The latest announcement marks the fourth extension of the bid submission deadline for what the government claims is the largest tender of its kind in the world. Bids were initially due today.
Discussing the bidding response so far, Manas Ranjan Mishra, Manager for Contract and Procurement at the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), told pv magazine: “There are 10 to 12 prospective bidders, including some international bidders, from China and Taiwan.
“There are some amendments to be made in the tender. We are awaiting the mandate from the ministry with respect to the amendments to be done.”
The tender features a requirement for bidders to establish 3 GW of annual solar manufacturing capacity in an attempt by the government to bolster domestic manufacturing capacity.
Manufacturing requirement already reduced
“In the last four years, India has emerged as the most favored destination for renewable energy, attracting investments amounting to US$42 billion. We wish India to have a strong manufacturing system, which represents a golden opportunity for investment. In the next four years, the country would receive another US$ 70 to 80 billion of investments in this sector,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing a gathering at the inauguration of the first assembly of the International Solar Alliance (ISA), the second IORA Renewable Energy Ministerial Meet, and the second Global RE-Invest 2018, in New Delhi.
Last time out just one bidder — Azure Power — reportedly turned up, on September 27, compelling the authorities to extend the deadline until today. Bidders had reportedly requested an extension for securing tie-ups for domestic manufacturing and completing ongoing negotiations for sourcing modules at better prices.
In May, SECI tendered 5 GW of manufacturing capacity linked to inter-state transmission system-connected solar projects, for an aggregate capacity of 10 GW. Later, the nodal agency reduced the manufacturing capacity requirement from 5 GW to 3 GW, and the minimum bid capacity from 1 GW to 600 MW.
The government introduced the manufacturing-linked solar scheme this year, with qualifying developers being assured PPAs. However, many developers are reluctant to participate in manufacturing-linked tenders, as producing components is not their core competency.
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To link manufacturing Solar modules and setting up Solar Projects is indeed a novel idea. This will give double boost to our country on indigenous manufacture and reduce dependency on imported products. Once the capability to manufacture is established and gets proved, other terms such as on time delivery, logistics etc., can be worked out . Manufacturing improves self reliance. It also calls for investment in R & D as continuous improvement in manufacture and processes is the hall mark of every product. Upon kick start of this tender soon after award. it will unleash a new era in development of Solar energy.
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