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Andhra Pradesh Genco out of solar power race in state

According to reports, the state-owned APGenco pulled out of the race for solar power generation after the state government fixed the unit price between Rs 6.50 and 7.50, the lowest in the country. After finding it unviable to set up solar power plants to sell at the rate fixed by the state government, APGenco decided to pull out of the race.

On Friday, when APTransco, the nodal agency for new solar power plants, called for a pre-bid meeting at Vidhyut Soudha, no official from APGenco, fourth largest power generator in the country, turned up. “Though we are running solar plant at Jurala and have all the expertise to bid for the solar projects, we decided not to participate in the bid process. We have many other projects on hand including Krishnapatnam and Jurala Hydro and mobilizing funds to the tune of Rs 8000 crore for solar projects would make us over-burdened,” K Vijayanand, managing director of APGenco told TOI. But the inside story appears to be different. When the state government finalised the purchase price between Rs 6.50 and 7.50 per unit, Genco officials worked out the financials and concluded that the rate prescribed was not very attractive and would only harm its business interests. The APGenco board which met recently opined that it would be able to jump into the race only at a later stage when the prices are increased.

Hundreds of entrepreneurs who are willing to set up solar power plants across the state grilled APTransco officials over lack of transparency in the solar power policy from the state government. Questions poured in starting from subsidies and tax benefits available for the solar power plants to the government guarantee for 25 years for the purchase of power.

More than 250 entrepreneurs from different parts of the country attended the pre-bid meeting chaired by APTransco chairman, managing director Hiralal Samariya who answered many of the questions posed by the entrepreneurs. One entrepreneur wanted to know why was the processing fee fixed at an ‘exorbitant’ Rs 2 lakh when states like Rajasthan collected only Rs 10,000 for the same. Samariya explained that this condition was laid down to keep away non-serious bidders.

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