• The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) has invited bids from solar power developers to set up two projects of 50 MW capacity each
  • Projects to come up under NSM Phase-II, Batch-II, Tranche-I, as reverse auction
  • Last date for the submission of bids is July 28, 2016, while forms will be available until July 7, 2016

The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), the national utility of India, has invited bids for the selection of solar power developers to set up two projects of 50 MW capacity each. These are supposed to be under the domestic content requirement (DCR) category. This means the developers will have to procure production equipment locally.

Recently, the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) has also invited bids for 50 MW capacity under the DCR category to be developed in Maharashtra (see Tender For Local Content Projects In Maharashtra).

Deadlines and tender documents

The two grid connected solar power projects will come up in the 2 GW Pavagada Solar Park of Karnataka, under National Solar Mission Phase-II, Batch-II, Tranche-I. INTPC has issued a request for selection (RfS) of documents for the projects. The documents can be downloaded until July 7, 2016, and the last date for the submission of the bids is set at July 28, 2016. The bids will be for reverse auction, under which NTPC will buy all the power produced from the developers and sell it to distribution companies.

Details about the project can be seen here.

The NTPC has to procure 15,000 MW of solar power through solar project developers for the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). Along with this, it has its own plans to set up 10,000 MW of solar power capacity. India’s largest utility is currently in the process of revising its business plan until 2032. It is planning to add more renewables in its portfolio, majorly solar and wind.

In an interview with local business daily, The Economic Times (ET), on June 17, 2016, NTPC Chairman and Managing Director Gurdeep Singh, said that NTPC will be looking at adding around 2,000 to 2,500 MW of renewable power every year to its kitty, and an equal amount of conventional power. He did accept though that the biggest challenge facing renewable energy in India today is grid integration and storing this power.

NTPC projects attract international developers

According to analysis by Bridge to India, a clean energy consultancy, a total of 58% of NTPC projects have been bagged by international developers. The above mentioned tender is for the DCR category, which has been traditionally not exciting many developers, who usually prefer to source low-cost and high-quality modules from abroad. At the beginning of the current fiscal year, the Government of India announced that the country’s solar manufacturing capacity for modules was 5,620 MW, and for cells it was only 1,212 MW (see India PV Manufacturing Capacity). Compared to the huge target of 100 GW that the country is pursuing for 2022, this production capacity is not enough.

At the same time, India is at loggerheads with the US regarding the DCR mandate, as the latter thinks India is unduly favouring local solar manufacturers (see India-US Solar Trade Dispute). India is reportedly said to offer a subsidy of up to 10 million INR per MW ($1.4 million) to solar developers who have sourced components from local manufacturers.