Solar bids in India’s Rajasthan near record low as 16 developers go below five rupees

Mahindra Susten and Shapporji Pallonji's latest solar bids are one rupee off the previous India record low of INR 4.34/kWh. Flickr: Christian Haugen

The latest Indian solar auction has seen wining tariffs return to extreme lows at INR 4.35/kWh (US$0.065) for 130MW of PV in the Indian state of Rajasthan.

The auction, held by the largest Indian utility NTPC, was for capacity outside solar parks and the three successful players were all Indian firms.

Developer Bid (INR/kWh) Capacity (MW)
Shapoorji Pallonji 4.35 50
Mahindra Susten 4.35 60
Adani 4.36 20

However, a total of 16 developers were all willing to put in bids below five rupees per unit. Tariffs below five rupees have divided industry commentators over the last six months as they speculated over just how bankable and viable such projects are. Nevertheless, the lowest ever solar bid in India from Finland’s Fortum Finnsurya Energy at a price of INR4.34/kWh was also in Rajasthan, although this was in a solar park.

Jasmeet Khurana, associate director, consulting, Bridge to India, told PV Tech: “This was an NTPC [auction] so it was expected that it would be aggressive.”

NTPC is seen as by far the most reliable Indian off-taker in a country where Distribution Companies (Discoms) are waylaid with debt. However, Khurana said the latest bids were still slightly lower than expected.

Recent India bids for Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) tenders have seen slightly higher tariffs due to SECI being seen as a less reliable off-taker than NTPC.

Referring to the new capacity being outside solar parks, Khurana said that there is a difference in terms of risk perception; meanwhile, in terms of cost, a solar park in Rajasthan might even be a little more expensive.

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