Dispute resolution committee to look into commissioning extension for solar projects due before April


The ministry of New and Renewable Energy has empowered the Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC) to directly look into any additional time extension requirement of solar projects in exceptional circumstances and make a recommendation to the Ministry on a case-to-case basis.

The DRC will look into developers’ time extension requirements due to temporary disruptions in the supply of imported solar PV modules caused by factors such as Covid wave. 

The MNRE directive will apply to projects under implementation through MNRE’s renewable energy implementing agencies such as the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), NTPC, and NHPC and having scheduled commissioning date before April 1, 2022, after considering all time extensions including the extensions given on Covid-19, and considering the scheduled date of basic customs duty (BCD) imposition on the import of solar cells and modules as April 1, 2022. 

Notably, solar developers had approached the ministry seeking extension in project commissioning timelines and postponement of the BCD imposition on solar cell and module imports citing temporary disruptions in supply of imported solar PV modules on account of various factors. 

Having examined the issue, MNRE noted that generally, the procurement of solar PV modules for the solar power project takes place only in the last few months of commissioning and so only the projects scheduled for commissioning in the coming 5-6 months are likely to get affected due to this temporary situation. It also noted that to facilitate renewable energy (RE) projects, time extensions on account of the first and second waves of Covid-19 were already granted. 

As per the present provisions of the dispute resolution mechanism, the RE developer first approaches the concerned renewable energy implementing agency (SECI, NTPC, or NHPC) for seeking the desired relief. In case the applicant developer is not in agreement with the decision of REIA on the relief sought, the developer has the option of approaching DRC by filing an appeal within 21 days of REIA’s order.

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