The hybrid policy was launched in 2018, primarily to overcome the challenges posed by the intermittent nature of wind and solar power plants.
Since the February and June auctions discovered lower prices of Rs 2.5 per unit and Rs 2.36 per unit respectively, the composite pooled tariff is Rs 2.66 per unit.
The Solar Energy Corporation of India’s (Seci) latest bid to set up 1,200 MW of wind-solar hybrid plants has discovered the lowest tariff of Rs 2.41/unit, much lower than the Rs 2.69/unit quoted by companies in the last auction for hybrid plants held in May 2019. According to sources, Adani Green Energy, Brookfield Asset Management-backed ABC Renewable Energy and the Indian arm of Canada-based Amp Energy quoted the lowest tariff for building 600 MW, 380 MW and 130 MW of wind solar projects, respectively.
Acme Solar Holdings quoted the second lowest bid of Rs 2.42/unit, and is set to win contract for 90 MW capacity.
Unlike the previous two tranches of under-subscribed hybrid auctions conducted by Seci, the latest bid conducted on Wednesday witnessed the participation of 10 bidders cumulatively placing bids for 3,300 MW of capacity. In the first two auction rounds of 1,200 MW each, Seci could find developers for less than 1,600 MW capacity. The winners in the first two rounds were Adani Green (600 MW and 390 MW), SBG Cleantech — a joint venture between Japan’ SoftBank Group, India’s Bharti Enterprises and Taiwan’ Foxconn Technology Group — winning 450 MW and ReNew Power (120 MW).
The hybrid policy was launched in 2018, primarily to overcome the challenges posed by the intermittent nature of wind and solar power plants. The model envisaged configuring wind turbines and solar systems at same grid connection points for optimal utilisation of power generating and transmission capacities. Similar to the trend noticed in the recent Seci auctions for standalone solar projects, a large number of winning developers are backed by foreign capital in the latest bidding.
Standalone solar price has fallen to the record-low level of Rs 1.99/unit, buoyed by lower interest rates, declining solar panel prices, improved technology and assured purchase of power. Foreign-funded companies, with their eagerness to establish themselves as serious solar players in the Indian market, are leveraging their access to cheaper capital and flexible loan repayment options have been quoting aggressively to win contracts. The 13% fall in solar module prices since last year has also contributed to lower tariffs.
The country has set a target to raise the capacity of installed renewable energy generation plants from the current level of 89 GW to 175 GW by the end of 2022. About 35 GW is under various stages of implementation and 30 GW under various stages of bidding. If the 45.7 GW of hydro and 6.8GW of nuclear capacities are included, the target under the Paris climate change accord of having 40% of installed power generation capacity from non-fossil fuel sources can be achieved by 2022 itself.