Despite finding developers are ready to sell solar power as low as Rs 1.99 per unit, the Gujarat government bought over 6,200 million units of solar power at prices ranging between Rs 9.13 and Rs 15 per unit from private power producers over the last five years.
The data, tabled by the state government in the recently concluded budget session of the state legislature, shows that between April 2015 and March 2020, Gujarat bought solar power from a total of 61 private players under the Solar Power Policy, 2009. Of the these private entities, 38 sold power to Gujarat at Rs 15 per unit, while the remaining 23 players sold at Rs 9.13 to Rs 13.59 per unit.
Apart from the 6,200 million units of solar power, the state government bought an additional 573 million units of power from the same 61 private players from April to September, 2020, the government stated in its written reply to an unstarred question posed by Congress MLA from Chotta Udepur, Mohansinh Rathwa.
Gujarat government buys power from different entities through Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Limited (GUVNL).
During this five-year period, the maximum solar power has been bought from Adani Power Limited, which sold 328 million units at Rs 15 per unit. There was a 10.2 per cent rise in the quantum of power bought from the Adani Group.
The government bought more than 200 million units of power at Rs 15 per unit rate from each of the private entities including Tata Power Renewable Energy Limited (210 million units), GMR Gujarat Solar Ltd (200 million units), Lorox Bio Energy Ltd (208 million units), Roha Dyechem Pvt Ltd (209 million units), and Alex Astral Power Pvt Ltd (207 million units).
Only 14 million units were bought from Texas Infrastructure and Project Pvt Ltd, which sold at Rs 9.13 per unit — the cheapest power among the 61 players.
Experts in the power sector in Gujarat claim that though the price of solar power has dropped considerably, the government has continued to pay the 2010 rates to private firms. For instance, in an auction for 500 MW of solar projects conducted by GUVNL in December 2020, Rs 1.99 per unit was the lowest bid. GUVNL officials said the state government is paying Rs 15 per unit as per the Power Purchase Agreements of 2010-11.
“There are judgments of Supreme Court related to our PPAs that they cannot be reopened. Moreover, in renewables it is largely a one-time investment which companies need to recover,” an official of GUVNL said.