In Conversation with Mr. Donald Leo Managing Director Jinko Solar
What, according to you, are the main reasons behind the recent phenomenon of solar tenders getting cancelled/postponed?
There are several reasons behind this phenomenon. But there are a few main reasons. Firstly, there is pressure from DISCOMs to go for cheaper purchase of renewable power. Govt. has to look into the off-takers interest as eventually the money is coming from them. Secondly, with the ongoing anti-dumping and safeguard duty issues, developers are not forthcoming with full interest in bids participation. Furthermore, due to issues in land aggregating some state nodal agencies have not cleared Solar Park bids. Overall, situation is going to improve soon as Ministry has taken a favourable view of all these issues and likely to issue clarity.
The government has come up with a roadmap to complete all solar auction processes by 2020, to achieve the target of having 100 GW solar by 2022. Do you think this is a practical approach?
This is a good way to give bright outlook to the industry. The developers, investors, EPC contractors and Manufacturers all can plan their future growth in time bound manner. This is helpful in achieving overall Mission target as well as in reducing tariffs.
Do the proposed safeguard (and anti-dumping) duties pose any threat to the overall solar sector? Is the domestic manufacturing capacities sufficient to support the massive capacity addition program?
Govt has to run its Solar program keeping several factors in mind. On one hand constantly falling tariffs are making strong pitch in favour of globally manufactured equipment. On the other hand this is leading to reduction in market share of local manufactures. There is also an issue with Financially Stressed DISCOMs, which are not willing to buy costlier power as a result of high input cost due to domestically made products. As said above, lack of clarity is leading to slowdown in tender roll out and overall the sector may lose its traction if this is not check urgently.
Are ultra-low tariffs quoted in the recent auctions viable to run the projects sustainably, or can they jeopardise the overall power sector? (Especially since project costs are heavily dependent on fluctuating prices of imported component?
Recently some bidders had assumed very low equipment prices and won low tariff bids. Now, due to stable equipment prices, these tariffs are looking non-sustainable. Due to fluctuating prices, one has to take cautious approach. It is also expected from a long sustainable Solar developer to be quality conscious and install reliable products.
Any other comment/s you want to add?
There are challenging times ahead, but at the same time lots of new bids are coming up. There is ample MW available for all to grab from these bids. Hence, one has to take necessary steps to improve the quality of assets along with optimizing installation costs. So, the focus should be on installing quality equipment, which will help in achieving overall low LCOE.