Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) has extended the deadline for submission of bids for solar PV (photovoltaic) projects under Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) Batch 2 Phase 1 to January 20, 2014 from the earlier fixed date of December 28. This decision was taken following requests from stakeholders.

“This extension will give developers some extra time to scrutinise their own bid strategy and perhaps also allow some bench-sitters to come into the fray,” said a report of renewable energy consultancy firm Bridge to India.

“Also, developers are still grappling with some larger questions around the bidding process and this extension will provide a window for such aspects to be clarified. For eg, most developers have raised apprehensions about SECI’s ability to sign back-to-back Power Sale Agreements (PSAs) with the state distribution companies (DISCOMS) and have even cited this as the reason for the delay in the first place. Developers are hoping to get a clear understanding of whether state DISCOMS will be willing to buy power from these projects. This understanding can make or break the bankability of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for the developers and lenders,” it added.

In the pre-bid meeting, SECI, the nodal agency to facilitate implementation of solar projects under JNNSM, had tried to clarify that developers need not be concerned about the final off-takers as that is something that SECI is responsible for. For the developers, SECI explained, that it will be the off-taker. However, this explanation has not been able to satisfy most project developers.

To assure the developers, SECI should share the details about the states that have agreed to purchase the power from SECI and also, whether or not, these states have agreed to bear the relevant open access charges and losses, pointed out the report.

A total of 750 MW of solar PV projects will be allotted to interested developers through a competitive bidding process under Batch 2 Phase 1 plan. In this process, viability gap funding (VGF) model has also been introduced. With extended deadline for bids submission, the PPAs for these projects are now expected to be signed in April 2014 and the deadline for commissioning will be around May 2015.

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