SECI launches tender for 1.2GW of ISTS-connected solar capacity in India

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The latest tender follows India’s commissioning of 6.2GW of new solar capacity in March this year. Image: Thomas Lloyd Group.

The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) has launched a request for proposals for 1.2GW of new solar PV capacity in the country.

Launched last week, the tender is open for companies to make bids until 17 June, with bids to open on 21 June. Companies are eligible to make one bid each, for a project of capacity between 50MW and 600MW, and will need to cover the cost of project construction, and make offers for off-take tariffs, as part of the bid.

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Successful bids will see the companies sign 25-year power purchase agreements (PPAs) with SECI to sell power generated at the projects, for a sum determined by the project’s proposed tariffs.

The tender is almost identical in shape to a 2GW tender launched by SECI last April, as the Indian government looks to encourage the installation of more solar power within the country. However, the latest tender includes the stipulation that new projects will be connected to the country’s interstate transmission system (ISTS), and should be designed in accordance with regulations and requirements for such connections.

In 2022, the transmission capacity of India’s ISTS was around 112.3GW, and the government plans to expand this capacity to around 150GW by the end of the decade, at a cost of around INR2,442 billion (US$29.2 billion). India’s plans to expand its grid infrastructure are notable, as availability of grid connection is an emerging challenge for many regions’ renewable energy sectors; Europe alone is expected to lack around 205GW of grid capacity for solar by 2030.

As a result, India is looking to expand both its new solar capacity, and the ability of its grid infrastructure to use all of this new capacity. Last year, the country’s Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) waived charges for new solar and wind projects to be connected to the ISTS until October 2023, as part of a plan to encourage more projects to connect to the grid.

 A report from Rystad Energy found that, in March this year, India added 6.2GW of new solar capacity, a massive figure that almost equalled the 7.5GW of new capacity installed in the entirety of 2023, demonstrating India’s commitment to rapidly expanding it solar sector.

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