Invitation of bids for grid-connected projects under the second phase of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) may get pushed back by a month or two, as the Government is yet to decide on covering more products under domestic sourcing norms.
The Ministry for New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), however, maintains that the Batch I of the second phase, which includes off-grid projects, will start from April 1 as envisaged in the JNNSM.
“The tenders inviting bids for 750 MW of solar photovoltaic projects will happen by April end or May first week,” says Tarun Kapoor, Joint Secretary, MNRE.
Draft guidelines spelling out the criterion for the prospective bidders has been prepared and now formal approvals are required. A proposal in the draft that stipulates more items like thin films and solar cells under the domestic sourcing requirement has irked the US.
The US has filed a complaint with the Dispute Settlement Body of the World Trade Organisation against domestic content requirement in the JNSSM which mandates that solar photovoltaic modules based on crystalline technology has to be sourced locally.
Kapoor said while all the other necessary approvals to roll out the second phase have been taken, it is only the draft guidelines that have to be formalised. The second phase will be rolled out in two batches as the capacity is high – 3000 MW.
Following the launch of the mission in 2010, the domestic manufacturing capacity of SPV cells and modules has increased from about 200 MW to 2000 MW.
One of the important objectives of the JNNSM is to promote domestic manufacturing in the solar energy sector and certain domestic content requirements were made mandatory in various schemes of Phase I of JNNSM. In the second phase, domestic sourcing content has been expanded.
The sourcing of power generated from projects in the second phase will be done by Solar Energy Corporation, which has been formed primarily for executing the mission.
For the first phase, NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam, the trading arm of NTPC, was designated as the nodal agency for sale and purchase of grid-connected solar power.
The first phase of the mission, which concludes on March 31, has got 1500 MW of installed capacity till now. This includes States’ capacity and migrant projects.