India National Solar Mission to close second round of bidding

The news outlet points out that in Batch-I, the names of the successful bidders were immediately announced, however, it is unclear if the same protocol will be followed in this round. The bidding process is handled by NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam a unit of NTPC, which was nominated by the government to oversee the first phase of the Solar Mission.

Batch-II will see project developers quote a tariff at which they plan to sell the power produced to NVVN for the next 25 years. The quotes will be arranged in descending order, so that those selling the power at the lowest rates will be given the first projects. Once the total capacity of the projects reaches 350MW, the process will be suspended. Business Line noted that during Batch-I, tariffs were quoted as low as USD 0.21 (INR 10.90) a unit.

In addition to closing Batch-II bidding, it is expected that the state of Karnataka will take the time on Friday to announce the results of its bidding process that was completed last week. The Karnataka Renewable Energy Development company decided not to disclose the names of the successful bidders until the National Solar Mission had completed its round so as not to influence any decisions.

Sunborne Energy LLC, a solar-project developer backed by billionaire Vinod Khosla, is among companies bidding to build concentrating solar power plants in India’s Karnataka state.

The southern state held an auction last month to award contracts for 80 megawatts of solar power projects that will benefit from an assured buyer and preferential rates. It received bids for 154 megawatts from companies including Sunborne, Kiran Energy Solar Power Pvt., Tata Power Co. (TPWR) and Atria Power Corp., N.S. Prasanna Kumar, managing director of Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Ltd., the state agency overseeing the process, said.

The agency may name the winners next week, he said from the state capital of Bangalore. Of the 80 megawatts on offer, Karnataka plans to award 30 megawatts of concentrating solar thermal capacity and 50 megawatts of photovoltaic capacity, Prasanna Kumar said. Concentrating solar thermal plants use sunlight to heat liquids that produce steam for generators, while photovoltaic solar energy plants use panels to turn sunlight directly into power.

Two concentrated solar thermal bids for 20 megawatts of capacity were received from Sunborne and Atria Power, Prasanna Kumar said. The rest of the bids were for photovoltaic projects, he said.

India aims to become one of the world’s fastest-growing solar energy markets by installing 20,000 megawatts, equivalent to about 18 nuclear plants, of sun-powered capacity by 2022. A separate auction run by the central government yesterday for 350 megawatts of capacity drew a record-low price for solar power of 7.49 rupees (15 U.S. cents) from Solairedirect SA, France’s second-largest solar power producer.