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In one of the largest tranches of Indian clean energy contracts on offer, developers are eyeing projects of at least 9 gigawatts (GW) that will be bid out over the next three weeks, said two people aware of the development.

These contracts that require an investment of over $4 billion are being offered after a long lull, and are for setting up solar, hybrid and wind energy projects. They are being tendered by state-run Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL) and Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Ltd. (RUMSL)—a joint venture between SECI and Madhya Pradesh UrjaVikas Nigam Ltd.

This capacity had bunched up due to the coronavirus pandemic. While 6.68GW capacity is being auctioned by SECI, MSEDCL and RUMSL are bidding out contracts for 1GW and 1.5GW, respectively.

“While 6.68GW is being tendered by SECI, 1.5GW is being tendered by RUMSL at its solar parks at Agar, Shajapur and Neemuch. MSEDCL is offering a 1 GW capacity," said one of the two people cited above requesting anonymity.

“Among the first off the block is RUMSL and MSEDCL’s solar contracts for 550MW (megawatts) and 500MW respectively that is scheduled for 14 June (Monday). There is also a 2,500MW contract from SECI for round the clock (RTC) power combining thermal and renewable energy sources," said the second person cited above who also did not want to be named.

While India’s wind power tariffs recorded an all-time low of 2.4 per unit in December 2017, India’s solar tariffs hit an all-time low of 1.99 per unit in December last year. Since then, India has decided to impose a 40% basic customs duty on solar modules and 25% on solar cells from 1 April 2022, a move that would make imports costlier and encourage local manufacturing.

Also, the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) has issued an order enforcing a list of approved solar photo voltaic (PV) models and module manufacturers for government-supported schemes, including projects from where distribution companies procure electricity for supply to their consumers.

“A lot of the tenders had bunched up due to the coronavirus pandemic. This is the largest capacity that is being tendered in recent times and there is a lot of developers’ interest in bidding for them," said the first person cited above.

Queries emailed to a SECI spokesperson on late Friday evening remained unanswered till press time. MSEDCL and RUMSL could not be immediately contacted.

In addition, state-run Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd has extended the bid submission deadline for setting up 12GW of solar power projects till 15 June, after the Union government extended the deadline for completion of green energy projects, due to difficulties arising from the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

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