• The overall tendered PV capacity in India during 2017 came in at more than 9.5 GW; at least 2.6 GW was canceled, but final auctioned capacity was 6 GW, according to Mercom India Research
  • Q2/2017 was the highest performing quarter in terms of tender activity, amounting to around 4 GW
  • The month of December 2017 alone recorded tenders of over 3 GW

2017 saw over 9.5 GW of solar power capacity tendered by government agencies in India. However, there were also cancellations, amounting to 2.6 GW during the year. Total auctioned capacity during the year was 6 GW, according to Mercom India Research.

Most of the year was marred by uncertainty in the market, particularly considering anti-dumping investigations, higher Chinese module prices, GST prices, power purchase agreement (PPA) renegotiations and a call for safeguard duties (see 70% Safeguard Duty Detrimental For 3 To 4.5 GW PV). Developers were wary in light of these developments, Mercom reports.  

If the proposal to apply 70% safeguard duty on imported modules gets clearance by the government, solar projects will see a rise in total cost by 30% to 40%,” IHS Markit’s Solar Energy Analyst Dharmendra Kumar told TaiyangNews. “Because of all these uncertainties in the market, Tier 1 Chinese suppliers have stopped taking fresh orders from Indian developers at the moment,” Kumar added.  

According to Mercom, January started with close to 1 GW of capacity being tendered and 500 MW of solar auctions. There were some major cancellations in the month pulling down the actual capacity tendered to around 200 MW. Over all, the first quarter saw 700 MW of tenders and 1.3 GW of auctions.

Based on Mercom’s India Solar Tender Tracker, Q2 recorded about 4 GW of tenders and approximately 2.5 GW of auctions. The next quarter experienced a slow down, with only 1.7 GW tendered and 1.2 GW auctioned.

In May 2017, Solar Energy Corporation of India Ltd. (SECI) announced the lowest winning solar power tariff of 2.44 INR ($0.037) per kWh for Bhadla Phase III Solar Park (see ACME Wins 200 MW At 2.44 INR Record). After the Bhadla auction, government agencies and distribution companies wanted to renegotiate PPA prices with independent power producers (IPPs) to cash in on the falling solar tariffs. This severely restrained tender activity in the following months.

After a major lull, tendering activity picked up pace when the government announced its intent to go in for big tender capacity (see India 20 GW Tender Roll Out Start In December). This was followed by a big push, with more than 3 GW tendered in December 2017.

Compared to the tendering spree, auctioned capacity moved at a snail’s pace during the year. Only the month of June saw more than 1 GW auctioned.

As announced by RK Singh, the heads of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), SECI stuck to the orders and even tendered more than 3 GW of capacity in January 2018 (see SECI launches 2 GW PV Tender). To date, it is nowhere close to the 5 GW goal that the Indian government wants to tender in February 2018.