How to find solar tenders worldwide (plus 5 tips to boost your chance of success)

Dive into recently awarded worldwide solar auctions, their conditions and future tenders announced by country.

Laura Rodríguez

23 Feb, 21

It is clear that we are living a renewable development boom. This growth has been intensified due to the COVID-19, which has raised awareness of the environmental impact of modern economic activity.

Governments from Europe to China and the Americas have identified renewable energy as an area for investment that will serve to create new skilled jobs, increase the availability of power generation in communities and reduce carbon emissions from the electricity industry.

Renewables will be, and already are, the motor of the economic recovery.

In numbers, according to a new analysis from Wood Mackenzie, in Europe there exists a 45 GW of renewable energy capacity in the 2021 auction pipeline. Of those, at least 6 GW would be allocated to solar energy, 17GW of wind and the remainder either technology-neutral or applying to several sources.


Renewable Power auction capacity in Europe, 2018 to 2021 (Source: Wood and Mackenzie)

Let’s take a closer look at past and future solar tenders and their conditions by country.

Solar power is growing in popularity as the transition to renewable energy accelerates. Protecting the environment and developing the green economy is becoming a focus for businesses and property owners as well as utilities and governments. This is driving an increase in the number of solar photovoltaic (PV) tenders being issued to award contracts for project construction and maintenance.

Private businesses, local and central governments, educational institutions, and housing associations typically run a competitive tender process to identify the most appropriate suppliers to install and/or service solar panels. Bidders are required to submit tender documents outlining their proposed approach to the project, including logistics, technical design, company structure, examples, and references from previous projects, as well as cost.

This raises the question, how do suppliers find solar tenders and submit applications with the best chances of success?

With the solar project pipeline growing around the world, it can be challenging to scour the range of websites and publications listing solar tenders to find suitable projects that are currently open for applications. We’ve done the hard work for you: here are our top tips for finding and applying for solar projects worldwide.

Research tender listings

A good starting point is Solar Tenders Worldwide, a subscription service that lists live government tenders related to solar projects. In Europe, public sector tenders over a certain value (€428,000 for energy) must be published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU). These are listed in the searchable Tenders Electronic Daily (TED) database.

Keeping up with news across industry sectors covered by publications like pvMagazine is another useful way to find out about tenders. A recent pvMagazine article details a solar pump tender launched by the Indian state-owned company Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), including the scope of the work and eligibility criteria.

Applying for tenders by country can help you to focus the search by narrowing down the number of websites you need to check.

Identifying solar tenders by country

Australia

Australia’s Clean Energy Council lists current tenders and government programs that are available to approved suppliers, linking out to each organization’s website where you can find the details.

For example, the state of Victoria is running a Solar Homes Program that provides rebates for solar panels, hot water systems and battery storage. The current subsidy value of A$1,850 for solar panel installation, $1,000 for solar hot water systems and $4,174 for solar batteries will be in place until June 30, 2021. Solar Victoria is working with the industry to introduce a similar rebate program for small businesses.

Spain

The Spanish government’s Public Sector Procurement database lists tenders from public sector organizations and independent institutions. The search function allows you to filter tenders to find listings by category using the EU’s Common public Procurement Vocabulary (CPV) codes — a standardized classification system for public procurement projects.

In the city of Cadiz, the Port Authority has issued a €94,293 tender for the installation of solar panels on its main office building for its internal consumption and the sale of surplus electricity back to the grid. The deadline for submissions is February 25, 2021. The tender conditions list bidder participation requirements including the type of businesses that are eligible to apply and required annual turnover.


Huge solar array in Parc del Forum public building in Barcelona

United Kingdom

In the UK, the Contracts Finder search function on the gov.uk website lists public sector tenders, allowing you to search for open listings and sort results by publication date or closing date.

Searching for solar shows that Sunderland City Council published a £2 million tender on January 25 for the supply, installation and maintenance of solar PV and battery storage systems at a number of council premises and sites. The tender is open for one month and the listing page links out to the North East Procurement Organization (NEPO) portal where suppliers can register to submit applications.

The Bidstat website aggregates tender listings from the OJEU TED database, the UK Contracts Finder and the new Find a Tender service.

India

The state-owned Solar Energy Corporation of India publishes tender listings and results for government projects, sorted by the submission deadline.

Each tender listing page — such as for a 2.5GW Ultra Mega Renewable Power Park (UMREPP) in the state of Karnataka, open until February 26 — includes the bid requirements and links to the full documents. Criteria include the application fees, bank guarantee, bid submission and opening dates and the target completion date for the project.

So, once you’ve identified a tender for an ideal project, how can you boost your chance of submitting the winning bid?

Let’s look at some of the countries with plans to install large volumes of solar capacity in the coming years and how you can find active tenders.

Recently awarded auctions

Spain

3 GW renewables auction on January 2021. The Spanish government planned to allocate 1 GW of Solar PV, 1 GW of wind and another gigawatt of renewable energy capacity with storage. In the end, a total of 2,036 MW was awarded to solar photovoltaic (PV) in the first renewable energy auction held since July 2017. Overall, the auction had attracted offers worth 9,700 MW. The weighted average price for solar PV reached EUR 24.47 (USD 29.67) per MWh. The lowest price for solar, EUR 14.89/MWh, was submitted by Spanish energy group Ignis for a 30 MW project.

India

December 2020, 6.4 GW of grid-connected solar power capacity. Adani Green Energy has secured 3GW of PV capacity in a 6.4GW solar auction in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh that saw higher tariffs than other recent tenders in the country. Shirdi Sai Electricals followed with 2.2GW allocated.

United States

March 2020, New York allocates 1 GW of solar as renewables auction. In total, the New York Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) allocated 21 large scale solar, wind and energy storage projects across upstate New York, for 1,278 MW of new capacity. Of the total, 17 projects and 83% of total capacity were for solar technologies.

The weighted average award price for the solicitation reached USD 18.59/MWh of production over the 20-year term of the awarded contracts.

UAE

April 2020, Abu Dhabi 1.5 GW tender. The successful bidder was a consortium formed by French electric utility company EDF and Chinese PV company Jinko Power. The EDF–Jinko consortium submitted a weighted levelized electricity tariff of USD 0.008732/kWh, the record lowest of the time (28th April 2020).

Estonia

March 2020, the government commits to procure 5 GW of renewables. From a total 16.3 GW offered by 17 bidders, Estonia’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications has committed to procuring 5 GW of renewables in the country’s first energy auction. The weighted average solar electricity bid price was EUR 75.55/MWh, the government said, with the lowest bids slightly under EUR 60.

Ireland

August 2020, Nation’s first clean energy tender. Ireland climate action plan envisages 1.5 GW of solar by 2030. The first auction exceeded expectations reaching a capacity factor of approximately 15% instead of the anticipated 11% with an average solar electricity price of EUR 72.92/MWh.

Myanmar

May 2020, Myanmar’s 1 GW solar tender concludes with lowest bid of USD 0.0348/kWh. The country’s Ministry of Electricity and Energy allocated all tendered solar capacity in its first procurement exercise for large-scale PV. Final prices ranged from $0.0348 to $0.051 per kWh. China Machinery Engineering and Sungrow were the main winners, securing eight and nine projects, respectively.

Germany

February 2020, 493 MW of solar PV allocated in the latest procurement round. As usual, the solar tender was significantly oversubscribed, luring 98 proposals of 493 MW in total, against a target of 100 MW. The awarded capacity was 100.55 MW, coming from 18 projects. The bid price ranged between EUR 0.0355/kWh and EUR 0.0521/kWh.

Israel

January 2020, 609 MW awarded in 2nd solar-plus-storage tender. The 33 successful proposals were submitted by seven developers where the Israel based Doral Group and SolGreen secured the largest lots. The tender set up a final tariff of ILS 0.1745 (USD 0.0544/EUR 0.0443) per kWh.

Japan

November 2020, 369 MW of solar awarded under 6th Solar Auction. The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has selected 368.8 MW solar power capacity under the country’s 6th solar auction wherein it sought proposals from projects with power generation capacity of 250 kW and above.

Under the call, METI wanted to procure 750 MW in total, received bids of 526.5 MW and awarded only 368.8 MW after all, selecting 254 as successful bids.

Portugal

August 2020, the second solar energy auction procured 700 MW. Portugal’s first solar auction, allocated1.15 GW of solar generation capacity – less than the 1.4 GW originally planned despite the exercise being oversubscribed.

The country’s second auction procured 700 MW procurement and awarded 670MW with the world record lowest bid of EUR 0.0112/kWh (USD 0.0132) of the time.

Recently announced auctions

United Kingdom

Late 2021, 4th allocation round targets 12GW of renewable energy capacity. The UK is targeting 12 GW from the fourth allocation round of its Contract for Difference (CfD) scheme. The round will include three technology pots with onshore wind and solar PV being readmitted to the scheme. The fourth round aims to increase the capacity of renewable energy from the 5.8 GW achieved in the last round in 2019 to up to 12 GW.

Poland

Late 2021, government to tender 2.2 GW of solar. Poland could award almost 2.2 GW of new renewable energy capacity in the planned auction rounds next year, the Ministry of Climate estimates.

Italy

2021, 7 bidding rounds will be held with approximately 4.8GW of renewable energy capacity. In the first procurement round, only one 5 MW solar plant was allocated with a bid price of EUR 60/MWh. The second auction allocated 19.3 MW of PV capacity across four projects with the lowest price being EUR 56/MWh. The 3rd and most successful auction had assigned 95.5 MW of solar capacity across four locations with a bid price EUR 0.06490/kWh. The last and 4th round of bidding allocated 20 MW of PV at EUR 0.06819/kWh.

Colombia

Q1 2021, planned 5 GW renewables auction.

France

June 2021, 700 MW tender for large-scale PV. 10th tender launched by the CRE for the construction of utility-scale solar PV projects exceeding 500 kW in size. The French authorities expect to allocate 450 MW for ground-mounted PV installations (>5 MW), 180 MW for PV projects (>500 kW and <5 MW), and 70 MW for projects to be built on parking shades.

Hungary

July 2021, tenders to reach 390 GWh of generating capacity per year.

Philippines

Green Energy Tariff Program auction regime to allocate 2 GW of renewable energy generation capacity.

Greece

May 2021, Greece plans to launch a combined tender for up to 350 MW of solar and wind power capacity. Greece’s Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE) has announced that the country will conduct its 3rd joint auction for wind and solar photovoltaics (PV) projects in May 2021. The price ceiling for both categories has been set at EUR 53.86 (USD 66.07) per MWh. The government plan is to launch 2.1GW of wind-solar auction by 2024.

South Africa

March 2021, the government plans to open a tender process to procure up to 2.6 GW of wind and solar power capacity.

Croatia

2021, the Croatian Government announces a 400 MW auction. The procurement exercise will be the country’s second attempt to support large-scale solar and wind under the current auction scheme that plans to assign 2.26GW of renewable energy capacity to drive renewable growth in the power mix.

5 top tips for applying for solar tenders

Keep it simple

While you may be tempted to enthusiastically submit reams of information about all your company can do for the project, opt for quality over quantity.

The government officials tasked with evaluating the bids have limited time and need to be able to quickly identify whether each bid meets the criteria. Make sure to address all points outlined in the tender specifications.

Offer grid stabilization

If you’re applying for a large tender utility-scale project, solar systems that incorporate stabilization methods such as battery storage or synchronous condensers are more likely to be approved as they maximize the energy and cost efficiency of the installation.

Bid competitively

Calculate a price that is neither too high for the government agency to accept nor too low to cover project costs. Consider that projects such as the Cadiz Port Authority’s rooftop installation give a 75-25 weighting to the price over the technical proposal.

Tailor references to the project

Select your past solar installations that are most relevant to the project as references. Discuss the bid with your referees in advance so they can tailor their responses to the tender specifications.

Use innovative design software

Accurate, detailed modeling and advanced design tools will help your bid stand out from the crowd.

Working with Rated Power’s pvDesign software will help you to improve the design and optimization of solar plants (that are >1MW) and submit winning bids for solar tenders.

Many of the companies who have been awarded with the auctions seen above have actually designed their projects with pvDesign. Do you want to be the next? Request a demo

Did you like this post?

Check all my articles!

Laura Rodríguez

Business developer

Related posts

Learn PV substation engineering and design automation with pvDesign
Technology and engineering

Learn PV substation engineering and design automation with pvDesign

Do you know why and how a solar farm connects to the grid? pvDesign automatically generates the best solution for an interconnection facility and chooses between a switching and breaking station, a line to transformer substation or a single/double busbar substations.

The potential for solar PV to enhance hydropower plants
Technology and engineering

The potential for solar PV to enhance hydropower plants

Adding floating solar photovoltaic panels to hydropower plants can maximize electricity generation efficiency. Read on to find out the latest developments.

How to design a PV plant with topography restrictions
Technology and engineering

How to design a PV plant with topography restrictions

When it comes to designing solar plant projects, the topography is incredibly important. Read on to find out how to best plan your solar project with topography restrictions