MNRE amends guidelines for selecting solar park developers

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has amended the guidelines for selection of solar park developers (SPDs) through tariff-based competitive bidding process. The new guidelines are expected to bring greater transparency in the SPDs selections. As per the amendment, MNRE has removed a clause under which the government of the state in which the solar park was being developed, was mandated to purchase a minimum of 20 per cent of power produced in the park through its discoms.

In addition, in the previous regulation, an SPD could be selected under one of three modes, Mode 1, 2 or 3. However, now, the MNRE has also provided for Mode 4, 5, and 6. Under Mode 4A, if land is made available by state government or any government agency, the SPD will be selected on the basis of project development and operation and maintenance (O&M) charges. The SPD can then lease or sell the land to any solar power plant developer. Under Mode 4B, if land is provided by SPD, then the selection will be based on the price quoted for land per MW as well as O&M charges. For both Mode 4A and 4B, a central financial assistance (CFA) of Rs 1.2 million/MW will be provided to SPD, once letters of award (LoAs) for solar projects in the park are issued. If the SPD cannot complete the development of the solar park within 18 months, the approval will be cancelled, and the grid-connectivity will be awarded to another SPD.

Mode 5 (A, B and C) are valid for any central public-sector undertakings (CPSUs) like Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), NTPC Limited, etc, who wish to develop solar parks. The Mode 6 has been provided for private entrepreneurs interested in developing solar parks without any CFA. Interested parties will have to submit project proposals along with detailed project report (DPR) and documents proving 100 per cent ownership of the land.

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