• Competitive solar bids offered in NTPC’s 2 GW solar power auction range from 2.59 INR ($0.0372) to 3.10 INR ($0.0445) per kWh
  • L1, L2, L3 bids from ACME Solar, Shapoorji Pallonji and Azure Power quoted the same price of 2.59 INR ($0.0372) per kWh
  • SB Energy won 600 MW for 2.60 INR ($0.0373) per kWh though it had bid for the entire 2 GW on offer

ACME Solar continued its winning streak in Indian PV tenders. It won 600 MW capacity in the 2 GW National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) tender for 2.59 INR ($0.0372) per kWh. In fact, Shapoorji Pallonji and Azure Power too quoted the same tariff but win only 500 MW and 300 MW, respectively. SoftBank’s SB Energy quoted 2.60 INR ($0.0373) per kWh for the entire 2 GW on offer, but managed to win ‘only’ 600 MW.

NTPC launched this tender in March 2018. The Interstate Transmission System (ISTS) connected solar power capacity can be established anywhere in India (see NTPC Launches PV Tenders For 2.75 GW). After the 25% safeguard duty was imposed by the government, NTPC gave time to developers till August 13, 2018 to resubmit their bids after calculating additional costs due to the duty.

The result was a relief for participating developers especially at a time when other state and central agencies have been cancelling auctions complaining of high tariffs quoted (see GRIDCO Wary Of Signing PPAs For PV Auction).

This  2 GW tender was heavily oversubscribed, receiving 6.2 GW bids, according to Indian consultancy Mercom. Considering this was the first big auction after the safeguard duty was imposed, the bids have been quite competitive. “Bidding continues to be aggressive and this tariff will set a precedent going forward for other auctions coming up post safeguard duty imposition. However, this is a NTPC project that can be built in any high insolation location. Not to mention, there is at least 18 months to start procurement,” said Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group.

The Ministry of Finance has put its safeguard duty implementation on hold after the Orissa High Court stepped in and put a stay on the duty (see Court Pauses India’s Safeguard Duty). The Ministry of Finance says imported solar cells from China and Malaysia will be assessed provisionally with a simple letter of undertaking or bond, according to local media reports.