Uncertainty is looming large over execution of 7500 Mega Watts (MW) solar power projects in Leh and Kargil districts of Union Territory of Ladakh as two years long efforts to make selection of developers have failed to yield the desirable results and finally the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) Limited has terminated the process.

Official sources told EXCELSIOR that as part of the Government of India’s targets of achieving a cumulative capacity of 100 Giga Watts (GW) solar PV installation by the year 2022, a scheme was approved for setting up of 23 GW grid-connected solar PV projects in Leh and Kargil districts several years back.

The total capacity was targeted to be implemented in several phases, the first phase being implementation of 2500 MW grid-connected capacity in Kargil district and 5000 MW capacity in Leh district.

On December 31, 2018, the Solar Energy Corporation of India Limited, a Government of India Enterprise under the administrative control of the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, invited proposals for selection of solar power developers for setting up of 7500 MW grid-connected solar power projects including implementation of power transmission and evacuation infrastructure in Leh and Kargil districts under Global Competitive Bidding.

It was mentioned in the Request for Selection document that Solar Energy Corporation of India will enter into Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the selected bidder for purchase of solar power for a period of 35 years based on the terms, conditions and provisions of the Request for Selection, sources informed.

Seci termination

In order to ensure good response to the Request for Selection, the Solar Energy Corporation of India further mentioned that tariff to be quoted by the bidder shall be inclusive of all statutory taxes, duties, levies and cess and bidders will be free to avail fiscal incentives like Accelerated Depreciation, Concessional Customs and Excise Duties, Tax Holidays etc as available for such projects.

“Being the first multi-Giga Watt tender issued in the sub-continent and compounded by low response and industry turmoil over policy matters saw the tender extended multiple times over 2018 and then into 2019”, sources said.

The tender was brought back into focus in August 2020 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi reiterated the Centre’s aim to establish a 7.5 Giga Watt solar power park in Ladakh to set the Union Territory on course to becoming carbon neutral, they further said.

The Prime Minister had said: “Ladakh has several specialities. Not only do we have to preserve them, we have to nurture them as well. As Sikkim has made it mark as an organic state in the North-East, Ladakh can also create own niche as a carbon-neutral Union Territory”.

Thereafter, the Solar Energy Corporation of India extended bid submission deadline for Request for Selection for setting up of 7500 MW grid-connected solar power projects in Leh and Kargil till January 31, 2021.

“Prospective bidders are requested to remain updated for any notices/ amendments/ clarifications etc to the Request for Selection documents through the websites as no separate notification will be issued”, the Solar Energy Corporation of India had mentioned in the bid extension notice.

“With this development, uncertainty is looming large over execution of 7500 Mega Watts (MW) solar power projects in the Union Territory of Ladakh as Solar Energy Corporation of India has not given any indication about future course of action”, sources said.

“Keeping in view poor response to the Request for Selection during the past two years the Corporation as well as the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy should find out some alternative so that vast potential in Ladakh Union Territory doesn’t go waste and is tapped for the benefit of the cold desert as well as other parts of the country”, they stressed.

It is worthwhile to mention here that the project was planned with the aim to save 12,750 tonnes of carbon emissions in every year of operation.

Source:- Daily Excelsior