Govt’s solar power plan finds few takers

A month on,invitation for investment in 200 MW attracts bids for 140 MW.

Written by Maulshree Seth | Lucknow | Published: May 17, 2013 2:13 am

A month on,invitation for investment in 200 MW attracts bids for 140 MW.

Almost a month after inviting private investments in solar power generation of 200 MW in the state,the UP government has attracted bids for only 140 MW.

The poor financial record of Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Ltd and higher rates offered in Gujarat acted as two major deterrents for the bidders,it was learnt.

The fact came out as the state government opened technical bids for purchase of 200 MW power generation but realised that nine firms showed interest in only 140 MW. Left with no other option,the state has decided to move ahead with the tender for 140 MW only,which is likely to decrease further if one or more companies do not qualify in evaluation on technical criteria.

The government came out with a solar power policy earlier this year and on the basis of the policy,a tender for solar power purchase of 200 MW was floated last month.

Investors were also offered special incentives in Bundelkhand region. The companies were to bid rates at which they would sell power generated to the state for the next 12 years after start of generation.

Sources said the companies openly shared that their concern over the financial vulnerability of Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Ltd,which is under huge debts. At the same time,they expressed interest in investing in the state if it followed the Gujarat model of power purchase,where the government has fixed power purchase price and signs agreement with companies who are ready to sell on these rates. Gujarat is offering Rs 15 per kwh for purchase of solar power for first 12 years after commencement of the plant.

“Considering the present scenario,it might not be the best response but it is a sufficient response. The Gujarat model cannot be feasible for the state. Even other states like Punjab,Tamil Nadu are following the tender process and they are facing similar problems,” said a senior official.

In January 2011,the then Mayawati government signed a memorandum of understanding and power purchase agreement with the company for establishing 1,320 MW thermal power plant in Ghazipur district. It is one of the nine projects for which state government had relaxed the deadline for starting the work but the process is yet to start.

The companies that have shown interest include bids for 5 MW each by Navkan Mine and Mineral Pvt Ltd,New Delhi,and Jyoti Buildtech Pvt Ltd,Lucknow; 10 MW each by Jakson Power Pvt Ltd,Noida; DK Infra Power Pvt Ltd,Delhi; Refex Energy Pvt Ltd,Noida; Azure Pvt Ltd,New Delhi,20 MW each by Shri Colonizers and Developers Pvt Ltd,Lucknow,and Moserbaer Clean Energy,New Delhi. Excel Infra Pvt Ltd is the only company that has bid for 50 MW.

The state government has decided on May 30 as the date for opening financial bids.

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