SECI extends deadline for 3,000 MW solar tender

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New Delhi | Published: April 23, 2019 5:12:28 AM

This is the third time the SECI has extended the date – original deadline was March 18, 2019.

solar, solar industry, solar sector, power sector, power industryThe scheme was initially launched in 2018 to boost the domestic solar manufacturing industry, which was growing tepidly in spite of huge surge in solar generation capacity

The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) has extended the deadline for receiving bids for the government’s manufacturing-linked solar scheme to May 14. This is the third time the SECI has extended the date – original deadline was March 18, 2019. The scheme seeks to set up 3 gigawatt (GW) of solar plants against 1.5 GW of manufacturing units.

This is the second phase of the tender launched in January 2019, after the government’s maiden call for a similar contract had to be cancelled due to tepid industry response. SECI’s initial invitation for a 10 GW of manufacturing-linked solar tender had received quotes for only 2 GW capacity put forward by Azure Power. The scheme had failed to attract developers even after the SECI had sweetened the terms for bidders multiple times.

The scheme was initially launched in 2018 to boost the domestic solar manufacturing industry, which was growing tepidly in spite of huge surge in solar generation capacity. About 88% of domestic module requirements were met through imports in FY18. However, after the imposition of the safeguard duty on the import of solar cells — the basic ingredient needed to manufacture solar panels — the country’s solar cell imports fell 47% year-on-year to $1,038 million in the first six months of FY19.

Also read: How to create jobs China style: Arvind Panagariya has this suggestion for next govt

The development comes with the slowing pace of adding renewable generation capacities. In FY19, as much as 8.6 GW of renewable capacity were added, down from 11.8 GW commissioned in FY18. As much as 41 GW of renewable energy projects have been tendered in the first three quarters of FY19, while nearly 17 GW of tenders have been cancelled at the same time, mostly due to muted response from project developers.

At the end of Q3FY19, nearly 18 GW of solar projects were under various stages of development. The country plans to have 175 GW of installed renewable power capacity by FY22.

The target, however, now seems achievable as 45 GW of hydro power plants would now be counted as renewable energy after a recent Cabinet decision.

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