Solar power bids: the battle for low tariffs

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India’s solar power sector turned a corner on 10 February with record low winning bids of Rs3.30 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for building a 750 megawatts (MW) plant at Rewa in Madhya Pradesh.

Expectedly, it offered a template, with France’s Solairedirect SA going on to win the rights to set up a 250MW of solar plant at Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh, and sell power to state run NTPC Ltd at the new record-low tariff of Rs3.15 per kWh in an auction this month.

The Rewa bid represents a watershed moment in India’s solar sector journey, as it helped shift the conversation from subsidy or viability gap funding being used, to bringing down tariffs.

Also, for the 750MW capacity on offer, Rewa Ultra Mega Power Ltd, a joint venture of Solar Energy Corp. of India Ltd and Madhya Pradesh Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd (MPUVNL), saw 20 bids totalling 7,500MW placed by developers such as Japan’s SoftBank, France’s Engie, Italy’s Enel, Canadian Solar and Singapore’s Sembcorp.

Mahindra Renewables Pvt. Ltd, Acme Solar Holdings Pvt. Ltd and Solenergi Power Pvt. Ltd bid Rs2.979 per kWh, Rs2.970 per kWh and Rs2.974 per kWh respectively to win India’s first energy contracts to build 250MW plants each.

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