Monthly RE update – December 2020

Monthly RE update – December 2020

Renewable update july 2020

Tenders

  • About 8,099 MW of renewable tenders were issued in December 2020, including 6,699 MW of solar tenders, 1200 MW of wind tender and 200 MW of rooftop/ small scale solar tenders.
  • Auctions were completed for 2,800 MW of renewable tenders, out of which 2,200 GW were allotted. Bids of 14,900 MW were also submitted for APGECL 6400 MW of solar tender.

New RFS Issued

Tender Name

Technology

Tender Scope

Capacity (MW)

Other Details

Minimum CUF

Commissioning timeline from PPA signing

Bid Submission Date

APGECL, 6.4 GW, Solar, Andhra Pradesh, Dec 2020

Utility Scale Solar

Project Development

6400

EMD- INR 0.15 million

PBG- 0.6 million/ MW

18%

21 months

28-Dec-2020

SECI, 1.2 GW, Wind (Tranche X), Pan India, Dec 2020

Wind

Project Development

1200

PBG- INR 1.2 million

22%

18 months

5-Feb-2021

GSECL, 140 MW, Grid-connected solar PV, Gujarat, Dec 2020

Utility Scale Solar

EPC and O&M

140

EMD – INR 0.4 million

23%

15 months

24-Dec-2020

GSECL, 19 MW, Grid-connected solar PV, Gujarat, Dec 2020

Utility Scale Solar

EPC and O&M

19

EMD- INR 0.4 million

23%

12 months

24 Dec 2020

MPUVNL, 100 MW, Grid-connected solar power, Under KUSUM program Madhya Pradesh, Dec 2020

Small Scale Solar

 

100

EMD – INR 0.1 million

PBG – INR 0.5 million/ MW

15%

9 months

23-Feb-2021

MREDA, 100 MW, Grid-connected solar PV, Manipur, Dec 2020

Utility Scale Solar

Project Development

100

PBG – 0.8 million/ MW

17%

18 months

15-Jan-2021

PSPCL, 50 MW, Grid-connected Rooftop Solar, Punjab, Dec 2020

Rooftop Solar

 

50

EMD – INR 50,000

PBG – INR 2000/kWh

Subject to maximum of INR 1.5 million

14%

11 months

4-Jan-2021

NVVN, 30 MW, Rooftop solar, Madhya Pradesh, Dec 2020

Rooftop Solar

 

30

EMD – INR 5 million

 

9 months

7-Jan-2021

SECI, 20 MW, Solar with 20 MW/ 50 MWh BESS, Leh, Dec 2020

Solar + BESS

EPC

20

NA

42.5%

18 months

10-Feb-2021

NTPC, 10 MW, Solar, Uttar Pradesh, Dec 2020

Utility Scale Solar

O&M

10

EMD- INR 0.2 million

   

5-Jan-2021

NLC India Limited, 10 MW, Grid-connected captive solar plant, Neyveli, Dec 2020

Utility Scale Solar

EPC

10

EMD – INR 2.1 million

   

11-Jan-2021

APEPDCL, 8 MW, Grid-connected Rooftop Solar, Andhra Pradesh, Dec 2020

Rooftop Solar

 

8

EMD – INR 0.2 million

 

3 months

6-Jan-2020

Maha Metro, 5 MW, Rooftop + Ground Mounted Solar PV, Dec 2020

Rooftop + Ground Mounted Solar PV

RESCO

5

EMD – INR 0.89 million

PBG – INR 17.9 million

   

29-Dec-2020

NVVN, 3 MW, Grid-connected Rooftop Solar, IIT Jodhpur, Dec 2020

Rooftop Solar

 

3

EMD – INR 2 million

   

5-Jan-2021

HPCL, 2 MW, Solar Plant, Bangalore, Dec 2020

Small Scale Solar

 

2

NA

   

11-Jan-2021

MSPDCL, 1 MW, Grid-connected Rooftop Solar, Manipur, Dec 2020

Rooftop Solar

 

1

EMD: INR 0.5 million

   

11-Jan-2021

NREDCAP, 1 MW, Grid-connected onsite solar projects, Andhra Pradesh, Dec 2020

Rooftop Solar

 

1

EMD: INR 1 million

   

25-Jan-2021

PBG: Performance Bank guarantee
EMD: Earnest Money Deposit
Source: Industry news articles, JMK Research

Retendered

Tender Name

Technology

Tender Scope

Other Details

Minimum CUF

Commissioning timeline

Bid Submission Date

Torrent Power, 300 MW, Grid-Connected Solar PV, Gujarat, Dec 2020

Utility Scale Solar

Project Development

EMD – INR 1 million

17%

15 months

18-Jan-2021

BREDA, 250 MW, Grid-connected solar PV, Bihar, June 2019

Utility Scale Solar

EPC

EMD – INR 0.4 million

PBG – INR 1 million

19%

18 months

22-Jan-2021

Date extension

Tender Name

Technology

Other Details

Bid Submission Date

SECI, Pan India, 5,000 MW, Thermal + RE, Mar 2020

Thermal + RE

EMD: INR 0.5 million/ MW

PBG: INR 1.0 million/ MW

11-Jan-2021

SECI, 2500 MW, ISTS, Solar UMREPP, Karnataka (ISTS X), April 2020

Solar

EMD – INR 0.4 million/ MW
PBG – INR 0.8 million/ MW

20-Jan-2021

SECI, 100 MW, Solar, Chhattisgarh, 50 MW/150 MWh BESS, Sept 20  

Solar + Battery Storage

EMD: INR 70 million

7-Jan-2021

MCGM, 80 MW, Floating Solar, Maharashtra, Nov 2020

Floating Solar

EMD: INR 47 million

PBG – INR 235.8 million

4-Jan-2021

RITES, 1 GW, Ground mounted solar PV, Zonal Railways across India, Sep 2020

Utility scale solar

EMD: INR 0.4 million

3 Feb 2021

RITES, 400 MW, Ground mounted solar PV, Zonal Railways across India, June 2020

Utility scale solar

EMD: INR 0.4 million

12 Jan 2021

     

Results Announced/ Bids Submitted

Tender Name

Status

Capacity tendered (MW)

Capacity allotted (MW)

Bidder Details

SECI, Pan India, 1200 MW, Hybrid, Tranche- III, BOO Basis  Jan 2020

Auction Completed

1200

1200

ABC Renewables – 380 MW (INR 2.41/kWh)

Adani- 600 MW (INR 2.41/kWh)

AMP Energy – 130 MW (INR 2.41/kWh)

ACME Solar – 90 MW (INR 2.42/kWh)

NTPC, 1070 MW, Solar (EPC), Rajasthan, Aug 2020

Auction Completed

1070

470

Tata Power Solar – 320 MW

Ashoka Buildcon – 150 MW

GUVNL, 500 MW, Solar, Gujarat, Phase IX, Sept 20

Auction Completed

500

500

NTPC – 200 MW (INR 1.99/kWh)

Torrent Power – 100 MW (INR 1.99/kWh)

Al Jomaih Energy and Water Co. – 80 MW (INR 1.99/kWh)

Aditya Birla Renewables – 120 MW (INR 1.99/kWh)

APGECL, 6.4  GW, Solar, Andhra Pradesh, Dec 2020

Bids Submitted

6400

14,900

Sri Sai, Adani, Torrent Power, NTPC and HES-SSISPL

Source: Industry news articles, JMK Research

monthly RE

Installed Capacity

In November 2020, a total of 763.47 MW of solar and wind energy capacity was added, taking the cumulative RE capacity to 90.39 GW as on November 30th, 2020. According to MNRE, as of November 30, 2020, projects of 49.28 GW are at various stages of implementation while another 30.29 GW of projects are under various stages of bidding.

State-wise installations in Solar and Wind during November 2020 – 763.47 MW

Source: MNRE, JMK Research

Investments/ Deals

Company Name

Deal Type

Sector

Asset acquired

Investor

Deal Value

Stakes Acquired

Ayana Renewables

Equity

Renewables

 

NIIF, CDC Group

$ 390 million

 

Fotowatio Renewable Ventures

Acquisition

Solar

100 MW

IndiGrid Investment Managers Limited

$ 89.6 million

100%

Borosil Renewables

Equity

Solar

 

Convergent Finance LLP

$ 27.2 million

 

Sherisha Solar

Acquisition

Solar

 

SunEdison Infrastructure Limited

$ 2.5 million

36%

Avaada SataraMH Private Limited (ASPL)

Equity

Solar

40.7 MW

Bharat Forge Limited

$ 1.9 million

11%

AMP Solar

Equity

Solar

13.5 MW

(Captive power generation)

Orient Cement

$ 549,244

26%

Source: JMK Research

Compared to October 2020, solar imports have decreased by 30% while exports have fallen by 24% in November 2020. Compared to previous year, on a yoy basis, solar imports and exports have declined by 78% and 52% in 2020.

Exports – Imports trend

RE Update December 2020

Source: Ministry of Commerce and Industry, JMK Research

Compared to November 2020 prices, multi crystalline modules prices have remained the same in December 2020, while the prices of cells have fallen by 3.7% whereas the prices for mono PERC modules have increased marginally by 0.8%.

RE Update December 2020

Source: PVInfoLink, JMK Research

Monthly SECI Payments

The Solar Energy Corporation of India Limited (SECI) paid nearly INR 3.7 billion to developers for the purchase of solar and wind power in October 2020. Compared to September 2020, the payment disbursal decreased by ~18%.

Monthly payments by SECI to solar and wind developers

RE Update December 2020

Source: SECI, JMK Research

Policies and Regulations

Central

MNRE issues New Guidelines for Feeder Level Solarization of Pumps Under Component C of PM-KUSUM Program

  • Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) with its notice dated 4 December, 2020 has issued Guidelines for Feeder Level Solarization of Pumps under Component-C of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha Evam Utthan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM).
  • Last month, the central government ramped up the targets of the program. The MNRE said that these scaled-up targets would be executed in 2020-21. Under the scaled up Scheme, a target of solarization of 7.5 lakh existing agricultural pumps has been kept through feeder level solarization under Component-C. Accordingly, the MNRE has now issued guidelines to provide a broad implementation framework for the feeder-level solarization plan.
  • As per the provisions of the PM-KUSUM  program, grid-connected agriculture pumps can be solarized with a central and state subsidy of 30% each and farmer’s contribution of 40%. The solar capacity allowed is up to two times the pump capacity in kW, and DISCOM would purchase the surplus power.
  • As per this notification, the total annual power requirement for an agriculture feeder will be assessed to install a solar power system that can cater to the agriculture feeders. The installation will be done either through the capital expenditure (CAPEX) model or the Renewable Energy Service Company (RESCO) model.
  • A feeder level solar power plant may be installed to cater to a single feeder or for multiple agriculture feeders emanating from a distribution substation (DSS) to feed power at 11 kV or the higher voltage level.
  • The cost of installing solar system has been estimated as Rs. 35 million /MW to calculate the Central Financial Assistance (CFA). Solarization of pumps of any capacity is allowed; however, if the pumps are above 7.5 HP, the CFA will be limited to solar capacity for 7.5 HP pumps.
  • The central government will provide a CFA of 30% (50% in the North-Eastern, hilly states, union territories, and islands) to install a feeder-level solar power system.
  • State government subsidy meant for electricity supply for agriculture pumps can repay the loan in five to six years. After this period, power will be freely available, and outflow from the state’s exchequer for agriculture electricity subsidy will cease. On average, only 150 days of power is needed for agriculture in a year.
  • Meanwhile, the electricity produced from the solar during the remaining days will generate additional income for the DISCOM. The income earned can be used to pay off the loans.
  • Under the RESCO model, developers will be selected based on the lowest tariff to supply solar power for 25 years. The developer will get CFA at 30% of the estimated cost of installing a solar power project, i.e., Rs. 10.5 million /MW, which translates to 30% of Rs. 35 million /MW.
  • Under feeder level Solarization, farmers will get daytime reliable solar power for irrigation, but there is no selling surplus solar power. Therefore, farmers can be incentivized to save water and to enhance their income.
  • The DISCOMs would incentivize farmers for consuming power less than benchmark consumption. The power saved would be treated as surplus power injected by farmers, and DISCOMs will pay them against the saved power at a pre-determined tariff. These measures will help conserving groundwater levels.
  • States may install a feeder level solar project of a higher capacity than what is required to supply power to an agriculture feeder. The additional solar power generated may be used for supplying nearby rural or urban loads during day time or banked for supplying power during the evening hours. However, the CFA will be limited for the solar capacity required for supplying power to the agriculture feeder under such cases.
  • As per Component-C of the PM-KUSUM program, solarization of a total of 4,00,000 grid-connected pumps are targeted for approval by 2020-21. Around 50% of these pumps would be solarised through feeder level solarization and the remainder through individual pump solarization.
  • All components used for installing solar systems should conform to applicable quality specifications and follow quality control guidelines. It is mandatory to use indigenously manufactured solar panels with indigenous solar cells and modules.

MNRE issues Clarifications on Dispute Resolution Mechanism for Solar & Wind Developers

  • Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has issued clarifications regarding the dispute resolution mechanism to address the unforeseen disputes between solar and wind developers and the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), NTPC, and NHPC.
  • The developers had requested the MNRE to set up a dispute resolution mechanism to solve the issues that are both within and outside the scope of contractual agreements.
  • As per earlier order passed in June last year, if the government upholds the appeal after taking into account the recommendations of the dispute resolution committee (DRC) and strikes down the SECI order, then the full fee collected will be refunded, provided the DRC makes a recommendation, and the government passes an order. Now, the ministry has also added NTPC and NHPC along with SECI as the implementing agencies.
  • On September,2020 MNRE has issued procedural guidelines for the dispute resolution mechanism, which would apply to projects being implemented through SECl. Afterwards, in December, 2020, MNRE has issued amendments to the dispute resolution mechanism.
  • DRC was formed to handle cases about time extension requests and various other common issues. MNRE has clarified that if the number of days of time extension allowed by the government is less than the number of days of time extension claimed by the solar or wind developer, then the refund will be in proportion to the number of days allowed as per the total number of days claimed by the developer.
  • Previously, MNRE had stated that the fee payable would be 5% of the performance bank guarantee (PBG) in case of an extension of time dispute. A minimum fee of Rs. 100,000 would be payable even if 5% of the guarantee was less than Rs. 100,000. Later, the MNRE clarified that the amount could, in no case, exceed Rs. 10 million.
  • MNRE highlighted that in cases wherein the government decision had been conveyed to DRC or SECI, NTPC, and NHPC, the refund may be done based on this clarification without the necessity to get a recommendation from DRC and the government passing an order.

Central Power Ministry Notifies Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020

  • The Central Ministry of Power has notified the Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020 with its notification dated 31st December, 2020.
  • Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020 mainly covered areas such as rights of consumers and obligations of distribution licensees, release of new connection and modification in existing connection, metering arrangement, billing and payment, consumer as prosumer, compensation mechanism, grievance redressal mechanism.
  • Aforementioned Electricity Rules clarified that it is the duty of every distribution licensee to supply electricity on request made by an owner or occupier of any premises in line with the provisions of Act.
  • These Rules made the process of releasing of new connection and modification in existing connection more transparent, simple and time bound. The maximum duration of 7 days in metro cities and 15 days in other municipal areas and 30 days in rural areas.
  • As per notified Rules no connection shall be given without a meter and a meter shall be the smart pre-payment meter. It also provides for provisions of testing of meters and rules related to replacement of defective or burnt or stolen meters.
  • These Rules define Prosumer as a person who consumes electricity from the grid and can also inject electricity into the grid for distribution licensee.
  • These Rules notified that the prosumers will maintain consumer status and have the same rights as the consumer, they will also have right to set up renewable energy generation unit including roof top solar photovoltaic systems either as by himself or through a service provider.
  • Noteworthy part of the Rules which is Compensation Mechanism provides that the automatic compensation shall be paid to consumers for which parameters on standards of performance can be monitored remotely.
  • The standards of performance for which the compensation is required to be paid by the distribution licensee include, but are not limited to, the following, namely:
    • If no supply to a consumer beyond a particular duration, to be specified by the Commission.
    • If number of interruptions in electricity supply beyond the limits as specified by the Commission.
    • As per time taken for connection, disconnection, reconnection and shifting
    • As per time taken for change in consumer category and load
    • As per time taken for change in consumer details
    • According to time taken for replacement of defective meters
    • As per time period within which bills are to be served
    • As per time period of resolving voltage related complaints
    • On the basis of bill related complaints
  • These Electricity Rules also specify the provisions related to Grievance redressal mechanism as per which it states that the Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum (CGRF) will include consumer and prosumer representatives.
  • The consumer grievance redressal has been made easy by making it multi-layered and the number of consumer’s representatives have been increased from one to four.
  • Net metering mandated for projects with capacity <=10 kW and gross metering for >10 kW projects.
  • Energy generated by Prosumers to be adjusted against energy consumption for net metering and against bill value for gross metering

High Court Orders

Punjab and Haryana High Court puts stay on Chandigarh electricity distribution company privatisation bid

  • The High Court of Punjab and Haryana has issued a stay order on the Central Government proposal to privatize Chandigarh electricity distribution company (DISCOMs) as it violates Section 131(2) of Electricity Act, 2003.
  • The Powermen Union of Chandigarh had filed a petition with the court calling the move ‘unjust and illegal. The Powermen Union stated that the Chandigarh DISCOM has been running in profits and has been revenue surplus for the last three years, adding that even its transmission and distribution losses were less than 15% of the target set by the Ministry of Power.
  • The union had submitted that the move to privatize the engineering department electricity wing of the union territory of Chandigarh by selling 100% of its stakes was not sustainable. It cited a provision in the Electricity Act, 2003, which states that a power department or utility cannot be transferred to a private entity, leaving no stake or control of the government in it at all.
  • It added that the plans to transfer the stakes were also prepared without calling for objections from all stakeholders like consumers, employees of the electricity wing, and representatives from the governments of Punjab, Haryana, and Chandigarh.
  • In its order, the High Court said that the matter required further deliberation and that it would be brought up for hearing within six months after the court resumes its normal functioning.
  • In November, the Chandigarh Administration had issued a request for proposal inviting bidders to acquire its DISCOM. In the notice inviting bids, the Electricity Wing of the Engineering Department of the Union Territory of Chandigarh had called for qualified entities to participate in the competitive bidding process to acquire 100% of its shares in its DISCOM.

Haryana

HERC allows for 9 Months to Commission a 50 MW Open Access Solar Project

  • HPPC had filed a petition with the Commission seeking its approval to sign a PPA with CleanMax Enviro Energy for the purchase of solar power from its 50 MW open access solar project at Chormaar in the district of Sirsa in Haryana, as per the provisions of the Electricity Act, 2003.
  • HPPC asked HERC to generalize the CUF for the project based on the levels set in other states and by the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI). HPPC had also asked for the performance bank guarantee (PBG) deposit to be reduced based on the precedents set by SECI and other states. It further asked for the scheduled commissioning date of the project to be extended considering its 18-20-month gestation lag.
  • HERC denied HPPC requests for setting a general CUF level and for reducing the PBG deposit. HERC denied HPPC request to help maintain a level playing field for all solar power developers in Haryana.
  • HERC also denied HPPC request for a lower PBG deposit stating that the PBG was essential to ensure that developers achieve the performance levels as agreed in the PPA. It further explained that the validity of these deposits was only one year and that any interest that banks may charge for this period cannot be considered burdensome.
  • In relation to the SCOD, HERC allowed for three additional months over the previous six-month deadline, a total of nine months in light of the impact of the ongoing global COVID-19 crisis. It added that no further extensions would be allowed beyond this.
  • HPPC had also sought for the Commission to increase the rate of payment for power supplied over the contracted capacity to 75% of the tariff instead of 30% previously. The Commission said it agreed with the respondent’s contention that this was “dumped power” and that no relief should be provided in this matter. It said that the terms previously agreed upon would apply in this case.

Tripura

Tripura Determines Rs.3.31/kWh as Levelized Tariff for Decentralized Solar Projects Under PM-KUSUM

  • Tripura State Electricity Regulatory Commission (TSERC) has set Rs. 3.31/kWh as the levelized tariff for power from decentralized solar projects under Component-A of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evem Utthan Mahabhiyan (PM KUSUM) in the state for 25 years.
  • Tripura State Electricity Corporation Limited (TSECL), the state transmission and distribution licensee, filed a petition with TSERC to establish the pre-fixed levelized tariff to purchase solar power from decentralized solar and other renewable projects.
  • These projects are owned by farmers and developers and range between 500 kW and 2 MW in capacity. These are located in the vicinity of rural grid substations under the PM KUSUM program (Component-A). As per the program details, the power generated by the projects will be purchased by state distribution companies (DISCOM) at a pre-fixed tariff.
  • In its final order, the TSERC set the tariff for the projects to be set up by farmers, farmer groups, cooperatives, Panchayats, farmer producer organizations (FPO), water user associations (WUA) in the vicinity of rural grid substations at Rs. 3.31 /kWh for 25 years.
  • TREDA floated a tender in January for the Solarization of 1,300 grid-connected agricultural water pumps in the state. The scope of work included the design, manufacture, supply, erection, testing, and commissioning of the Solarization of 2 horsepower (HP) pumps in the state on a turn-key basis.

Rajasthan

RERC Asks DISCOM to Ensure Timely Payments to Solar and Wind Generators

  • Rajasthan Electricity Regulatory Commission (RERC) has released an order directing the Jodhpur Vidyut Vitran Nigam Limited (JdVVNL) to verify and pay its overdue late payment surcharges (LPS) to a wind generator in the state and to ensure timely payments to solar and wind generators in the future.
  • Malaxmi Wind Power filed a Petition with RERC seeking to direct the JdVVNL to pay its dues and interest on the delayed payments. It said that despite offering a 50% waiver on the distribution company’s (DISCOM) LPS, payments were not released on time, and it revoked its offer to waive 50% off the LPS amount.
  • The wind generator sought for Rs. 22.1 million in LPS along with the principal amount of Rs. 18.8 million due, as of 15 May, 2020. JdVVNL in response stated that it had paid its energy dues for the period between November 2019 and January 2020 to the tune of Rs.7.7 million and that the principal dues for February 2020 to July 2020 stood at Rs. 26.3 million.
  • Additionally, it said it released payments on 30 March, 2017, for its dues of Rs. 36.4 million from May 2016 to December 2016 and the LPS amount of Rs. 3.2 million for the period between June 2015 and December 2016. The DISCOM added that the wind generator had claimed 100% interest for these periods.
  • RERC stated that there was a noticeable delay in making the principal payments as well as LPS dues to the wind generator. It cited previous petitions on similar issues where it held that in the case of delayed payments beyond the timelines mentioned in the PPA, the generator is entitled to LPS as per the Renewable Energy Tariff Regulations.
  • It further added that it was not appropriate for DISCOMs to compel generators to file petitions to claim dues each time, especially when it has given “clear directions” in past cases to pay interest against delayed payments as per the terms of the PPAs.
  • RERC further stated that DISCOMs must follow the said directions scrupulously in all similar cases so that multiplicity of litigations can be avoided. It added that DISCOMs who have signed the agreement was bound by them, and if they failed to comply, their credibility would be affected.
  • RERC further directed the DISCOM to ensure that future payments to solar and wind generators are made on a first-come, first-serve basis regardless of whether they have filed petitions or not.

Maharashtra

MERC Allows DISCOM to Float Open Tenders Under State Solar Program

  • Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has issued an order allowing the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) to float open tenders for its solar projects under the Mukhyamantri Saur Krishi Vahini Yojana (MSKVY) program adopting a continuous bidding process.
  • MSEDCL had filed a petition with the MERC stating that five of its tenders for 6.5 GW of solar projects floated over the last two to three years had received a disappointing response from developers. It received bids for 1,873 MW and was able to contract only 527 MW of these projects.
  • It explained that the poor response was due to the impracticality of the Rs. 3.30 /kWh ceiling tariff and the unavailability of low-cost land in the state, due to which it has not met its renewable purchase obligation (RPO) targets. Consequently, MSEDCL petitioned MERC to allow it to float open tenders under the MSKVY program.
  • Open tenders under the MSKVY program involve continuously re-bidding projects till the target capacity is achieved. After analysis, MERC noted that there might be operational challenges if MSEDCL adopts the continuous bidding method, which could go on for several months. It said bidders might quote only the ceiling tariff, which goes against the intent of the competitive bidding process.
  • Instead, the MERC suggested that MSEDCL should follow the approach of Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), which floats expressions of interest (EoI) to assess the scale of the bids and only calls for bids for a lower capacity (usually 80%) if responses are unsatisfactory.
  • MERC suggested that MSEDCL to include land upfront if available only if responses are still poor after three months of continuous bidding.
  • Subsequently, MERC asked MSEDL to make these amendments to its request for selection (RfS) documents submit a fresh petition for review.
  • MERC felt that these measures would help smoothen the program’s implementation but asked the DISCOM to float the tender without providing for land upfront since a list of available land parcels had not been created yet.
  • In addition to these requests, MSEDCL had also asked for MERC’s approval to set the capacity utilization factor (CUF) for decentralized solar projects at 19% instead of 15% as prescribed by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). The request was approved.

Tamil Nadu

TNERC Dismisses NSEFI’s Plea for Rollover of Banked Renewable Energy

  • Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission (TNERC) dismissed the National Solar energy Federation of India’s (NSEFI) request to allow rollover of banked energy from open access projects under the captive and third-party sale category on account of COVID-19 disruptions.
  • TNERC stated that it was unreasonable on the part of the federation to ask for such benefits when the Commission had already allowed the generators to pay 20% minimum demand charges during the pandemic period.
  • NSEFI had filed a petition concerning the rollover of banked energy from open access renewable projects under captive and third-party sale category for the financial years (FY) 2019-20, 2020-21, 2021-22.
  • The excess energy fed into the grid is treated as ‘lapsed’ in the renewable energy certificate (REC) program. The banking and rollover of balance energy is not permitted as per prevailing energy accounting and billing procedures for solar power projects implemented in Tamil Nadu.
  • Tamil Nadu DISCOM said that the impact of COVID-19 for rollover of banked energy for the year 2019-20 was only for six days, which is negligible, and so NSEFI’s plea to roll over the banking facility for the FY 2019-20 holds no ground. Further, the unutilized energy is to be paid at 75% of the applicable tariff regarding non-REC open access consumers, and hence no loss as claimed by the petitioner exists.
  • TNERC added that the DISCOM’s revenues have also been affected by the pandemic. There will be no carry forward of banked energy in the case of wind and solar generators.

TNERC issue Order Clarifying Inverter Usage in Rooftop Solar Systems up to 4 Kw

  • Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission (TNERC) heard a petition filed by the Solar Energy Developers Association, Salem, seeking clarification on ‘Low Tension (LT) Connectivity’ covered in the ‘Order on Rooftop Solar Generation’ issued on 25 March, 2019.
  • The Association requested directions for inverters in rooftop solar systems (up to 4 kW) irrespective of whether it is connected to a single-phase service connection or a three-phase service connection at the consumer’s end.
  • The respondents of the petition included – Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO), the Director Distribution, and Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency (TEDA).
  • According to the 2019 order, the maximum capacity for interconnection with the grid at a specific voltage level would be governed by the supply/distribution code (amended from time to time). For Solar PV plants with inverters up to 4 kW capacity, the interconnecting voltage level can be 240V – single-phase or 415V three-phase as per the consumer’s option. For solar PV plants with inverters above 4 kW capacity, the interconnecting voltage level must be 415V – three-phase only.
  • The petition further states that wrong interpretations would make the entire rooftop solar program unviable, resulting in a substantial financial loss to the installers.
  • As per the director distribution’s instruction if a domestic consumer connected to a 415V three-phase service connection wants to install a 1 kW rooftop solar system, they will have to install a three-phase inverter instead of a single-phase inverter, which is contrary to the original order.
  • Distribution also stated that the voltage levels for solar consumers and not the usage of single-phase or three-phase inverters.
  • Three-phase inverters with less than 4 kW capacity are not available in the market; even if it is procured, the cost of such inverters would be high, resulting in the entire rooftop solar program being commercially unviable. The benchmark cost of rooftop solar systems notified by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) could not be met if 3 phase inverters are mandated for a system less than 4 kW.
  • However, TANGEDCO is insisting usage of single-phase inverters in single-phase service connections and three-phase inverters in the three-phase service connections to reduce the loss due to imbalance and to maintain quality power supply.
  • TNERC disallowed the conditions imposed by the TANGEDCO to employ three-phase inverters for single-phase rooftop solar systems up to 4 kW. TNERC stated that a ‘licensee’ has no jurisdiction in contemplating additional connectivity conditions, not to mention the unreasonable commercial implications on the consumer.
  • TNERC further clarified that the solar power generation unit up to 4 kW could be connected to 240V single-phase service connection or 415V three-phase service connection at the consumer’s option.

TNERC said Consumers Seeking Additional Rooftop Solar Capacity Must Shift to Gross Metering

  • Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission (TNERC) has rejected a request by the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) for adopting the solar net feed-in (gross metering) methodology for billing consumers choosing to install additional solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity.
  • TANGEDCO had asked TNERC in its Petition to allow it to process applications for solar capacity addition and permit consumers to switch over to the gross metering program (as per the Tamil Nadu Solar Energy Policy, 2019) from the earlier Solar Net Meter Program 2012.
  • Under the gross metering billing system, consumers are compensated at a fixed feed-in-tariff for the total number of solar units generated and exported to the grid as per the gross meter readings. They are charged a retail tariff by the distribution companies (DISCOM) for the electricity consumed from the grid.
  • TNERC also allowed local distribution level connectivity for solar systems up to 90% of distribution transformer (DT) capacity on a first-come-first-serve basis. The limit was 30% under the 2012 policy.
  • TNERC in its Order, ruled that adopting two billing methodologies under two different grid penetration restrictions (30% and 90%) would make billing difficult for the distribution licensee. It said applications for installing additional solar capacity should adhere to the gross metering methodology as long as the installed solar capacity does not exceed the sanctioned load of the consumer’s premises.

Gujarat

Gujarat New Solar Policy Incentivizes Captive and Rooftop Solar Projects

  • Gujarat government has announced the new ‘Gujarat Solar Power Policy 2021′ on 29 Dec, 2020. The policy stands out for the extra freedom it gives to generators, with a focus on both the state and producers benefiting from lower costs.
  • Aforementioned Policy mentioned incentives for residential, commercial, and industrial rooftop solar developer which will be valid until 31 December, 2025.
  • According to new policy, residential, commercial, and industrial consumers, and third-party projects will be eligible to sell power to the state DISCOMs. They will have the freedom to set up solar projects for self-use.
  • There will be no ceiling on the projects capacity, and the existing ceiling of 50% of the contracted load for setting up rooftop solar projects has been removed.
  • The new policy aims to promote the growth of the solar sector in the state by encouraging micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to use solar energy, which would help bring down their operating cost.
  • The capacity installation targets for the DISCOMs will be based on the renewable purchase obligation (RPO) defined by the Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission (GERC) from time to time.
  • The new policy has also reduced the security deposit payable by developers to DISCOMs from Rs. 2.5 million /MW to Rs. 500,000 /MW.
  • According to the new policy, consumers can install solar systems on their roofs or premises and lease them to third parties. A group of consumers can set up solar projects for self-consumption as collective ownership projects and consume the generated electricity in the ratio of ownership.
  • DISCOMs will now purchase power from small-scale solar projects (up to 4 MW) at Rs.0.20 /kWh higher than the tariff discovered through competitive bidding.
  • For residential consumers under the ‘Surya Gujarat Yojana’ and MSMEs for captive usage, the DISCOMs will purchase surplus energy at the rate of Rs.2.25/kWh for the first five years. Beyond five years, the energy would be purchased at the rate of 75% of the tariff discovered by the Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Limited (GUVNL) through a competitive bidding process.
  • For all other consumers, the surplus solar power will be purchased at 75% of the tariff discovered by GUVNL through a competitive bidding process. No transmission and wheeling charges will be applicable as the power will be generated in the same premises.
  • The New Solar policy has set a banking charge of Rs. 1.50 /kWh for high tension (HT) consumers and low tension (LT) consumers. For all other consumers, it will be Rs. 1.10 /KWh. There will be no banking charges for residential consumers and government buildings.
  • The cross-subsidy surcharge and additional surcharge will not be applicable for captive power projects. These surcharges will be applicable for third-party sale and will be equal to the charges for open access consumers.
  • In case of projects to be set up for captive use or third-party sale under the renewable energy certificate (REC) mechanism, the installation of solar projects up to the sanctioned load will be allowed.
  • In case of captive projects or third-party sale under the REC mechanism, the surplus energy after being set off on a 15-minute time block basis will be compensated by the DISCOM at 65% of the tariff discovered by GUVNL.
  • Previously, Gujarat government had extended the validity of ‘Gujarat Solar Policy-2015’ up to 31 December, 2020, from 31 March, 2020.

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