After several aborted attempts to lure players to participate in the auctions for wind, solar, and hybrid projects, the Centre has now hiked the tariff ceilings in an attempt to elicit a better response from the renewable energy industry.

In response to a query on the extension of bid dates for wind-solar hybrid projects, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power and New and Renewable Energy, RK Singh, said, “Bids for wind-solar hybrid projects has been extended till February - March 2019. The ceiling price has been increased to ₹2.70 a unit. Because we are increasing the ceiling price, we are extending the bid date.”

The earlier ceiling for the wind-solar hybrid project stood at ₹2.60 a unit.

Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), the nodal company that calls for bids on behalf of the Centre, has also raised the ceiling tariff for auctions for the 10-GW manufacturing-linked solar scheme. The revised tariff ceiling stands at ₹2.85 a unit from ₹2.75 a unit.

“Tariff cap on reverse auction process is tricky, and more so when the solar industry itself is facing so many uncertainties. Besides, what we have today is an open bidding mechanism, where price is discovered by the market. And in such a situation to have a cap beats the very purpose of the open market mechanism,” Vinayak Chatterjee, Chairman and Co-founder, Feedback Infra, told BusinessLine . Ideally, SECI should remove the cap for hybrid auctions, particularly after the aborted attempts, he said.

On whether tariffs were one of the key factors for the industry not doing as desired, Chatterjee said, “it is not tariffs alone. For giving a boost to renewables it is not only about capacities, but market requires attention to both demand and supply. Attention has to be given to evacuation, pricing and payments security — Discoms are unable to meet their commitments. All factors need to be addressed for the industry to evolve.”

Meanwhile Singh, while inaugurating the second edition of International Symposium to Promote Innovation & Research in Energy Efficiency (INSPIRE 2018), said the Centre hopes to gain from some of the start-up ideas related to charging and street lighting that were awarded during the inauguration ceremony of the event. He also said the Ministry of Power has circulated a policy for setting up electric vehicle charging stations. He said individuals will be allowed to set up charging stations without a licence in the proposed policy.

He said the total installed renewable energy capacity of the country is 72 GW and another 20 GW is under various stages of implementation.At the event, Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed an agreement for a Global Environment Facility (GEF) grant of $13 million to establish an Energy Efficiency Revolving Fund (EERF).