Solar is not cheap everywhere and this is what Neyveli Lignite Corporation has learnt.
The public sector ‘navratna’ company floated a tender for turnkey contract for building 250 MW of solar projects in Odisha, but the entire programme is in danger of getting scrapped.
The tender asked bidders to name their prices under two categories — using only locally made cells and modules, with ‘viability gap funding’ from government of India, and in the ‘open’ category. In the open category, the project could use imported cells and panels, which are cheaper.
Only two companies bid in the open category – Vikram Solar, which quoted a price of ₹5.46 crore a MW, and Jakson Solar, which quoted ₹5.50 crore. In contrast, in another recent tender for 500 MW projects in Tamil Nadu, the least bidder, Gamesa, had quoted ₹4.34 crore.
NLC’s Chairman and Managing Director confirmed this and said that the rates were too high.
In the ‘domestic content requirement’ category, only three companies showed interest – Adani (₹5.73 crore), Vikram Solar (₹6.26 crore) and Jakson (₹7.15 crore). But for any of these bids to be awarded here, the government of India has to sanction viability gap funding. Acharya noted that VGF was not forthcoming from the government.
The situation is thus that the DCR quotes cannot be taken unless GoI grants VGF, while open category quotes are too high.