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Confusion in Solar Industry continues after document submission deadline, NVVN to announce results of scrutiny in a couple of days

According to latest reports, most of the companies that have been awarded solar power projects under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission have submitted documents by the deadline – July 24, two officials connected with the Mission have confirmed.

Both Mr Anil Agarwal, Chief Executive Officer, NTPC Vidyut Vypar Nigam Ltd (which is the body incharge of this part of the Mission), and Mr Tarun Kapoor, Joint Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), told Business Line that NVVN is right now scrutinising the documents. The result of this exercise would be known in “a day or two”.

Just the fact that the companies have submitted documents does not mean that all the projects are through, noted Mr Kapoor.

That, precisely, appears to be the nub of the issue. Sources said that out of the 29 solar photovoltaic and 7 solar thermal, 27 and 6 respectively have submitted documents – but it is not clear what the documents are.

This is a rather precise observation, and something that has been the cause of confusion as Panchabuta had mentioned earlier this week.

In May this year, an official from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy had said that, India will cancel licenses for solar projects awarded to companies under its first auction if they don’t obtain loans to build their plants by July 9.

“That’s it. They’ll be over,” Deepak Gupta, secretary at the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, said in an interview in New Delhi to Bloomberg when asked what would happen to projects that don’t meet the deadline. Rather than fining companies for delays, their project licenses will be revoked, he said.

Companies awarded permits in India’s first national  auction of rights to build solar power plants have until July 24 to submit documentation to prove they’ve arranged funding, an official said on July11.

The companies must show they secured funding on or before July 9, said Anil Kumar Agrawal, chief executive officer of NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd., or NVVN, the state-run power trader that’s overseeing the solar program.

“Those deadlines are sacrosanct,” Agrawal said by telephone from New Delhi. “There will not be any extension.”

According to report in Bloomberg last week, India’s government denied a report in the country’s Economic Times that it would ease funding rules for companies who won licenses to set up solar power projects.

 PV magazine carried a story  on July 12 that said, the projects which didn’t achieve financial closure will be cancelled.

Furthermore the report added, that the funding deadline for the first batch of solar projects under the Indian solar mission had now passed. While the final project numbers have not been released, it appears that roughly half failed to secure funds, the report adds.

According to the MNRE, approximately half the projects failed to achieve financial closure by the given deadline. One senior MNRE official said that just 17 photovoltaic projects and two concentrated solar power (CSP) projects provided financial closure details. This is out of 30 photovoltaic projects, worth 150 megawatts, and seven CSP projects, worth 470 megawatts that were approved in the batch.

While all the officials have been consistently maintaining that the deadline is sacrosanct , there has not been any clarification of explanation of the kind of documents that have to be submitted.

Anil Agarwal has been quoted saying that companies must show they secured funding which is not technically the same as companies having to show that they achieved financial closure.

This numerous sources point out has allowed the developers to use a loop hole  and hence the disconnect  that is causing the difference in the number of projects that “have submitted documents” that is “being scrutinised” by NVVN and the MNRE official quoted by the PV Magazine that said roughly half the projects have not achieved financial closure.

Panchabuta hopes the process adopted by NVVN for scrutiny of the documents is rigours, error free and unambiguous given that they are handling one of the most prestigious and ambitious programs of recent times-the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, the pride of India and one of the key drivers of a low-carbon future.

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