Rajasthan?s solar energy programme postponed

The 200 MW solar power programme of the state of Rajasthan has been indefinitely postponed. On Thursday, the Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corporation put up a circular on its website, which read: “Last date of receiving of bids (RfS) for all the three RfS/PV 10/RREC/6 for Solar photovoltaic projects, RfS/Thermal 50/RREC/7 for Concentrating Solar Thermal Power projects & RfS/PV1/RREC/5 for Solar PV projects are hereby postponed till further notice.”

The programme was to enable the setting up of several solar photovoltaic projects for 100 MW, and two concentrated solar thermal power projects of 50 MW each. The solar power producers were to get Rs 10.12 a unit if they did not claim the ‘accelerated depreciation’ benefit, and Rs 8.85 a unit, if they did.

The first ‘last date for submission of bids’ was February 17, but the date kept getting put off. The latest revised date was today – Friday, May 18. This is seen as a setback to the development of solar energy industry in India.

“The delay is frustrating for all of us who have invested enormous amount of time and money in participating in the bidding process. We are hopeful that the Rajasthan officials will act fast to restore confidence in the state’s solar policy" says Mr Madhavan Nampoothiri, Founder and Director of RESolve Energy Consultants, who was assisting a couple of developers in participating in the bidding process.

Solar power project developers are upset because after the first phase of the National Solar Mission and the solar programme of Gujarat, there are no project offers in sight. Developers have recruited people in anticipation of projects and are waiting for work. “Most of the project developers were banking on Rajasthan to build their project pipeline,” notes Mr Namboodri.

While the circular of Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corporation cited no reason for the postponement, the industry watchers say that the delay may have something to do with the State’s ability to pay for the power.

“Solar power developers will keep a sharp watch on the states’ ability to pay,” says Mr Vineeth Vijayaraghavan, Founder-Editor of Panchabuta, an online industry newsletter.