SoftBank Energy denied allegations of attempting to form a cartel and upsurge solar power tariffs in a recent 3,000 MW tender, which was later partly cancelled.
In a statement responding to media reports stating that power minister RK Singh has written to the Prime Minister's Office alleging cartelisation attempt on part of SB Energy, the company said it has stuck to bidding norms set by the Indian government and has practised ethical norms across the world.
“We respect the open and transparent bidding process set by the ministry of new and renewable energy. We have always followed this process of the reverse auction since 2015 when it was initiated,” SB Energy said in a statement to ET. “As a global corporation, we abide by the stringent norms of governance and compliance with all the applicable laws and always practice ethical norms across the world,” it said.
The tender in question, floated by the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) earlier this year, saw a tariff difference of 27 paise between the lowest and the highest bidders.
SECI in August decided to cancel bids received for 2,400 MW capacity, and awarded the remaining 600 MW capacity to Acme Solar, which quoted the lowest price at Rs 2.44 per unit.
SB Energy had placed a bid for 1,100 MW capacity quoting tariff of Rs 2.71 per unit. ReNew Power had also placed a bid at the same tariff for 500 MW capacity.
The bids were cancelled on the grounds that the difference between the highest and the lowest tariffs discovered through the bidding process was much higher than the normal deviation of around 10 paise per unit.
Among other players whose bids stood cancelled were Mahindra Solar and Mahoba Solar, part of the Adani Group. Both had bid for 300 MW capacity each at a tariff of Rs 2.64 per unit .
SB Energy said the company holds itself as a critical stakeholder in the Indian government's vision for renewable energy, and that it is attracted by the large market potential in the country. India plans to add 100 GW solar capacity by 2022, with a long-term projected requirement of 350 GW solar power by 2030
“We request the government to act fairly and address the concerns of the international investors,” the company statement said
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ET had reported on May 4 that Softbank founder Masayoshi Son had proposed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi an investment of $1 trillion in India's solar sector. The company in return asked for a tender trajectory and stability of returns
Indian developers have been on the edge following the Japanese conglomerate's entry into the market, and accused the government of favouring the company by introducing large scale solar tenders, among other changes in bids