Two marathon competitive auctions for a cumulative solar power capacity of 750 megawatts yielded new all-time low solar tariff bids in India last week.

Indian and foreign developers competed fiercely in two auctions for solar power capacity offered at the Bhadla solar power park in the western state of Rajasthan. Both auctions beat the previous lowest tariff bid of Rs 3.15/kWh (4.9¢/kWh) discovered in a 250 megawatt auction held last month.

The Bhadla solar power park is divided into smaller solar power projects which are being developed by various companies, including India’s largest power generator NTPC Limited. The projects offered in the recent auctions are being developed by IL&FS (500 megawatts) and Adani Enterprises (250 megawatts). Auctions for these companies were carried out by government-owned Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI). Tenders for these two projects had received an overwhelming response.

The first auction, for 250 megawatts received at least 14 bids in the range of Rs 2.62/kWh (4.1¢/kWh) and Rs 3.59/kWh (5.6¢/kWh). South Africa’s Phelan Energy and India-based Avaada Energy secured 50 megawatts and 100 megawatts at Rs 2.62/kWh while SoftBank-backed SB Cleantech won rights to develop 100 megawatts at Rs 2.63/kWh.

These bids were 9.2% lower than the previous lowest solar power tariff in India discovered in the 250 megawatt auction for Kadapa solar power park. The entire capacity was secured by Solairedirect, a subsidiary of French utility Engie.

Within two days the record of Rs 2.62/kWh was shattered by two companies that secured a total of 500 megawatt capacity. Acme Cleantech Solutions secured 200 megawatts at Rs 2.44/kWh (3.8¢/kWh) while SB Cleantech won rights to develop 300 megawatts at Rs 2.45/kWh (3.8¢/kWh).

Acme Cleantech Solutions had also secured 250 megawatts in the Rewa solar power park auction at a levelised tariff of Rs 3.30/kWh (5.1¢/kWh) with the first year tariff of Rs 2.97/kWh (4.6¢/kWh). SB Cleantech, a joint venture of SoftBank, Foxconn and Bharti Enterprises had emerged as a formidable entity in the Indian solar power market in a span of months. The company recently commissioned one of the largest solar power projects in India.



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