Maharashtra government is mulling adoption of Swiss challenge method to finalise a bidder to set up floating solar plants across various reservoirs and water bodies in the state.
Under the Swiss challenge system, any person with suitable credentials can submit a development proposal to the government for a public project. The proposal will be then put online and a second party can give suggestions to improve and challenge that proposal.
A committee comprising officials of the water resource and energy departments along with the representatives of the Maharashtra Energy Development Agency (MEDA), Mahagenco and state-run power utility MSEDCL has been set up to examine various models for floating solar, including the Swiss challenge system and tariff-based bidding.
“We have a large number of reservoirs across the state where floating solar projects can be developed. We hope to receive the committee report in the next two months,” said a state government official.
The state government in February this year cleared the Maharashtra Infrastructure Development Enabling Authority Act, to serve as a framework to allow for infrastructure proposals to be allotted to private players using the Swiss challenge method.
The official pointed out that there is still ambiguity on who will take responsibility for implementing the floating solar projects in the state.
Under the state’s solar policy of 2015, Mahagenco has been mandated to set up at least 250 MW of capacity through floating solar projects on lakes, canals and water bodies of the water resources department (WRD).
A consultant, appointed by Mahagenco, has identified several water bodies, including reservoirs such as Bhatsa, Ghatghar (lower), Ghatghar (upper), Alwandi, Dhamani, Vaitarna and Vaitarna having a cumulative potential of 475 MW.
Meanwhile, MSEDCL had invited bids to develop 1000 MW floating solar projects at the Ujani Dam in Solapur district.
“It had received 25 bids. But since it is not clear on the implementation of the project as well as revenue sharing, the project is facing a status quo. Since these water bodies are under the WRD there is a thought process that they should be the implementing authority,” said an official from WRD said.
“In case we get a go ahead for the Swiss model, we may consider taking up the project on our own,” the official added.