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South Bihar Power Distribution Company Limited (SBPDCL) has issued a tender for installing rooftop solar plan in its area of supply. The project capacity is 5 MW and will cover the residential consumers. The last date for submitting the bids is January 30th, 2019. Currently, the operating rooftop solar power plants in Bihar is 10.4 MW according to Mercom India.

Last year, around the same time, the state had invited a solar rooftop tender of 15 MW under RESCO model. Shortly after that in March, another tender of 10 MW was issued. In the utility-scale ground-mounted segment a 250 MW tender had been issued which was cancelled due to disputes arising from the method of tariff adoption. The tender has been recently reissued with a tariff cap of INR 3.15.

In the utility-scale ground-mounted segment following solar power plants are operational

Bihar solar power plants

Indicative Rooftop Solar Cost for residential consumers in Bihar

Energy charges in the state

India with 28 states and 9 UTs has a range of tariff schedules for I&C and residential consumers. In Bihar the consumption slab and the energy charges for each of these slabs are as follows:

South Bihar Power DISCOM Issues Tender For 5 MW Rooftop Solar
Source: BERC

Adding electricity duty to the energy charges here is what consumers pay per unit in the state:

  • INR 6.64 per unit for consuming 100 units
  • INR 7.00 per unit for consuming 200 units
  • INR 7.42 per unit for consuming 300 units
  • INR 7.85 per unit for consuming 400 units
  • INR 8.10 per unit for consuming 500 units

Cost of rooftop solar

By installing rooftop solar plants on their premises the residential consumers can substantially bring down their electricity cost. Bihar Electricity Regulatory Commission has fixed the generic tariff for solar power plants including the rooftop solar for FY 2019-20 to INR 4.17 per unit. Also for FY 2019-20 MNRE has set the following benchmark cost of rooftop solar plants for the states other than special category states.

  • 1-10 kW will cost INR 54,000 per kW
  • 11-100 kW will cost INR 48,000 per kW
  • 101-500 kW will cost INR 45,000 per kW

Therefore as the EPC companies bid for this tender, they will have to factor in these variables.

Our observation is that the actual cost of rooftop solar power plants is around 5000 per kW less than the MNRE benchmark. Since the tender is exclusively for residential consumers, likely, the maximum solar rooftop capacity will not exceed 10 kW. The cost of the plants will be around INR 50,000 per kW for a single location. However, it is also likely that the companies will quote a single bid on aggregated capacities spread over multiple locations. The cost can further come down to INR 45,000 per kW.

Despite high tendering activities in Bihar last year the growth of the solar sector in the state remains dismal. Therefore it is less likely that this tender will see aggressive bidding. If that happens then the average cost per kW will be INR 42,000 per kW. The cost can be as low as INR 38,000 per kW.

Feature Image Credit: Flickr

Post Author: Ankur Kumar Jha

Founder SolarDae || MBA Power Management || B.E (Mechanical)

Ankur analyses mainstream media coverage of renewable energy in general and solar in particular; he tracks the ongoing development of regulations and policies and incorporates them in his opinion. He can be reached at +91-8860726731 for any assistance in rooftop solar and utility-scale projects.

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