Uttar Pradesh auctions 500 MW of solar capacity at tariffs above Rs3

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State owned electricity generator NTPC has secured the entire 160 MW of PV capacity it bid for in a reverse auction for 500 MW of grid-connected solar projects tendered by the Uttar Pradesh New and Renewable Energy Development Agency (UPNEDA).

Of the 160 MW, NTPC lodged a successful bid for 140 MW at a levelized tariff of Rs3.17 per unit and 20 MW at Rs3.21, applicable for 25 years, with bidders allowed to tender multiple bids for different packages.

In addition to 20 MW secured at Rs3.17 per unit, Maheshwari Mining & Energy successfully bid for another 20 MW, at Rs3.19.

The Rs3.17 tariff compares with India’s record low of Rs2.44. Last month, Gujarat’s reverse auction for 500 MW of capacity prompted a Rs2.44 tariff, matching the price seen in May 2017 for Rajasthan’s Bhadla projects.

Explaining the rise in PV tariffs in the UPNEDA auctions, Shekhar Dutt – Director General of the Solar Power Developers Association – told pv magazine: “Every bid is unique in terms of the factors that define the cost of generation in a particular state. The UP [Uttar Pradesh] bid had [a] benchmarked tariff at Rs3.25 per unit, as decided by the state government, which indicates that factors like radiation and [the] cost involved in setting up projects can’t be the same in all the states. The tariffs were discovered through a transparent bidding process. We believe developers and investors have their own assessments of every factor before making investment decisions.”

Tender rerun after initial attempt cancelled

After the NTPC, Adani subsidiary Mahoba Solar won the second largest capacity, of 100 MW – comprising 50 MW at Rs3.19 per unit and 50 MW at Rs3.22.

Sukhbir Agro Energy, Talettutayi Solar and Eden Renewable Jasmin won 50 MW each. Avaada Group firm Giriraj Renwables bid at Rs3.23 for two projects of 100 MW each, but secured only 50 MW.

The 500 MW of capacity auctioned by UPNEDA was originally part of a 1 GW tender which was cancelled due to high tariffs — the lowest price in the original auction having been Rs3.48.

Speaking at a Re-Invest 2018 session, Alok Kumar, Principal Secretary for the Department of Energy and Additional Sources of Energy of the government of Uttar Pradesh, had announced the recent 500 MW tender by UPNEDA was oversubscribed by 250 MW.

Uttar Pradesh will tender another 500 MW [of] solar capacity by [the] end of October,” added the minister.