SECI issues a 1.2 GW wind-solar hybrid tender

The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) has issued a tender for setting up 1,200 MW of grid-connected wind-solar hybrid power projects in the country under tranche III of the interstate transmission (ISTS) programme. A ceiling tariff of Rs 2.88 per kWh has been set for this tender. As per the tender, the minimum project size of a single hybrid power project must be 50 MW and the maximum limit is 300 MW. The minimum capacity utilisation factor should be 30 per cent. The projects are to be set up on a build-own-operate (BOO) basis and the last date for the submission of bids is February 25, 2020.

Wind-solar hybrid projects have been talked about a lot during 2019 due to the potential benefits they offer over stand-alone solar or wind plants. While only one commercial wind-solar hybrid project of 82.4 MW capacity has been commissioned so far, experts believe that this segment holds the solution to the problem of renewable energy intermittency. The industry estimates the wind-solar hybrid potential to be around 13,902 GW. Of this, the top six states account for 11,791 GW or around 85 per cent of the total potential. These states are Rajasthan, Gujarat, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra.

Given the benefits and the potential of these projects, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has been actively promoting hybrids since 2018. The policy for wind-solar hybrids was released in May 2018. Storage solutions were included in the policy in August 2018. Since then, states such as Andhra Pradesh have issued independent wind-solar hybrid policies in order to encourage energy generation from these projects. Basis these policies, a number of tenders have been floated by nodal agencies such as the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) as well as various PSUs. As of September 2019, the total wind-solar hybrid project pipeline in India stands at 3,197.4 MW. These projects are at various stages of development. While 1,560 MW or 49 per cent of the total capacity has been tendered, 1,514 MW of new tenders have been announced and are at different stages of bidding.