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Ministry of Renewable Energy gets tough on solar project developers

According to reports, solar projects that feed power into the grid and are available to their full capacity will be considered as commissioned under the National Mission. This has been stated by the Ministry for New and Renewable Energy.

With the Solar Mission coming into public glare because of allegations that the Lanco group circumvented norms to bag projects, the Ministry is now treading more cautiously.

Mr Tarun Kapoor, Joint Secretary in-charge of National Solar Mission in the Ministry for New and Renewable Energy, said that though solar power is flowing into the grid now, this step has been taken to officially declare the projects commissioned and create greater transparency.

NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam (NVVN) is now reviewing all the 20 solar photovoltaic projects in Rajasthan under the first batch of phase I of the mission with capacity of about 100 MW. Till January, 85 MW (75 MW in Rajasthan and 10 MW in Andhra Pradesh) have been commissioned, an official source said, adding that the review will be fully completed in next 10 days.

Asked how the projects till now were considered as commissioned, the official said that NVVN relied on the commissioning report of the States.

Recently, NVVN had encashed bank guarantees of 14 project developers for failing to meet the commissioning deadline under the first batch of phase I. The total amount encashed was about Rs 28 crore.

In fact, bank guarantees of three projects that were commissioned late by a day (January 10) from the deadline (January 9) were also encashed. These three projects were those in which Lanco is the engineering procurement and construction (EPC) contractor.

The trading arm of NTPC has been designated the nodal agency for sale and purchase of grid connected solar power under Phase-1 of the Mission. Under the first batch, 35 new projects were expected to generate 610 MW of solar power (140 MW of photovoltaic and 470 MW thermal) and grid connectivity was expected by January 2012. Generation from new photovoltaic projects were to commence from this January and thermal by May 2013.

At present, NVVN is procuring 48 MW of solar energy from the migrant photovoltaic projects – these are the projects that migrated to the national mission. The total photovoltaic capacity from the migrant projects is expected to 54 MW.

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