The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) has raised the ceiling tariff for auctions for the 10 gigawatt (GW) manufacturing-linked solar scheme to Rs 2.85/unit from Rs 2.75/unit set earlier.
The ceiling tariff was initially set at Rs 2.93/unit, and later cut by Rs 0.18 in the wake of falling prices of solar modules. The nodal agency for central government-run renewable projects has also deferred the last date for receiving bids to November 19, the fifth postponement since the initial deadline of August 20.
In the wake of tepid response received from the industry towards the scheme, the SECI has amended the terms for bidders multiple times since its launch in June. Through the scheme, 3 GW of cumulative annual solar manufacturing units are seen to be set up over three years, resulting in 10 GW of new generation capacities.
The SECI has already expanded the window to avail waivers on the inter-state transmission system charge by extending the commissioning deadline from FY22 to FY24. Solar companies would now get 36 months, a year more than the timeline mandated earlier, for commencing commercial operations from their manufacturing units. The SECI has also tweaked the minimum shareholding criteria for bidders in special purpose vehicles incorporated for executing projects under the tender. The requisite bank guarantee amount has also been cut by almost 25 per cent to Rs 466 crore.
The scheme was launched to boost the domestic solar manufacturing industry, which was growing tepidly in spite of huge surge in solar generation capacity in the country. Solar developers sourced 88 per cent of the products though cheaper imported component in FY18. To aid domestic manufacturing, the government has levied a 25 per cent safeguard duty on import of solar cells – the basic ingredient needed to make solar panels — for a year ending July 19, 2019. — With inputs from FE