Gridco to renegotiate tariffs with L2, L3 bidders for solar power projects

Unsettled by the wide differential between solar tariff prices quoted by L1 bidder (Aditya Birla Renewables) at Rs 2.79 per unit and other participants in the recently floated 200 Mw tender, Gridco, the state-owned bulk power trading firm, plans to renegotiate with L2 and L3 bidders. Gridco is even ready to go for retenders if the L2 and L3 bidders don’t agree to mellow their price quotes.

While Gridco is open to signing long-term PPA (power purchase agreement) with the lowest bidder, it is not keen to ink similar pacts with others as the quoted price is not attractive.

Three players — Sukhbir Agro Energy, Gupta Power Infrastructure and Eden Renewable Varenne — have bagged 25 Mw, 20 Mw and 50 Mw capacities, respectively, at a price of Rs 3.19 per unit.

Gridco has arrived at the lowest rate of Rs 2.79 which was quoted for 75 Mw. “We will ask the other players who have quoted Rs 3.19 for supply of power at the rate quoted by the L1 bidder. If they don’t, we will go for cancellation and retendering. However, a final call is yet to be taken,” said an official privy to the development.

The state-run power purchaser needs about 1,200 Mw for meeting its renewable purchase obligation (RPO). Of the total mandate, about 400 Mw has already been met.

Experts on solar power are dismayed by the differential in prices quoted by L1 and L2 bidders. The price quoted by the lowest bidder was competitive, given the auctions were conducted under the shadow of the Centre’s announcement to impose safeguard duties on solar modules imports from China and Malaysia. Also, Odisha’s solar irradiation compares unfavourably with Rajasthan, Gujarat or Madhya Pradesh for developers to quote competitive prices.

“The rates discovered in Odisha are satisfactory. However, Gridco has to cough up more money as the difference between the L1 and L2 prices is a whopping 40 paise, compared to other states where the figure hovers around one paisa to two paise,” Chandrashekhar Mishra, managing director of Canyon Consultancy, had informed Business Standard during a previous interaction.

Gridco had invited bids for 200 Mw of solar power projects, with the leeway to ramp up capacity to 300 Mw under the Green Shoe option. The power trading firm may offer the additional 100 Mw to the lowest bidder — Aditya Birla Renewables — though a decision is still pending. Gridco’s maiden solar power auctions were subscribed by more than four times as bids were received for 845 Mw capacity.

In response to its tenders, Gridco received 14 bids for 845 Mw from interested players. Acme Solar, Azure Power, Mahindra Susten and Hero Solar Energy also participated in the solar tenders.

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