India: 6.5 GW of solar to be auctioned in next 3 months, record tariffs expected

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Following the unveiling of its ambitious 100 GW 2020 solar plans, the Indian Government is "walking the talk," stated consultancy, Bridge to India. Overall, auction processes for more than 10 GW of solar have already been completed, with another 6.5 GW set to go up for auction in the next three months.

"This frenetic pace of activity is a big step-up in contrast to historic solar capacity addition of approximately 1 GW per annum over last three years," it said, adding that despite the pipeline, prices are continuing to come down "sharply," with developers, including ReNew, Reliance and Azure Power, considering tariffs below INR 5/kWh (around US$0.075).

Although criticism has been aimed at such low tariffs in the past, by both Bridge to India and consultancy, Mercom Capital, the former believes in this instance, they are not a problem due to lower solar park charges in these states, and a relatively positive risk profile for international developers – "no land acquisition or transmission connectivity risk combined with possibly the best India off-take risk in the form of NTPC," it explains.

In the next two months, the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) is set to hold two auctions in Rajasthan and Karnataka, totaling 420 MW and 600 MW, respectively. Here, Bridge to India expects "strong" competition, with tariffs potentially under INR 4.63/kWh (around US$0.0698).

In August, Madhya Pradesh began selling PV power at India’s lowest rate – INR 5.051/kWh ($0.08/kWh), besting the previous lowest price set in Telangana by SkyPower, which secured a winning bid of INR 5.17/kWh ($0.08/kWh).

Last week, the NTCP completed three solar auctions in Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan. The table below provides more detail:

State

Project details

Winner

Tariff

Andhra Pradesh

350 MW in government solar park at Gani-Sakunala

SoftBank Group

INR 4.63/kWh

Andhra Pradesh

100 MW in government solar park at Gani-Sakunala

Azure Power

INR 5.12/kWh

Andhra Pradesh

50 MW in government solar park at Gani-Sakunala

Adani Group

INR 5.13/kWh

Rajasthan

130 MW

Vikram Solar

INR 56.28 million/MW

Rajasthan

65 MW

Jakson

INR 56.34 million/MW

Rajasthan

65 MW

Tata Power

INR 56.40 million/MW