Punjab Genco, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Punjab Energy Development Agency (“PEDA”), sets its sights on harnessing the power of the sun with a groundbreaking initiative by recently announcing a tender for 12 MW solar power projects across the Bathinda district of Punjab. This marks a significant stride towards clean and sustainable energy generation in the state. The project capacity is 12 MW, which is permitted to be bifurcated into 3 separate units of 4 MW each, and the bid submission deadline has been set to September 27, 2023. This ambitious endeavour aims to tap into Punjab's abundant solar energy potential, promoting clean and green energy sources while reducing the state's carbon footprint. By embracing solar power, Punjab continues its commitment to a sustainable future and economic growth.
Solar power is a clean and renewable energy source, helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, ultimately improving air quality in Punjab and nearby areas. Solar energy reduces dependency on fossil fuels and foreign energy sources. When a region generates a significant portion of its energy from solar power, it becomes more energy-independent.
The tender for solar power projects is expected to attract significant investment, boosting the local economy, and creating job opportunities. Solar projects require various skilled and unskilled labour for installation, maintenance, and operation. This includes engineers, technicians, project managers, and administrative staff. As the solar industry grows, it creates jobs, reducing unemployment rates and improving the overall economic well-being of a territory.
Regions investing in renewable energy, including solar power, often attract investment from clean energy companies and environmentally conscious businesses. These investments can develop new industries and technologies, creating a favourable economic cycle. Regions with a robust solar industry can export excess energy to neighbouring areas, generating additional revenue, and strengthening economic ties.
By diversifying its energy sources, Punjab can enhance its energy security and reduce dependency on fossil fuels, making the state more resilient to energy fluctuations. Solar power reduces energy costs for homes, businesses, and industries that adopt solar energy. Lower energy bills free up funds that can be reinvested in other areas of the economy, including hiring more employees, expanding operations, or investing in research and development.
This initiative also aligns with global climate goals, including India's commitment to the Paris Agreement, by reducing the carbon intensity of energy production. Distributed solar power installations, such as rooftop solar panels, can enhance the resilience and reliability of the electricity grid. Solar power can be integrated with energy storage systems to provide backup power during grid outages, reducing the reliance on fossil-fueled backup generators.
The bidder will be in charge of overseeing the operation and maintenance of the solar project for a period of five years.Interested bidders are required to provide an earnest money deposit of 24 million INR for a 4 MW solar project, along with 5% of the value of the consideration of the contract as a performance bank guarantee within the prescribed timeline. Punjab Genco has proposed that the solar modules used in the project must conform to the list of approved models and manufacturers provided by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and the project must be completed within a period of 10 months from the date of issuance of the work order to the successful bidders.
Additionally, the bidder must have a valid license issued by the chief electrical inspector to operate and work on an 11 (eleven)_kV or above voltage system unit and demonstrate their capability by having a minimum of one year of experience in operating and maintaining solar projects with a combined capacity of at least 2 MW in any one of the past five years. Furthermore, the project should have been operational before the bid opening date. Failure to reach the prescribed milestones while completing the project will result in the bidder being liable to pay a penalty of 1% of the value of the contract which may extend up to a maximum penalty of 5%.
Solar projects contribute to climate resilience efforts by reducing the carbon intensity of energy production. This includes helping communities adapt to changing climate conditions, such as extreme weather events, sea-level rise, and water scarcity.
The project must be finalized within ten months after receiving the work order and if there are any delays in the working or execution of the project, the bidder will face penalties. In May this year, PEDA issued a bid invitation for the commencement of 7 MW of grid-connected solar projects on rooftops and ground-mounted locations at government facilities in Punjab, which also includes Chandigarh.