The Indian Ministry of Power has recently issued new bidding norms for grid-connected photovoltaic projects.

The new bidding regulations aim to standardize the bidding process for photovoltaic projects, outlining project timelines, power purchase agreement (PPA) schedules, and milestones for such projects. In addition to addressing other subjects, the bidding document also mentions penalties for project delays.

These norms pertain to authorized photovoltaic power generation projects that are either already equipped with energy storage systems or not. Bidding for these projects is allocated through competitive bidding and long-term power purchase agreements are signed by developers. The Ministry of Power in India specifies in the regulations that the Request for Selection (RfS) documents must define project milestones and the penalties applicable for non-compliance.

The document states, "The bid documents shall specify additional milestones, such as land acquisition, acquisition, etc., for solar projects, as well as periodic reporting requirements for the generator, and specify penalties for non-compliance with these milestones/requirements."

The norms stipulate that bidders must bid for projects based on their installed capacity, with a minimum installed capacity of 50MW for Inter-State Transmission System (ISTS) projects. Bidders are also limited to acquiring up to 50% of the total bid project capacity. Any signed power purchase agreement should have a term of 20 years.

The regulations point out, "The signed Power Purchase Agreement shall ordinarily be for a period of 20 years, from the Scheduled Commissioning Date (SCSD) or from the Revised Commissioning Date, until extended by the procurer for reasons beyond the control of the generator. However, the signed Power Purchase Agreement may also have a longer term, such as 25 years."

Furthermore, under-development or already commissioned photovoltaic projects by developers can also participate in bidding. In such cases, they might sign power purchase agreements for longer durations.

The new norms also specify that the photovoltaic projects developed by developers should commence operations within 24 months from the date of signing the power purchase agreement, with a project capacity allocation of up to 1GW. On the other hand, for projects with capacity exceeding 1GW, developers are required to commence operations 30 months from the date of signing the power purchase agreement.

A few weeks prior to the release of these new bidding documents, RK Singh, the Indian Minister of Power, stated during a G20 meeting in Goa, India, that the ministry is working towards amending bidding documents to accelerate renewable energy development in the country and achieve its bidding trajectory goals.