Solar power plants are facilities meant to manufacture electric current by solar energy. Such facilities usually involve photovoltaic panels or solar thermal systems that turn sunlight to electric energy. Governments play a role in advancing the establishment and operation of solar power plants by implementing a range of policies, incentives, and programs such as the Solar Rooftop Scheme 2024. Beneficiaries of this are individuals from lower income backgrounds or classified as members of such communities. They get rewarded with reductions in energy bills and so much more among others. Under this scheme, solar panels are installed on their roofs which enables them to have free energy. In addition, government participation includes provision of subsidies or tax relief to encourage the investment in solar energy production and setting standards for adoption of renewable energies as well enacting policies that dictate regulation guidelines regarding integration with current grids but at an acceptable level ensuring systems safety and reliability. Furthermore, governments may provide funding to a project of boosting solar technology research and development or even lower the costs. Solar power plants are a critical aspect of government initiatives designed to support the growth in renewable energy use, carbon dioxide emission reductions policies and realization of both energy security as well sustainability objectives.
This study analyzes the procurement of solar power plant, on grid solar power plant and off grid solar power plant tenders by various government agencies and PSUs. Over the last year (from Jan 2023 to Jan 2024), a total of 5779 tenders for solar power plants were collectively issued by Indian government agencies. Among these, West Bengal led with 807 tenders, followed by Maharashtra with 804 tenders, and Uttar Pradesh with 421 tenders. These procurement activities are undertaken in a wide range of sectors, including rural development, power, industry and agriculture. Below is a detailed analysis of solar power plant procurement undertaken by the government agencies in India.
Solar power plants are categorized into different types such as on-grid, off grid and hybrid configurations. An on-grid rooftop solar power plant is the name given to a version of a model linked with panels installed on roof tops of the main grid that allowed feeding into it electric energy produced from sun as well export the surplus power generated. For instance, the Department of Defence Production (DDP) invited tenders on solar rooftop plants with capacities of 100kWp and others at different capacities which stood as follows. Likewise, tenders were advertised for PCU maintenance and replacement by the West Central Railway in on-grid solar power units of 10 KW. As a continuation, ZP West Bengal published tenders for the acquisition of solar PV rooftop systems to be also installed and commissioned with an output power up to 10kW at Chakdignagar GP office. In addition, Chandrapur RDD chief Executive Officer issued tenders for solar photovoltaic on-grid systems. Additionally, the UP Rajya Krishi Utpadan Mandi Parishad released an expression of interest (EOI) for opting storage options at various mandi yards to convert existing hybrid solar power plants into on-grid systems.
An off-the–grid solar power plant operates independently of the main electrical grid normally in those remote areas where connecting to the national electricity board is obviously impossible. A solar power system of this kind produces electric energy via sunlight, using photovoltaic panels and stores extra output in batteries for future utilization at night or cloudy days. Such off-grid solar power plants are typically located in small towns, isolated locations or rural areas filling the need for electricity across a variety of domestic and commercial applications from residential homes to cabins, telecommunications equipment, remote agricultural operations. They provide a steady and sustainable power supply, enabling energy independence and reducing reliance on fossil fuels. For example, TNRD invited tenders for supply, installation of testing and commissioning 1 kWp off-grid solar power packs at Surul Anganwadi. Likewise, the Hingoli RDD CEO published tenders for supplying and installing off-grid solar power packs at Shri Nilkantheshwar Mahadev Mandir. Moreover, ZP West Bengal advertised tenders for procurement of a 4 kWp, 48 V-1200 ah rooftop solar power plant off – grid which could electrify Bhaluka office building.
A hybrid solar power plant fuses photovoltaic with other forms of energy generation, for example wind or diesel which is essential in producing continuous supply. This system optimizes energy production and ensure uninterrupted electricity even during low sunlight or insufficient solar generation. Commonly deployed in areas with fluctuating renewable resources or unreliable grids. Hybrid plants enhance energy reliability and sustainability. They offer flexibility to meet diverse energy needs while reducing reliance on fossil fuels and minimizing environmental impact. For example, HESCOM issued tenders for a 15 kW hybrid off-grid system including 12.5 kW solar and 2.5 kW wind to light up the unlit household of Dhanagarwada situated in this ward number twenty two. The Indian army issued tenders for 10 kW hybrid solar panel with a power bank and five 2.5-ton solar AC units including installation charges. Additionally, Uttarakhand Renewable Energy Development Agency (UREDA) advertised tenders for the design, fixation of 10 kW hybrid off-grid plant with a battery bank also an on-grid system net metering rooftop solar PV power plant.
In addition to the above listed solar power plants, ZP West Bengal released tenders for supplying and installing an iron-arsenic removal filter plant with hand pump equipped by solar panels at Nalabara F. P School. Maharashtra Tribal Development Department invited bids for awarding contracts to design, engineer supply construction erection test commission of 100 MW (AC) crystalline PV technology-based grid interact distributed agriculture feeder solar power plants. The scope of these projects also covers five years full operations and maintenance on EPC terms in various locations. Moreover, IOCL advertised tenders for a solar power generation facility without batteries along with the necessary accessories at the residential enclave of RCOIL.
As of February 6, 2024, there were 281 active solar power plant tenders in India. West Bengal leads with 104 tenders, constituting 37% of the total followed by Uttar Pradesh with 44 tenders at 16%. Maharashtra issued 41 tenders representing 15%, while Rajasthan and Gujarat issued 40 and 24 tenders respectively accounting for 14% and 9%. Delhi and Uttarakhand each issued 15 and 13 tenders making up 5% of the total for both states.
This analysis shows that the government agencies in India advertised a large number of solar power plant tenders during the last year. With technological advances and due to more awareness of renewable energy sources, solar power plants are getting noticed more. The solar energy infrastructure is also growing, on account of the enormous investments states are making in this sector. As the solar power is rapidly becoming cheaper and efficient, its adoption is expected to increase in the future. Therefore, manufacturers and distributors in the solar power plant industry are advised to actively monitor and submit their bids for solar power plant tenders advertised nationwide to capitalize on potential business prospects.