Daily News Wrap-Up: Industry Reacts to the New Solar Bidding Guidelines

Dry August Sparks Unprecedented Power Demand Across India

September 6, 2023


The Ministry of Power has introduced new guidelines for tariff-based competitive bidding for grid-connected solar projects. These guidelines aim to enhance transparency, establish fair procurement procedures, and encourage competitive pricing. This new framework is designed to promote consistent growth in installations across the country, with input from developers. The new incentives and relaxations are expected to stimulate increased participation, while penalties will serve as a deterrent against project delays and cancellations. Mercom asked stakeholders for their opinions on the new guidelines and their impact on the upcoming solar power projects.

August this year has been the warmest month in India for over 120 years and one of the worst monsoon-deficient months in history. As a consequence, power demand in the country is scaling new heights, raising the scepter of blackouts in a few states. On September 1, power demand hit a staggering 240 GW. The demand was some 2 GW lower the next day. Power demand was in excess of 200 GW throughout August. The previous all-India peak power demand recorded was 201.066 GW on April 26, 2022, surpassing the peak power demand of 200.539 GW met on July 7, 2021.

The Government of Maharashtra has announced incentives in the form of capital subsidies for solar project installations by textile units in the state. The policy provides electricity subsidies, support for effluent treatment plants, and zero liquid discharge facilities to help the industry transition to a more sustainable future. Maharashtra accounts for 10.4% of the country’s total textile and apparel production. It also produces 272 million kgs of yarn, which is 12% of India’s gross production. The new policy aims to strengthen the supply chain, focusing on how processes can be made more sustainable in the long term.

The Board of Directors of Hero MotoCorp approved an investment of up to ₹5.5 billion (~$66.3 million) in the rights issue of Indian electric two-wheeler company Ather Energy. The indicative timeline for the completion of this investment is set for September 30, 2023. The investment will be made in Series E2 Compulsory Convertible Preference Shares of Ather Energy. Hero MotoCorp is already an existing shareholder in Ather.

Singareni Collieries Company, a coal mining company owned by the Government of Telangana and the Government of India, has floated three tenders to develop 232 MW of solar projects at different sites in Telangana. Of this, a 17 MW project will be on a coal mine OB (overburden) dump site. The last date for the submission of bids is September 29, 2023. The scope of the work involves the design, engineering, supply, construction, erection, testing, and commissioning of solar power projects.

Punjab Genco, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Punjab Energy Development Agency, has invited bids for installing and commissioning 12 MW (3 x 4 MW) of solar power projects at various locations in the Bathinda district of the state. The successful bidder must also oversee the project’s operation and maintenance for five years. The three identified locations are in Bhagi Bandar and Shergarh villages in the Talwandi Sabo subdivision and Kothe Malluana village in the Rampura Phul subdivision. The last date to submit the bids is September 27, 2023. Bids will be opened the following day.

Telecommunications service provider Bharti Airtel will purchase 23,000 MWh of renewable energy by Q4 of FY 2023-24 for its data center subsidiary, Nxtra. The company said the move aligns with Airtel’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint. Airtel said it would acquire stakes in renewable energy projects set up by Continuum Green India and Vibrant Energy Holdings, which will power six of Nxtra’s Edge data center facilities.