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New Delhi: State-run Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd. (IREDA) has extended the bid submission deadline for setting up 12-gigawatt (GW) of solar power projects t 15 June.

This comes in the backdrop of the union government extending the deadline for completion of green energy projects, due to difficulties arising from the second wave of coronavirus pandemic raging across India.

“The CPSUs are required to submit their responses by 15th June 2021 and the successful bidders are to be selected by 20th July. Earlier, MNRE had appointed IREDA as the implementing Agency for the scheme," MNRE said in a statement on Monday.

These solar projects also have a viability gap funding (VGF) component. VGF is at the centre of India’s infrastructure-creation plans through public-private partnerships and will help in meeting India’s infrastructure target by attracting investments from private sector companies.

“Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd. (IREDA), a PSU under the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) has extended the bid submission date to 15th June for implementation of the Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSU) scheme phase-II for setting up 12,000 MW grid-connected solar projects with viability gap funding (VGF). Earlier, the last date to submit the bids was 30th May," the statement said.

MNRE’s earlier decision to grant extension to those projects having a scheduled commissioning date (SCD) on or after 1st April 2021, comes in the backdrop of large parts of the country shutting down to contain the spread of the second wave. Given the restrictions imposed by the states affecting the movement of personnel, labour, material and delay on multiple approvals and depleted workforce at the project sites, this extension of SCD is in addition to the one granted by MNRE upto a maximum of six months on account of the first wave.

“A VGF is provided to cover the cost difference between domestic and imported solar cells and modules. VGF will be released in two tranches," the statement added.

India is running the world’s largest clean energy programme to achieve 175 GW of renewable capacity, including 100GW of solar power and 60 GW of wind power by 2022. A lot is riding on these projects to help India meet its climate change commitments.

“Under the scheme, the power produced by the government producers can be used on payment of mutually agreed usage charges of not more than Rs. 2.45/unit for self-use or use by Govt./ Govt. entities, either directly or through DISCOMS. The maximum permissible VGF is Rs. 55 lakh per megawatt. The actual VGF to the Govt producer will be decided through bidding process using the VGF amount as a bid parameter to select the project developer," the statement said.

India has set a target of 450GW renewable energy capacity by 2030. It currently has an installed renewable energy capacity of 89.63GW, with 49.59GW under execution. Also, 4.7 trillion has been invested in the country’s renewable energy space in the past six years, with an expected 1 trillion investment opportunity annually till 2030.

“The maximum permissible VGF amount will be reviewed from time to time, by MNRE, and will be reduced if the cost difference comes down. As part of central government’s target to achieve a cumulative capacity of 100 GW Solar PV installation by the year 2022, IREDA had invited proposals on 29th January this year for setting up of Grid (including Mini & Micro Grid) Connected Solar PV projects anywhere in the country. This is to be done on “Build Own Operate" (B-O-O) basis for an aggregate capacity of 5,000 MW under Phase-II (Tranche-III)," the statement said.

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