Several companies have filed petitions before the central regulator, seeking higher tariffs jut as a panel chaired by Deepak Parekh recommended compensation for Tata and Adani’s higher costs of generation.
At least three solar thermal power project developers with mandate to commission total 250 mw of capacity have moved petitions before the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) seeking higher tariff.
Reliance Power subsidiary Rajasthan Sun Technique Energy, Lanco Group’s Diwakar Solar Projects and Godawari Power and Ispat owned Godavari Green Energy, in their respective petitions, claimed that the solar radiation data shared by ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) are incorrect and solar thermal projects may not be able to generate power as per the projection.
According to an executive with one of the petitioners, the government’s flawed data may take a toll on the viability of all the existing and upcoming solar power projects in Rajasthan, which has emerged as a solar hub of the country. The regulator is yet to admit these petitions. India’s solar power generation capacity is largely concentrated in the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan.
“At the time of bidding under the Centre’s Solar Mission, we banked on ministry of new and renewable energy’s data on ‘direct normal irradiance’ for Rajasthan.
However, it turned out 15%-20% less than ministry’s projections for solar radiation, which is the only fuel for our kind of projects.
It means, our project will have that much less electricity generation and hence return on investments,” said the executive requesting anonimity. He added that weak Rupee too shot up project cost. Under solar mission’s first bidding round held in 2010, NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam selected seven developers to commission 470 mw of solar thermal projects for tariff of Rs. 10.49-12.24 per unit. Reliance Power and Lanco Group quoted Rs. 11.97 and Rs. 10.49 per unit and bagged 100 mw projects each, which are under commissioning.
Godawari Power that quoted Rs. 12.20 per unit announced commissioning of its 50 mw project mid-last year.
Earlier in September 2013, the Association of Power Producers also wrote to the union minister Farooq Abdullah requesting the necessary support by offering compensatory tariff to the project developers.
“The bidders had no other source of verifying the DNI data and could base the bid on DNI range provided by MNRE only,” read a letter from the association director general Ashok Khurana. He stated that the developers could find the actual DNI only after their data could be independently collected after the projects were awarded.
DNI is the amount of solar radiation received per unit area by a surface that is always held perpendicular to the rays that come in a straight line from the direction of the sun at its current position in the sky. As per the original deadline, developers were expected to commission their projects by May 2013, which was extended by 10 months by the ministry.