Solar mission continues to lure private players

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Project proposals total 2,500 MW solar energy in second batch of bidding

Launched last year, the ambitious Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission of the government (JNNSM) continues to lure private players. For the 350 MW of capacity proposed in the second batch of the phase one of the solar mission, requests have come pouring for a total of 2,500 MW capacity.


The first phase has two batches. Projects totalling 610 MW have already been contracted in the first batch consisting of 470 MW in solar thermal and 140 MW in solar photovoltaic (PV)
For the 350 MW of capacity proposed in batch two of phase one of the solar mission, requests have come pouring for a total of 2,500 MW capacity
The project proposals of 2,500 MW capacity are expected to be shortlisted by NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam (NVVN) by the first or second week of November
 
The first phase of the solar mission running from 2010 to 2013 has a target of connecting 1,000 MW solar capacity to the national electricity grid. The first phase has two batches. Projects totalling 610 MW have already been contracted in the first batch consisting of 470 MW in solar thermal and 140 MW in solar photovoltaic (PV). Further, about 66 MW of solar PV projects from the schemes before the launch of the JNNSM has been clubbed with the solar mission.

In the 'Request for Selection' phase of batch two, which finished on October 3, capacities requested by project developers totals 2,500MW. Batch two allows developers to build projects up to 50 MW capacity

A K Maggu, general manager of NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd (NVVN), a nodal agency for JNNSM says, “Interest from developers has been high and many developers of solar PV have opted to request to build the maximum 50 MW capacity. In the first batch of bidding, developers were only allowed to bid for 5 MW capacity, which many complained was too small for real economy of scale.”

The project proposals of 2,500 MW capacity are expected to be shortlisted by NVVN by the first or second week of November. The shortlisted projects which meet the eligibility criteria will then go for reverse bidding where developers give discounts on the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) calculated tariff of Rs 15.39 per kWh for solar electricity. In the first batch, the bids for PV projects ranged betrween Rs 11 and Rs 12 per kWh. Falling silicon prices since then may lead to further reduction in tariff.  

“We expect to know about the bids by the last week of November,” says Maggu. Then the selected project developers will sign the Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) with NVVN which is expected by the end of January 2012.

Giving update on the status of projects contracted in batch one, B Bhargava, director in the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy says, “Projects from the first batch where contracts were signed in January this year should be commissioned and start producing power by the beginning of January 2012.”

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