The deadline for developers to complete their allocations and encash bank guarantees under a 500MW residential and non-profit rooftops solar tender in India has been extended from 31 March to 30 June this year.
One rooftop developer, which had bagged a small amount of capacity under the tender, sent a letter to the procurer, Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), requesting a deadline extension up to 31 October this year, given that it had only managed to complete a third of its allocation at the time of writing.
The tender was finalised in October 2016.
The developer claimed various force Majeure instances including the Demonetisation incident last year and the imposition of the GST tax. It also claimed that there was a shortage of staff at SECI required for site inspections and internal processes.
In a response seen by PV Tech, SECI refuted these claims as “false and baseless”, however, it also granted the deadline extension – albeit only to 30 June – without imposing any penalties. Central Financial Assistance (CFA) will also be available at a 30% or 70% rate of either the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy’s (MNRE) benchmark price or the lowest tariffs in the tender, whichever is lowest.
PV Tech understands that only 25-30% of the allocated capacities in the tender overall have been installed so far and that multiple developers had written similar letters to SECI.
Nonetheless, one such developer, Gensol, has completed its allotted projects and has set its sights on doubling its allocated capacity.
Ali Imran Naqvi, head of operations, Gensol, told PV Tech that SECI's rooftop allocations had the potential to catapult the central government's 40GW rooftop target for 2020 to a correct trajectory, but some structural changes unveiled by the government had stymied the pace of installations. Furthermore, while project execution did gain some traction during the second half of 2016, there remains much to be done.
Naqvi added: “It is certainly a good step by SECI to relax the deadline till June 2018, but the situation merits serious consideration and some more time would inspire confidence in the developers.”