The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has issued a recent order denying relief to solar power producer SBSR Power Cleantech Eleven. The company had encountered delays in commissioning its proposed 300 MW solar power project in the Bikaner district of Rajasthan, for which it had received a contract from the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) in 2019.
The Power Procurement Agreement (PPA) between SBSR and SECI stipulated a commercial operation start date of January, 2021, with subsequent extensions granted until November 20, 2021. However, SECI refused further extensions, citing the terms of the contract. The CERC noted that the maximum allowed commissioning period for the plant was six months from the extended scheduled commissioning date (SCoD) of May 20, 2022. Despite this, SBSR had only commissioned 150 MW out of the total sanctioned capacity of 300 MW by that date.
During discussions with SECI and the distribution companies (discoms), Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDDL) and BSES Yamuna Power Limited (BYPL), the discoms expressed interest in purchasing power from a 62.5 MW capacity without any financial liability. However, SBSR sought additional financial aid due to a change in law event caused by increased GST and Basic Customs Duty (BCD) on imported solar panels and cells. The CERC rejected SBSR’s pleas, citing the provisions of the PPA.
The CERC determined that the contracted capacity of 300 MW stood reduced to the commissioned capacity of 150 MW before May 20, 2022. It also ruled that SBSR was not obliged to supply the commissioned capacity of 62.5 MW to TPDDL on a pro-rata basis. The Commission, in previous rulings, had granted compensation to developers in cases where increased GST rates or BCD impacted project costs. However, in this instance, no relief was granted for the project delay caused by these factors.
Overall, the CERC’s order emphasized adherence to the contractual provisions and held SBSR accountable for not meeting the commissioning requirements within the specified timeframe.
View the order here: