After repeatedly postponing the last date for receiving bids for the 10 gigawatt (GW) manufacturing-linked solar scheme, the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) has eased the norms for potential firms.
After repeatedly postponing the last date for receiving bids for the 10 gigawatt (GW) manufacturing-linked solar scheme, the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) has eased the norms for potential firms. Under the amendments, solar companies would now get 36 months, instead of the 30-month period mandated earlier, for setting up manufacturing units. The SECI has also allowed inter-state transmission charges to be waived if commissioning of solar generation units are delayed beyond FY22 due to unavailability of adequate transmission charges.
The norms were amended after the SECI extended the last date for receiving bids to October 12 from September 27 – the third postponement since the initial deadline of August 20. Though the SECI had attributed the postponement to “the request of few bidders”, industry sources claim feeble response from companies as the reason. An official from a potential bidder had told FE earlier that the scheme’s terms and conditions did not apportion the risks appropriately.
Through the scheme, as much as 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.
To make the scheme attractive to developers, the SECI already eased a number of norms last month: bank guarantee amount were reduced by almost 25% to Rs 466 crore, ceiling tariff for auctions were cut to Rs 2.75/unit from Rs 2.93/unit and the bidding scope for a single entity to win 2 GW of solar power supply contracts was reduced to 600 MW manufacturing capacity from 1 GW.
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% of the products though cheaper imported component in FY18. To aid domestic manufacturing, the government has levied a 25% safeguard duty on import of solar cells — the basic ingredient needed to manufacture solar panels — for a year ending July 19, 2019. The duty would be 20% for the next six months till January 29, 2020, and 15% in the subsequent six months.