A maintenance worker cleans solar panels at a power station in New Delhi, India. (Photographer: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Bloomberg)

Government Again Extends Deadline To Submit Bids For Biggest Solar Tender

The government again extended the deadline to submit bids on its tender aimed at boosting local manufacturing of solar modules.

The last date for submission of bids has been extended to April 22 from April 4, the second time the date has been moved, according to the website of Solar Energy Corporation of India Ltd.

That’s despite India lowering the size of the manufacturing-linked solar tender—the largest auction for solar power generation—to less than a third after it received only a single bid. SECI issued a new tender to develop solar farms with 3-gigawatt photovoltaic capacity instead of originally planned 10 GW.

A SECI official declined to comment on the reason for the extension of deadline.

While the deadline is extended, the bid structure remains the same, according to Kameswara Rao, partner (energy, utilities and mining) at PwC. “Bidders find it hard to commit to a capital-intensive integrated manufacturing plant when only a small proportion has guaranteed offtake, especially when the current product prices still favour imported panels,” Rao told BloombergQuint over the phone.

This move comes as a setback to India’s aim of promoting locally-manufactured solar panels as Asia’s third-largest economy aims to lower its reliance on fossil fuels to curb emissions. India plans to more than quadruple its solar capacity to 100 gigawatts by 2022. That’s part of its 175-GW renewable energy target by then to help lower fossil fuel imports and meet emission caps under the Paris agreement. Last year, the nation had imposed a safeguard duty on solar panels imported from China and Malaysia. Also, On April 1 this year, India imposed an anti-dumping duty on import of Ethylene Vinyl Acetate sheets for solar modules from China, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and Thailand for five years.