Giving a breather to the developers of Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) projects in the country, the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has extended the project commissioning deadline to ten months from May 9. (CSP plants use curved mirrors to concentrate sunlight, which is then converted into high temperature heat for generating electricity projects.)
The seven CSP under phase one of Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) were all running behind commissioning schedule. Five projects are in Jaisalmer district of Rajasthan. The developers involved in the projects include Lanco Infratech, Godavari Green Energy Limited, Rajsun Technies Pvt ltd and Corporate Ispat. Had the deadline not been extended, the developers would have had to pay heavy penalty.
Financial woes, faulty solar radiation data and delay in raw material supply had stalled the CSP projects. Tarun Kapoor, joint secretary, MNRE says, “We realised that some developers had genuine reasons for delay. Also most financial institutions were reluctant to release money for the projects because they feared that developers’ condition would worsen if they miss the deadline and take on heavy penalties.”
Another factor behind this decision was that MNRE wants CSP technology to develop in the country. “There was no way these developers would have commissioned their projects without penalties. We don’t want to break the confidence of developers in CSP industry; otherwise nobody will put up CSP plants in future,” says Kapoor.
This decision of MNRE can be seen as a lenient approach towards developers, says Kapoor. We have only given ten months after which all the penalty guidelines will apply, he adds.
“CSP is a relatively new technology in the country in comparison to photovoltaic. Also, developers are putting up these plants for the first time. We hope that they get their act together and banks release money because it is unlikely that any further relief will be given in future,” says Kapoor.
The Solar Power (Development, Promotion and Mandatory Use) Bill, 2012
Concentrated solar power: heating up India's solar thermal market under the National Solar Mission
Environment clearance for setting up of Solar Thermal Power Plants under JNNSM - applicability of EIA Notification, 2006