Tamil Nadu

COVID-19: Solar developer wants project completion date extended

Raasi Group has sought for extension of completion date for its 100 MW solar project in the State, in the wake of COVID- 19, which has impacted module procurement.

In 2017, the company signed an agreement with Tangedco, the State utility for procurement of the said capacity at ₹3.47 per unit for 25 years. The project was to come up in Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu. Tangedco had signed the agreement with a slew of other companies for procurement of 1,500 MW.

The plant was to be completed by September this year, otherwise penalties would be imposed as per the agreement. “We seek extension till December. Module procurement has been hit due to the situation in China. It will take at least five months for the situation to ease. This should be considered as a force majeure situation, which is provided for in the agreement ,” C. Narasimhan, chairman, Raasi Group, told The Hindu.

A force majeure (FM) clause is included to provide for extraordinary events like those beyond human control such as wars, riots, crimes, or natural calamities, among others.

Mr. Narasimhan pointed out there was already an issue relating to safeguard duty which was delaying the project and COVID-19 has complicated the situation.

In July 2018, the Centre had imposed safeguard duty on solar panels and modules. As a result, the industry wanted to pass on the additional cost to the customers.

“Tamil Nadu has not agreed to the pass through of the duty. We have moved Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission over the issue. Three other companies have also moved the power regulator,” Mr. Narasimhan said.

He pointed out that the government wants to re-negotiate tariff. “We are ready to accept a tariff of ₹3.33 per unit provided duty pass through and payment guarantee is provided along with extension of date,” Mr. Narasimhan said.

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Printable version | Jun 5, 2020 12:06:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/covid-19-solar-developer-wants-project-completion-date-extended/article31123265.ece

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