Rajasthan solar auction draws electricity price of just 3.5 US cents

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From pv magazine India.

Rajasthan has almost done it again, with a 750 MW solar auction in the state attracting a bid that came within a whisker of equaling India’s historic low price of INR2.44/kWh ($0.035). After that record low was set in Gujarat in 2017, it was replicated in Rajasthan last year.

The Rajasthan tender held by the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) attracted a lowest bid of Rs2.48/kWh from Acme Solar, the developer which equaled the existing price record set at the Bhadla Solar Park in May 2017. In doing so, Acme secured a 250 MW slice of the latest procurement. Re-New Solar Power won 110 MW of the available capacity with a bid of Rs2.49/kWh. The other successful bidders were Fortum – which secured 250 MW of capacity – Palimarwar (40 MW), and Sitara (100 MW).

Industry sources have pegged the total expenditure for the 750 MW of capacity available at Rs3,000 crore.

The latest SECI tender – for projects anywhere in the state – was hugely oversubscribed, with technical bids from 13 companies for 1,620 MW of capacity received.

A solar superstate

Rajasthan has an installed solar capacity of approximately 3 GW and a development pipeline of around 1.5 GW. Ranked third among India’s states for cumulative installed solar capacity, Rajasthan accounts for roughly 11% of the country’s PV. The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy has estimated the state has the potential to host 142 GW of solar capacity, the highest level in India.

“The low tariff offered by solar developers reflects their faith in the state’s potential for solar power generation,” said Sunil Bansal, general secretary of the Rajasthan Solar Association. “The faith, of course, stems from the fact that with the highest irradiation in the country, Rajasthan is the ideal place for setting up solar projects. Add to [that] the advantages of easy availability of wasteland and solar-friendly policies and incentives by the government.”

Rajasthan draws 10% of its power from solar generation and wants the figure to rise to 17% by 2021.