Once again the Indian state of Gujarat tried its hands at solar power auctions at two solar power parks which had earlier this year failed to attract project developers.
The Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Limited (GUVNL) has issued two tenders with a combined solar PV capacity of 950 megawatts for development at two large-scale solar power parks. For the Dholera solar power park, the state has offered a capacity of 750 megawatts, while for the Raghanesda solar power park a capacity of 200 megawatts has been offered.
The capacities offered in these two tenders represent the un-auctioned capacities from the tenders issued earlier this year.
The planned capacity of Raghanesda solar power park is 700 megawatts. GUVNL had issued a tender for the entire 700 megawatts of capacity. However, it received bids for just 600 megawatts of capacity. Eventually, only four companies were allocated a total capacity of 500 megawatts at tariffs between Rs 2.65/kWh (3.8US¢/kWh) and Rs 2.70/kWh (3.94US¢/kWh). The fresh tender offers this balance 200-megawatt capacity to potential developers. The maximum allowed tariff has been reduced from Rs 2.70/kWh (3.94US¢/kWh) to Rs 2.65/kWh (3.8US¢/kWh), raising doubts if bidders would participate given the aggressive bid requirements.
This is the third attempt by GUVNL to auction capacity at the Raghanesda solar power park. In January of this year, the 700 megawatt tender for the solar park received tremendous response with bidders submitting bids for the cumulative capacity of 1.75 gigawatts. SB Energy, Fortum Energy, and Engie secured the rights to develop at tariffs between Rs 2.84/kWh (4.08¢/kWh) and Rs 2.89/kWh (4.15¢/kWh). The allocation of this capacity was, however, cancelled with GUVNL citing high tariff bids as the reason.
The second tender has been issued for the Dholera solar power park. The solar park has been billed as one of India’s largest with a planned capacity of 5 gigawatts. Earlier this year GUNVL issued a tender for development of 1 gigawatt capacity at this solar park. The tender attracted bids for a meager 300 megawatts. Finally, just 250 megawatts of capacity was awarded to one project developer at a tariff of Rs 2.75/kWh (3.91US¢/kWh).
The bids for the two partially subscribed tenders for these two solar power parks were submitted just before the results of the general elections in the country were announced. It could be argued that the developers may have stayed away from the tenders due to an uncertainty regarding the continuity of the pro-renewable energy policies. The level of subscription and tariff bids in response to these new tenders would provide some indication into the mindset of the developers.