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JNNSM Phase II: Solar developers show preference for imported equipment

According to reports, the latest round of bidding for solar projects under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) has attracted an overwhelming response from solar project developers — bids were received from 68 companies for 122 projects for a total of 2,170 MW, against the allocation target of 750 MW.

The US-headquartered Azure Power (200 MW), Welspun (160 MW), IL&FS (150 MW) and Essel Infra (100 MW) are among the major bidders.

Under the ‘JNNSM Phase II’, rolled out for bidding by the Government-owned Solar Energy Corporation of India, project developers bid for a capital grant from the Government, or ‘viability gap funding’. Winning bidders will be those who ask for the least amount of funding for selling their power at a fixed tariff of Rs 5.45 per kWhr to the Corporation.

The Phase II process also split the 750 MW on offer equally into those projects for which the developers would need to use locally made equipment, and those that had no such restriction. Accordingly, 375 MW were on ‘domestic content requirement (DCR)’ route, and the other 375 MW under ‘open’ category.

Bidders showed a marked preference for the ‘open’ category. As many as 86 projects worth 1,470 MW were bid for under the ‘open’ category, where the requirement for ‘viability gap funding’ is expected to be very low. Under the DCR category, bids were submitted for 36 projects for a total of 700 MW. Of the 68 companies, 13 have submitted bids under both categories.

How much VGF each bidder has asked for will be known on February 20, when the Corporation opens the financial bids.

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