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SunEdison Wins 500 MW Solar PV Bid In India At Record-Breaking Tariff

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US-based renewable energy project developer SunEdison has set a new Indian record for lowest tariff bid for solar photovoltaic power plant.

The lowest bid for solar PV project in India is now belongs to SunEdison. The company participated in a 500 MW auction under the revamped National Solar Mission. While a number of companies participated in the auction, SunEdison secured the entire 500 MW capacity. The company placed a bid of Rs 4.63/kWh (US¢7.12/kWh).

For the first time in India, a company secured a winning bid of lower than Rs 5.00/kWh (US¢7.7/kWh). In fact, as many as 10 companies quoted a bid below Rs 5.00/kWh while a total of 15 companies placed bids below Rs 5.50/kWh (US¢8.5/kWh).

The 500 MW auction was oversubscribed 10.5 times. A total of 30 prospective project developers submitted bids for a total of 5.5 GW capacity. Some of the foreign developers were among the first-time participants in an India solar power auction. These included companies like Trina Solar and SBG Cleantech (a joint venture company between SoftBank, Foxconn, and Bharti Enterprises).

Other major participants included SkyPower, ACME Solar, Aditya Birla, Essel Energy, Tata Power, Azure Power, Welspun Energy, Hero Future Energies, ReNew Power, and Suzlon Energy.

SunEdison beat the lowest bid record of SkyPower which secured a 50 MW project under Madhya Pradesh solar power policy earlier this year. A subsidiary of SkyPower won the 50 MW project at Rs 5.05/kWh (US¢7.7/kWh). The lowest winning bid before that was by First Solar at Rs 5.25/kWh (8.27¢/kWh) for a 40 MW project in Andhra Pradesh. 

The bid by SunEdison is at 34% discount to the tariff determined by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission for the current financial year. While SunEdison would be paid Rs 4.63/kWh (US¢7.12/kWh), the utilities would be buying this solar power bundled with power from coal-based power plants. The utilities would thus pay just Rs 3.50/kWh (US¢5.38/kWh).

The Indian government expects that tariff bids would fall further over the coming months. By the end of March 2015, around 4.8 GW solar power capacity is expected to be auctioned. A total of 6,781 MW solar power capacity has been allocated through competitive auctions for feed-in tariffs in India between December 2010 and September 2015. During the auctions, the bids have fallen by over 50%.

Earlier this year, SunEdison had pledged to install 10 GW of solar power capacity in India over the next 5 years.

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Shivananda Pukhrem Photo

Shivananda Pukhrem

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