MNRE issues amendments in guidelines for the tariff-based competitive bidding process for solar PV projects

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) along with the Ministry of Power (MoP) recently announced the amendments to the guidelines for the tariff-based competitive bidding process for procurement & Power from grid-connected solar PV power projects. The amendments made to the guidelines dated 3rd August 2017 and amended on 15th June 2018 are as follows:

Amendment in Point 9: Indicative time table for the bid process

Amendment in Point 12: Financial closure

“Solar Power Generator shall attain the financial closure in terms of the PPA, within 9 (nine) months from the date of execution of the Power Purchase Agreement, for projects being set up in Solar park, and within 12 (twelve) months from the date of execution of the Power Purchase Agreement, for projects being set up outside Solar park. However, if for any reason, the time period for attaining the financial closure needs to be kept smaller than that provided in these Guidelines, the Procurer can do the same.

Amendment in Point 14.3: Commissioning schedule

“The projects shall be commissioned, within a period of 15 (fifteen) months from the date of execution of the PPA, for projects being set up in Solar park, and within a period of 18 (eighteen) months from the date of execution of the PPA, for projects being set up outside Solar park…”

The issued amendments might be intended to bring discipline and consistency in the competitive bidding process as the government intends to achieve renewable energy installed capacity of 175 GW by 2022.

Andhra Pradesh announces new wind-solar hybrid policy

The government of Andhra Pradesh has recently announced a new wind-solar hybrid policy as the state targets to achieve 18000 MW of renewable capacity by the year 2021-2022. The broad objective of the policy is to provide a framework for the promotion of large grid-connected wind-solar PV systems for optimal & efficient utilization of transmission infrastructure and land, reducing the variability in renewable power generation and thus achieving better grid stability.

The key points of the policy are as below:

  • The policy will be applicable for a period of five years from the date of issuance.
  • The policy intends to procure 5,000 MW of contracted capacity under the five-year timeline.
  • The policy is applicable to new wind-solar projects as well as the existing wind/solar PV projects via hybridization.
  • The rules and eligibility of the categories are specified in the policy.
  • 100% banking of energy is allowed throughout the year based on the feasibility & approval from the TRANSCOs & DISCOMs.
  • Banking charges will be adjusted in kind at 5% of the energy delivered at the point of drawal and the banking will be possible between April to March.
  • Energy settlement will be done on a monthly basis & the unutilized energy will be purchased by the DISCOMs at 75% of the APPC as per the APERC rules.
  • Hybrid projects developed by the manufacturers will be allowed to sell the power to discoms via: (i) project specified tariff determined by APERC, (ii) at APPC under REC mechanism by availing RECs, (iii) via a transparent bidding process.
  • Transmission/distribution charges exempted up to 50% of the applicable charges for wheeling of power generated.
  • No transmission charges for connectivity to the nearest Central Transmission Unit (CTU) via State Transmission Unit (STU) network for inter-state wheeling of power.
  • For existing wind/solar plants applying for hybridization can avail all the incentives w.r.to previous policies balance operative period.
  • 50% of applicable Electricity duty shall be exempted for captive consumption, sale to
    DISCOMs and third party sale provided the source of power is from wind – solar hybrid
    power projects set up within the State.
  • 50% of the Cross subsidy surcharge shall be paid for third party sale provided the source of power is from Wind- Solar Hybrid Power Projects setup within the State.

Currently, Andhra Pradesh has RE installed capacity of 7229.8 MW as on November 2018, as per CEA.

RERC announces draft (first amendment) Net metering regulations 2018 for rooftop & small solar grid interactive system.

Rajasthan Electricity Regulation Commission (RERC) has recently notified the draft (first amendment) of net metering regulations, 2018 for rooftop & small solar grid interactive system in Rajasthan. The pilot net metering regulations came in 2015, after that this is the first amendment proposed by the commission. Since the first regulations, the feed-in tariff for solar PV has reduced drastically even lower than feed-in-tariff determined by the Commission for such projects. However, the Rajasthan commission is of the opinion that the tariff determined through auctions for Mega power projects cannot be made applicable for Rooftop solar PV projects which are of the kilowatt capacities (max.1000 kW) due to the higher capital cost of such rooftop projects.

The current amendment also talks about the excess electricity generated by the rooftop generator in the regulation clause 10(3) as follows:

“ Provided that in the event the electricity injected exceeds the electricity consumed during the billing period, such excess injected electricity above 50 units shall be paid by the Distribution Licensee at its Average Power Purchase Cost of the previous year. Provided further that Commission may review the above rate through an order as and when required. Net energy credits less than 50 units under Net Metering achieved in the particular billing period shall be adjusted in the next billing period till credit of 50 units is achieved.”

The regulation will come into effect after the date of notification in the official gazette.

Rajasthan commission has also released a discussion paper recently suggesting that the DISCOMs should purchase green energy directly instead of buying the electricity component form the RE projects.

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