MSEDCL increase the tariff to woo solar power producers


In view of the poor response to its tender for buying 1,350MW solar power, state discom MSEDCL has increased the maximum price to attract producers.
The company had floated tenders for buying 1,350MW with a cap of Rs3.15 per unit but got bids for only 5MW. Now it has increased the cap to Rs3.30 per unit and floated the tender again.
The developers will have to set up solar projects, including the transmission and distribution network, up to the delivery point at their own cost. It will also include acquiring necessary approvals, permits, and clearances.
The projects would be selected regardless of the technology used in the solar modules and irrespective of whether they come with trackers or not.
The last date for bid submission is January 29, 2020, and both the technical and commercial bids will be opened on the same date.
All bidders must submit an earnest money deposit (EMD) of Rs1 lakh per MW of quoted bid capacity.
Meanwhile, MSEDCL has floated another tender for buying 500MW. The ceiling price for this tender is Rs2.9 per unit. When MSEDCL didn’t get a response at Rs3.15 per unit, how was it expecting bidders at Rs2.9 per unit?.
The poor response to its solar tenders bodes ill for MSEDCL. Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has issued a draft policy announcing its renewable purchase obligation from 2020 to 2025. The solar targets mentioned in the policy draft will start at 4.5% in 2020-21 and go up to 13.5% over the next five years.
MSEDCL has protested stating that the commission’s proposal to revise the solar target to 13.5% by 2024-25 was quite stiff and that despite best efforts, it would not be able to achieve it. The total solar capacity of 12,500MW would be required by 2024-25 to achieve the target against the present capacity of 4,200MW. The competitive bidding process to expand the capacity takes a lot of time and there were many other factors beyond its control, the discom said.
While protesting the target, MSEDCL is doing its best to scuttle solar rooftop, which can help it in meeting the MERC target. The discom has proposed an astronomical grid supply charge (GSC) on rooftop consumers, which will make solar unviable.