India’s SECI to issue 1 GW rooftop solar tender

The long-awaited rooftop solar PV boom in India appears to be gathering pace following the confirmation by the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) that it is to follow up last month’s 500 MW rooftop solar tender with an additional 1 GW tender in December.

pv magazine understands that the SECI will tomorrow publish the full details of the tender, which will apply only to government buildings nationwide. SECI general manager Sanjay Sharma told pv magazine that all suitable government buildings for solar PV installations have already been identified, and his government agency is currently in the process of assessing exactly how much capacity can be installed before quoting the reserve price.

Bloomberg also reports that the tender will entail target-based incentives designed to encourage developers to meet completion timelines. Hence, payments will be released in regular instalments rather than in one upfront lump sum.

Last month’s 500 MW rooftop tender issued by SECI was directed at the residential sector as well as various schools, colleges and universities. A total of 122 developers were awarded 432.7 MW of capacity, with the lowest subsidized price found in the state of Himachal Pradesh, where tariffs were just INR 3/kWh ($0.04/kWh).

As part of India’s 100 GW of solar by 2022 National Solar Mission, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has earmarked some 40 GW of that for rooftop solar. However, while India’s ground-mount sector is making great strides in its effort to fulfil its 60 GW portion of the target, cumulative rooftop PV capacity is currently only around the 1 GW mark, according to India’s leading solar analysts.

Data from Mercom Capital reveals that 755 MW of solar tenders was confirmed in India in November, of which just 5 MW was under the rooftop program (issued by Jharkhand Renewable Energy Development Agency for government buildings in the state), while 750 MW was for large-scale solar projects (issued by SECI for the Bhadla Solar Park in Rajasthan).

This total figure was lower than in October, when 834 MW of solar was tendered. However, November also saw 155.5 MW of solar auctioned, while October had no auctions for the month.