendered capacity.

SECI's ISTS V Solar

The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI’s) had issued an RfS (ISTS-V) for setting up of 1200 MW solar power projects in India in July. The tender, which was issued seeking to award projects worth 1200 MW has received bids only for half the tendered capacity.

According to industry sources, only two firms submitted bids in response to the tender for which the nodal agency had set the ceiling tariff at Rs 2.65 per unit. Softbank backed SB Energy bid for 450  MW capacity, and Chennai-based GRT Jewellers put in a bid to develop 150 MW solar projects.

The ceiling tariff set by SECI is believed to be the reason for not bidding on the project as they consider it non-viable. Risk, these firms believe, have now gone up after the recent PPA skirmish in Andhra Pradesh for renegotiating solar and wind purchase agreements and curtailing of renewable power generation.

In June, we reported that the tender for the ISTS (Inter-State Transmission System) tranche IV solar projects, that came out in February 2019, had concluded with surprisingly low rates for SECI, and was oversubscribed by 900 MW after receiving bids from 7 developers worth 2100 MW.

The (L1) tariff of Rs 2.54 /kWh was quoted by Ayana Renewables to develop 300 MW of projects.  It was joined by Renew Power, Azure Power and Mahindra Susten with bids at the same rate, although Mahindra Susten bid for 250 MW. Avaada Energy, with a bid at Rs 2.55/kWh for 350 MW, will get only 50 MW following the backfilling approach favoured for this tender.

Thus, despite all the talk of slowdown and cost pressures, not to mention financing pressures, this tender actually beat the previous bid rate of Rs 2.55 for SECI’s last 1.2 GW auction.

However, the agency’s latest tender did not have the same fate, with more than 600 MW capacity left untouched by bidders.

The success of the Tranche-IV tender demonstrated the strong appetite for projects at even low competitive rates, provided that critical stress points like payment mechanisms, grid connectivity and land acquisition are taken care of.

However, no matter how small the gap between tenders, these key characteristics can easily change and effectively bring out results like the latest tender or NTPC’s 1200 MW solar tender which brought in no responses.

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Ayush Verma

Ayush Verma

Ayush is a staff writer at saurenergy.com and writes on renewable energy with a special focus on solar and wind. Prior to this, as an engineering graduate trying to find his niche in the energy journalism segment, he worked as a correspondent for iamrenew.com.

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