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TN begins to sign solar PPAs, at last

M Ramesh Chennai | Updated on February 19, 2015 Published on February 19, 2015

solar panel

25 agreements to be signed by Feb end

After years of wait, things have started moving in the solar industry in Tamil Nadu. The state-owned distribution utility, TANGEDCO, has begun signing ‘power purchase agreements’ with solar developers.

The first set of PPAs was signed on Wednesday. TANGEDCO officials are tight-lipped about the details—one senior official said that he expected 25 agreements to be signed by the end of this month.

However, industry sources said that seven PPAs were signed—six on Wednesday and one today. It is learnt that three of the six are three companies of the same group—GRT, the jewellers. One more PPA was signed today.

Sources say that GRT had begun work on the project anticipating signing the PPA in time and the company is close to completing 15 MW by March, so as to avail itself of the tax-saving accelerated depreciation benefit.

The total capacity signed so far is around 30 MW, but TANGEDCO expects more to come in the next few days.

The draft PPA was approved by the state electricity regulatory commission, TNERC, only on January 22.

The official said that TANGEDCO has received the initial payment from 70-odd developers for 2,000 MW.

It is learnt that companies that wanted to put up large capacities, such as Welspun (300 MW), Sterling & Wilson (150 MW) and SunEdison (150 MW) have not yet come forward to sign PPAs.

The reason is, they are waiting for an extension of the deadline for completion of the projects. TNERC has approved a tariff of Rs 7.01 per kWhr to be paid to solar power producer, but this tariff is applicable only for projects that are completed by September.

“Unless the deadline is extended, we will not be in a position to take up the project,” said Pasupathy Gopalan, head of SunEdison’s Asia-Pacific operations.

Several developers have approached TNERC for extension of the deadline and the buzz is that the regulator may give them time till March, considering that the delay was because of the time taken for approving the draft PPAs and no fault of the developers.

Published on February 19, 2015
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