MERC Approves 16 MW Solar Project in Amaravati

The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Authority (MERC) was hearing of a petition filed by Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) and Maharashtra State Power Generation Company Limited (MSPGCL) regarding the approval of tariff for the 150 MW solar project that was auctioned under the Mukhyamantri Saur Krishi Vahini Yojana (MSKVY).

In its order after reviewing of the petition, the commission approved the proposed 16 MW solar PV power project at Gavankund in the Amaravati district of the state. The 16 MW solar project will be the pilot project for evacuation at 33 kV.

MSPGCL conducted competitive bidding under Phase-I of MSKVY scheme for 200 MW of solar projects. The power utility then sought the commission approval for the draft power purchase agreement (PPA), power sale agreement (PSA) at a tariff of Rs 3.15/kWh for a period of 25 years.

After the commission dismissed the rates discovered, MSPGCL renegotiated the rates with the lowest successful bidder. MSEDCL accepted the negotiated rate and approached the commission seeking its approval of the PSA with MSPGCL and the adoption of a tariff of Rs 3.072/kWh for the evacuation of power at 11 kV level and Rs3.05/kWh for the evacuation of power at 33 kV level for 25 years.

Later, when the MERC asked for details about the negotiations, MSPGCL and MSEDCL could not provide them on time leading to the commission not approving the PSA and PPA. After it non-approval, MSEDCL and MSPGCL filed this review petition.

The commission noted that both MSEDCL and MSPGCL have filed clarifications for the issues highlighted by the commission in the impugned order. Although the clarifications seem to justify the position taken by MSPGCL on various processes adopted during the tender renegotiation, however, the commission denied accepting the petition stating that a change in tender conditions after the bidding process had been completed was unacceptable.

The commission did not find any merit in the review petition but provided the approval to the proposed 16 MW project at Gavankund, as a pilot project for the evacuation at 33 kV level. The commission also found the tariff to be competitive. For the remaining 134 MW, the commission has asked MSPGCL to initiate a fresh bidding process.