Maharashtra regulator grants extension to 350 MW solar project
The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has extended the planned commercial operation date of Avaada Sunce Energy’s (Avaada) 350MW solar project by 59 days. The extension was granted due to certain force majeure events, including COVID-19 and the disruption of importing modules from China, which impacted the progress of the project.
Avaada Sunce Energy is a special purpose vehicle promoted by Avaada Energy to develop a 350 MW solar photovoltaic power project at Bikaner in Rajasthan.
Avaada has filed a petition seeking an extension to the scheduled commercial operation date (SCOD) to commission 150 MW of 350 MW of capacity, citing force majeure events.
As per the power purchase agreement signed between Avaada and the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company (MSDECL), the project was expected to be commissioned by June 26, 2022. Due to disruption of supply chains due to the spread of COVID-19, MSEDCL had granted extensions twice, making February 8, 2022 the last SCOD.
Despite the extensions granted by the MSEDCL and the restrictions due to the first and second waves of the pandemic, Avaada was able to execute an “early commissioning of partial capacity” of a partial capacity of 100 MW on November 3, 2021. other capacities of 50 MW each have been commissioned. on January 7 and February 2, 2021. An additional 150 MW were completed in three stages by April 8, 2022.
Avaada requested from MSEDCL a further extension of the SCOD from February 8, 2022 to May 31, 2022. However, MSEDCL did not respond to the request.
MSEDCL said the project reached COD on April 8, 2022; therefore, the request to extend the SCOD until May 31, 2022 becomes fruitless. The MSEDCL estimated that the project was delayed by 59 days. The MSEDCL also said Avaada did not file any documents to support the alleged disruptions. Avaada omitted to mention measures taken to mitigate disruptions to ensure compliance with the PPA.
The Commission noted that Avaada had reported difficulties encountered by its suppliers in sourcing and supplying photovoltaic modules for the project. Avaada informed MSEDCL that no supplies are expected from China until February 2022 and that suppliers are committed to new shipping deadlines from March-April 2022.
The Commission considered that the supply chain disruption should be considered a force majeure event under the PPA.
He noted that once the force majeure event is confirmed, the only relief available under the PPA is that the affected party is released from its obligation for that period without any tariff compensation. Therefore, in terms of PPA, Avaada is eligible for an extension of time to meet its 84-day obligations.
However, the actual commissioning time is 59 days. Thus, the SCOD for Avaada projects is extended from February 8, 2022 to the effective go-live date of April 8, 2022, without any penalty.
Previously, MERC authorized MSEDCL to adopt the uncovered tariff through a bidding process for the purchase of electricity from 500 MW grid-connected solar projects.
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Arjun Joshi is a journalist at Mercom India. Prior to joining Mercom, he worked as a technical writer for enterprise resource software companies based in India and overseas. He holds a BA in Journalism, Psychology and Optional English from Garden City University, Bangalore. More articles from Arjun Joshi.