SECI keen to advance deadlines for projects but developers jittery
The Solar Energy Corporation of India is considering shortening the period for completing projects from 13 months to 12 even though developers say the current deadline is almost impossible to meet. Given India’s ambitious target of installing 100,000 MW of solar capacity by 2022, government agencies including SECI have been set different annual goals and are trying to achieve them. “We have to get 5,000 MW installed in the next three-four years,” said Ashvini Kumar, Managing Director of SECI. “We have taken up the matter of shortening the deadline with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. If the ministry approves, all subsequent projects will have to abide by the new deadline.” Forthcoming SECI auctions include 500 MW of projects in Orissa, 250 MW in Gujarat and 750 MW in Andhra Pradesh. Solar developers claim commissioning a large project within 13 months of signing the power purchase agreement is already a huge problem. “It was okay earlier when the projects were small, 5 MW or thereabouts, but now that they are often in the 100-200 MW range, the deadline is proving difficult,” said Sujoy Ghosh, India country head of US-based developer First Solar. “After getting financial closure, modules have to be imported,” said Nikhil Dhingra, CFO of ACME Solar, a joint venture of New Delhi-based ACME Cleantech Solutions, France-based EDF Energies Nouvelles and Luxemburg-based EREN. If an agency such as International Finance Corporation is funding the project, social and environmental impact studies have to be carried out, which take still more time.