MNRE proposes shorter commissioning time for solar projects

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Currently, the commissioning period for a solar project, located in a solar park, is 21 months from the date of execution of the power purchase agreement (PPA), and 24 months for projects over 250 MW, which are not located within parks.

According to the proposed amendment, the commissioning time for solar projects will be curtailed to 15 months, while projects above 250 MW located elsewhere, will have to be commissioned within 18 months of the execution of the PPA.

“In case of projects inside solar parks where there are no major challenges to land possession and financial closure, a commissioning period of 15 months from the PPA is proposed, considering nine months for financial closure and another six months for construction activities,” reads the internal MNRE memo.

It continues, “In case of projects outside solar parks, on account of additional challenges in land possession and financial closure, a commissioning period of 18 months is proposed, considering 12 months for financial closure and another six for construction.”

The memo has not yet been ratified by the Ministry.

In June of this year, the Ministry of Power amended the project commissioning timeframe for solar projects, increasing it from 13 months to 21 months from the date of PPA signing for solar parks, and from 15 months to 24 months for projects 250 MW and above in size, located outside a solar park.

Against the target of 100 GW of installed solar capacity by 2022, India had installed 24.6 GW by the end of June, according to Mercom India Research. In the second quarter of 2018, India installed solar projects amounting to 52% less capacity quarter-over-quarter, due to uncertainties around trade cases, module price fluctuations, and PPA renegotiations prompted by record low solar tender bids, it said.