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Gujarat Solar developers pitch hard for extension of six months

According to reports,over 30 companies had filed petitions with GERC seeking extension of control period.Solar power developers, who have committed their projects in Gujarat and have inked PPAs for the same, have demanded six months extension in the deadline set by the state government for commissioning of their solar power projects in the state.

Recently, Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission (GERC) heard the petitions filed by a slew of solar power companies. During the hearing, the project developers raised various issues pertaining to the cost of land acquisition and the basic infrastructure facilities. Over 30 companies had filed petitions with regard to the extension of control period of Solar Tariff order No. 2 dated January 29, 2010 by the GERC. While most of the companies raised their points to the regulator, many other companies are yet to voice their concerns. Further hearing on the matter will take place on January 7, 2012.

“They (solar developers) want six months extension in the control period. They raised several issues of land acquisition including increased jantri rates, which made land acquisition costly. The hearing will continue on January 7 as some more companies are still to make their points,” said PK Mishra, chairman, GERC.

Senior Supreme Court lawyer MG Ramchandran, who represented government of Gujarat and state power distribution agency, Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Limited (GUVNL) declined to allow any extension in the control period to the solar developers.

“There were infrastructure related limitations and also the land prices witnessed sharp increase since we signed the PPAs with the government as the jantri rates revised upwards. This makes it difficult to commission a solar project, for which land cost holds significant share in the total cost of project,” contended an official from a leading company in renewable energy space.

The developers of about 450 megawatts of solar power generation capacities have demanded an extension of the current tariff regime and the commissioning deadline. “The solar power developers were given a deadline of December 31, 2011, however, with some representations, the deadline was extended till January 28, 2012. But there is a need to extend the deadline by about six months,” said a senior official of a solar developers, who has filed a petition.

“Even if solar developers commission power projects, they may have to wait for their power to be evacuated through transmission lines, as the state transmission agency, Gujarat Energy Transmission Corporation Limited (GETCO) lacks in providing evacuation,” informed an official of a solar developer.

The state power regulator has proposed new tariff structure for those solar power producers, who will commission their plants in the state during the period from January 29, 2012 to March 31, 2015.

The new structure excludes solar power projects, for which PPAs have already been signed. Meanwhile, with recent outcome of reverse bidding for Batch II for first phase of Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) the industry anticipates the solar power tariffs to come down as the project cost seems to be getting cheaper.

Some of the developers, who have moved the petition, include players like Tata Power Renewable Energy Ltd, GMR Gujarat Solar Power Pvt. Ltd, Kemrock Industries and Exports Ltd and Claris LifeSciences Limited. The industry association, Solar Energy Association of Gujarat is also one of the petitioners.

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