Results are in for the first solar power auction in the east Indian state of Jharkhand. The solar power tariffs quoted by the project developers are slightly higher than what have been seen in the recent auctions but it does give some breathing space to developers who are concerned about the financial viability of their projects.

The government of Jharkhand had floated a tender for 1.2 GW of solar PV projects; the results were announced earlier this month. Tariff bids placed by successful project developers range between Rs 5.08/kWh (US¢7.5/kWh) and Rs 7.95/kWh (US¢12.0/kWh). These are significantly higher than the lowest bid by Fortum Group placed for a project in Rajasthan earlier this year. The 70 MW project was secured by Fortum at Rs 4.34/kWh (US¢6.4/kWh).

The 1.2 GW tender was offered in two categories – 200 MW for projects up to 25 MW capacity and 1 GW for 26 MW to 50 MW capacity.

Market observers note that since this was the first tender from the state of Jharkhand this premium in the tariff bids is justified. Tariffs in Rajasthan, and some southern states, have traditionally been lower due to low cost of land and easier access to transmission network.

While ambiguity over the total capacity allocated to project developers remains, lists of project developers that participated and secured projects are available with some publications. According to reports, ReNew Solar Power was the largest winner and secured 522 MW capacity across the two categories in a tariff range of Rs 5.08/kWh (US¢7.5/kWh) and Rs 5.55/kWh (US¢8.2/kWh). Adani Green Energy secured 10 projects of 50 MW capacity each in a tariff range of Rs 5.45/kWh (US¢8.0/kWh)and Rs 6.05/kWh (US¢8.9/kWh).

Suzlon Energy, a well-known name in the wind energy market and having recently entered the solar power market, secured rights develop 325 MW through 8 projects. Essel Green Energy secured 300 MW capacity projects; ACME Solar Holdings 225 MW capacity; SunEdison 200 MW capacity; and Hero Solar Energy 175 MW.

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