Deviations to the Bidding Guidelines for Omkareshwar Floating Solar Project Approved

The Commission said the approval of PPA and PSA was required as per the regulations


The Madhya Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (MPERC) recently approved deviations to the bidding guidelines for developing the Omkareshwar floating solar power project (Phase II).

The Commission noted that the approval of the power purchase agreement (PPA) and power sale agreement (PSA) would be necessary per the provisions of the Electricity Act 2003 and applicable MPERC regulations.

Rewa Ultra Mega Solar (RUMSL) and Madhya Pradesh Power Management Company (MPPMCL) had jointly filed a petition for approval of certain deviations from the bidding guidelines issued by the Ministry of Power for the development of the 600 MW floating solar project.


Given the project-specific requirements, the petitioners had sought approval of deviations concerning:

  • Notification of force majeure event
  • Offtake constraints due to lack of readiness of power evacuation infrastructure
  • Default by solar project developer and consequences
  • Default on account of the developer’s failure to supply energy as per PPA
  • Inclusion of epidemic, pandemic, quarantine, lockdown, or similar actions ordered by any government authority as ‘force majeure events
  • Termination due to a non-natural force Majure event
  • Commissioning timelines
  • Event of the reservoir’s minimum water level going below 190.5 meters

In July this year, RUMSL invited bids to develop 300 MW of floating solar projects (3×100 MW, Phase-II) at the Omkareshwar reservoir.

Commission’s analysis – 

Notification of a force majeure event

The Commission observed that the petitioners had submitted that the affected party should be provided with a maximum period of 15 days in place of seven days to notify the other party of the occurrence of a force majeure event. The Commission approved this deviation.

Offtake constraints

Regarding the offtake constraints due to the lack of evacuation infrastructure, the Commission noted that the intent of the proposed changes in connection with generation compensation due to transmission infrastructure constraints was to provide greater certainty to investors. This deviation was allowed.

Default by solar project developer  

Regarding defaults by developers, the Commission said that the petitioners had submitted that if the developers default and fail to cure it within the prescribed period, procurers will have the right to terminate the PPAs. Under such conditions, the developers would be liable to pay damages to the procurer.

The Commission observed that the deviations sought in respect of termination consequences were an attempt at further detailing the consequences of default. The deviation sought in this regard was approved.

Failure to supply energy as per PPA

The Commission noted that the petitioners had proposed to incorporate a provision that if the developers failed to supply energy up to their yearly minimum supply obligation, they would be liable for payment of damages.

It said that the intent of the proposed changes in connection with the termination consequences was to give the parties an option to avoid termination of the PPAs and continue with the project, which may be economically beneficial to the stakeholders. The Commission acknowledged the intent and considered the deviation sought in this regard.

Force majeure events

The petitioners submitted that the definition of force majeure under the solar bidding guidelines does not specifically include any widespread occurrence of a disease affecting the construction and operation of the solar project.

The Commission observed that the Covid-19 outbreak led to a lockdown in the entire industry, affecting the entire activities. However, the Commission stated that the expression ‘pandemic’ or ‘epidemic’ without a qualification defining the inability of the project developer to execute the project would be too open and needed to be restricted to ‘pandemic resulting in lockdown or similar action ordered by any government authority.’ Accordingly, this deviation was allowed with a limited scope to mean ‘pandemic resulting in lockdown or similar action ordered by any government authority.’

Non-natural force majeure event

The petitioners had proposed that in the case of a non-natural force majeure event, developers should be allowed to terminate the project agreements after 365 days from the issuance of the notice instead of 180 days, as per the solar bidding guidelines. The proposal was allowed.

Commissioning timelines

The petitioners submitted that during the stakeholder interaction with the prospective bidders for Phase II, it was decided that a longer commissioning timeframe of 21 months would allow the bidders to manage the shortage of modules and floats required for project construction and commissioning.

The Commission granted the extension since it would help enhance the project’s bankability and reduce the bid tariff.

Reservoir’s minimum water level This clause was added to ensure the uninterrupted operation of the floating solar project by maintaining the minimum water level of 190.50 meters in the Omkareshwar reservoir.

The Commission observed that the above provision was specific to the Omkareshwar floating solar project and was not a deviation from the bidding guidelines. It said that the proposed amendment was appropriate to mitigate the risk of the generation below the level of 190.50 meters.

Earlier this year, Amp Energy, NHDC, and SJVN were declared winners in RUMSL’s auction for the 600 MW floating solar park3.

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