New SolarPower Europe guidelines on tendering place emphasis on high-realization rates

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SolarPower Europe has devised new guidelines designed to deliver best practice for the forthcoming solar tender process set to be introduced across the European Union (EU) at the beginning of next year.

The chief aim of the guidelines is to ensure high-realization rates of solar projects tendered, eschewing the appetite in other regions to shoot solely for the lowest price possible. Other key objectives include easy implementation of winning bids, and an emphasis on ensuring policy objectives are reached in the most cost-effective manner possible.

The EU State Aid regime for environmental protection and energy will require EU Member States to issue tenders for the procurement of new solar PV plants larger than 1 MW from January 1 2017. Prior to that date the European Commission is expected to present a revised Renewable Energy Directive, which presents new challenges and opportunities for the completion of tendered solar projects across the continent.

"We believe that particular attention should be given to ensuring high-realization rates of solar projects," said tendering task force leader Jochen Hauff, who is also head of business development, energy industry & policy at Germany’s BayWa-r.e. "Getting low prices as an outcome of an auction is only one criteria to consider a tender successful. Pre-qualification criteria and a systemic approach on penalties should also be part of the standard practice."

Also outlined in the SolarPower Europe guidelines is the potential for convergence of tenders across national borders, to which policy director at SolarPower Europe Alexandre Roesch said: "We consider that a progressive convergence of the design parameters of national tenders should take place first before we think about opening tenders cross-border."

Other checkpoints covered in the guidelines include the integration of minimum design features for each phase of the tender: before, during and after bids are submitted.