Tamil Nadu announces a draft solar energy policy 2018

TEDA has recently announced the draft solar energy policy 2018. Earlier the state had Tamil Nadu policy 2012 (one of the first solar energy policy in the country.) The state has announced for a vision Tamil Nadu 2030 wherein the solar energy target for the state is of 5,000 MW. Under the targets set by MNRE, TN aims for an installed capacity of 8,884 MW of which (40%) that is 3,553 MW is to come from consumer scale rooftop solar system. Tamil Nadu solar energy Policy 2018 intends to create a framework that enables an accelerated development of solar energy in the state. It also intends to facilitate open access to the public electricity grid of the state and create opportunities for a grid-connected distributed generation of solar power in order to reduce the dependence on fossil fuels.

Key points of the draft policy as below:

  • If a DISCOM fails to comply with the RPO mandates, penalties specified by TNERC for such non‐compliance shall be strictly enforced.
  • Solar grid feed-in mechanisms included in the policy are:

 

Solar  energy gross feed-in (utility scale) The solar energy is fed into the grid and sold to the distribution licensee or a third party under the open access facility. In the case of distribution licensees, the solar energy fed into the grid will be purchased by the distribution licensee at the prevailing solar energy tariff as determined by the TNERC or a tariff determined by a bidding process
Solar energy wheeling (utility scale) The solar energy is fed into the grid and credited in one or more service connections of the solar energy producer. Solar energy wheeling will be
applicable to all electricity consumer categories and tariffs and for electricity service connections at any voltage level
Solar energy gross feed-in (consumer scale) The solar energy is fed into the grid and sold to the distribution licensee. An extra energy meter will be installed that records the consumption of energy at the premises to record the energy fed into the grid by the distribution licensee. The energy will be sold to the distribution licensee at the tariff determined under this mechanism can also be sold to a third-party under Open Access.
Solar energy net feed-in The solar energy is used for self-consumption with the surplus, if any, being exported to the grid. A bidirectional service connection energy meter will be installed by the distribution licensee to record the imported and exported energy. The imported energy is debited at the applicable consumer tariff while the exported energy is credited on the basis of a consumer solar energy tariff to be determined by TNERC.
Solar energy group net-metering: To encourage solar plants on rooftops of buildings that cannot consume all of the energy generated locally, there shall be Group Net Metering, whereby surplus energy exported to the grid from a solar plant in excess of 100 percent of imported energy at the location of the solar plant can be adjusted in any other (one or more) electricity service connection(s) of the consumer within the State of Tamil Nadu.
Solar energy virtual net feed-in To give access to the solar net feed-in facility for consumers who do not have a suitable roof for installing a solar system (e.g. residential consumers who live in apartments, consumers with shaded rooftops) there will be the facility of Virtual Net Feed-In. In Virtual Net Feed-In consumers can be beneficial owners of a part of a collectively owned solar system. All energy produced by a collectively owned solar system will be fed into the grid through an energy meter and the exported energy as recorded by that the meter will be pro rata credited in the electricity bill of each participating consumer on the basis of beneficial ownership.

 

Various solar project implementing models:

 

  • Self-owned: Solar PV system is owned and operated by the building owner/user
  • RESCO (Renewable Energy Service Company) owned: The Solar PV system is owned and
    operated by a RESCO. The consumer pays the RESCO for the solar generation and makes
    use of the solar energy gross feed-in or net feed-in mechanism.
  • Lease: The consumer leases the solar PV system from a leasing company and makes use of the
    solar energy gross feed-in or net feed-in mechanism.

 

Any person or entity willing to put a solar project needs to abide by the building by-laws and Energy Conservation Building Code Compliance (ECBC). All the public buildings are mandated to meet 30% of their energy requirement from solar energy by 2022.

 

Solar energy imported by the distribution licensee from non-obligated solar energy producers (including electricity consumers with gross or net feed-in facilities) can be claimed by the distribution licensee towards the fulfillment of their renewable energy purchase obligations (RPO).
The Government of Tamil Nadu wishes to promote the manufacturing of solar energy components including solar cells, inverters, mounting structures and batteries in the state. The land will be identified for the development of solar manufacturing. A single window process for all departmental approvals, including a set time limit for each approval, is expected to be designed.
An incentive program will be designed to promote the co-utilization of land for solar energy projects, crop cultivation, and rainwater harvesting.

 

The policy is open for suggestions and comments to individuals, organizations, and institutions till 15th October 2018.

MPUVNL announces new decentralized solar policy and rooftop solar tariff reaches at INR 1.38/kWh

  • Madhya Pradesh Govt. recently introduced a decentralized solar policy to encourage the development of the decentralized RE projects and applications in the state. The policy allows decentralized RE systems of the following types:
  1. Grid-connected RE systems:
  • Category I: On Net-metering basis
  • Category II: Gross metering with wheeling and banking
  • Category III: For consumption within premises with no export of power (Reduction in the base load during the day)
  • Off-Grid RE systems
  • The policy also encourages Net-metering RE systems under the categories mentioned above. The system capacity for both grid-connected and off-grid is of 2 MW. Bulk consumers who are single point consumers are also eligible under the policy.
  • The maximum permissible capacity of the RE systems for all the Net-metered RE systems connected to a particular distribution transformer of the licensee’s grid shall be equal to the rated capacity of the said distribution transformer w.r.to MPERC Net metering regulations 2015.
  • In case the cumulative capacity of the proposed RE system exceeds, it is the distribution transformers responsibility to provide the infrastructure to accommodate the proposed capacity.
  • In the case of an LT Net metered consumer, the RE beneficiary will not bear the cost of the augmentation of the infrastructure, whereas, in case of the HT consumer, the infrastructure will be upgraded by the distribution licensee at the cost of the consumer.
  • In case installation of the decentralized renewable energy system for low tension (LT) consumer requires system augmentation, such as replacement of existing distribution transformer (DT) with a DT of higher capacity, the entire cost related to augmentation for the interconnection of the renewable energy system with the network of the DISCOM will be borne by the DISCOM. The DISCOM can claim it as part of the ARR filing.
  • Excess or surplus energy remaining banked with the distribution licensee at the end of the year will be settled at an Average Pooled Power Purchase Cost (APPC).
  • Ways to implement the RE projects under RESCO include:
  • Build Own Operate Maintain (BOOM): RESCO will Build, own and operate the system for its lifetime period and supply power to the consumer for the lifetime agreement. RESCO will uninstall the infrastructure once the lifetime period is over and build the roof in the same condition.
  • Build Own Operate Transfer (BOOT): RESCO will finance, develop own and supply power to the consumer from the RE system for the lifetime period under the agreement. Post the agreement period, the system will be transferred to the RE consumer as per the agreement, wherein the consumer can assign the RESCO for the O&M maintenance under the suitable agreement between both the parties.
  • Incentives on various charges are as follows: Open access to be available to all RE systems specified in the MPERC open access regulations 2015, Wheeling charges will be available to all RE systems as specified in the MPERC regulations. Further, Govt. of MP will provide a grant of 4% in terms of energy injected and the balance if any, shall be borne by the RE consumer.
  • Cross-subsidy is exempted for RE system under this policy and net metered systems are exempted from banking charges & wheeling charges as per MPERC regulation 2015. However, Category II, III and Off-Grid systems ate not exempted from the above-mentioned charges.
  • Electricty duty will not be applicable to the producer of renewable energy beneficiary, consumer, licensee for supply, sale or consumption of RE from generating systems installed under this policy for a period of 10 years from the date of start of supply.
  • Consumers connected at LT level will be exempted from electricty duty for a lifetime of the RE system.
  • The installation of the RE system on the premises of the RE beneficiary will not be considered in the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) and will be provided additional FAR for construction in the premises according to the capacity proposed as per the regulations by Urban Development & Housing Dept. Govt. of Madhya Pradesh.
  • Energy consumed from net-metered renewable energy system by a non-obligated entity qualifies towards renewable purchase obligation (RPO) compliance of the concerned distribution company (DISCOM). The DISCOM does not need to pay for such power.

In addition to the policy, in a new auction for the rooftop RE system, a new tariff of INR 1.38/kWh was discovered for the 35 kW rooftop capacity. The tariff has reduced more than the last discovered tariff for rooftop capacity auction at INR 1.58/kWh.

Energy Ministers discuss hydro power revival at the bi-annual state power ministers’ conference

Recently at a Pan-India biannual energy ministers meet in Simla, the water scarcity of Simla and woes of power sector were discussed. The host state Simla suggested immediate and long-term reforms in the hydro power sector. Himachal Pradesh’s Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur requested the government to give hydropower similar status as solar power.

“For years, the people of Himachal have given their land and labor for the growth of hydro power in the state. They have not been duly compensated till yet even after giving up their river catchment areas and natural resources. The pain of displacement from their ancestral land still exists. We urge the Central agencies to expedite the compensation,” – Jai Ram Thakur, Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh.

He further suggested that “hydro sector needs ‘Hydro Purchase Obligation” for assured take-off of power, medium term sale of hydro power, giving renewable status to hydro is the need of the hour and we urge the Centre to look into these demand.”

In other developments, the draft amendments in the National Tariff Policy 2018 also has a clause suggesting exclusion of Hydro Power and “waste heat gases as a byproduct of industrial process” from RPO calculation. The draft NTP proposes to change the basis of calculation of RPO. It states that consumption from hydropower and from “waste heat gases as a byproduct of industrial process” shall be deducted to calculate RPO.

Further the Union Minister RK Singh suggested of a new hydro policy in the pipeline and said that “All advanced countries are exhausting their hydro capacity. In the past few years, hydro projects have been stalled because of that (protests) and geological challenges. The hydro power (delay in commissioning of projects) then becomes costly.”

The new policy is supposed to have points like:

  • To bring down the capital cost of hydro power projects
  • To discontinue mandatory sale of free power for 10-12 years so that the developers can recover the cost
  • To provide soft loans no longer than 30 years

All these points are in turn supposed to reduce the cost of hydropower projects.

Shimla hosted close to 18 state power ministers, 29 senior officials from 26 states at the conference. Currently, Shimla is facing a major water scarcity and the tourism is also affected due to this. Hydropower and tourism are two major revenue generation activities in the state.

Ministry of Power announces renewed RPO trajectory for long-term

Ministry of Power (MoP) recently announced an order for long-term growth trajectory of Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) for solar and Non-solar for a period of three years i.e. 2019-20 to 2021-2022. In order to achieve the target of 175 GW of RE by March 2022, the MoP in consultation with MNRE notified the long-term trajectory for RPO as below:

The obligations described are on total consumption of electricity by an obligated entity excluding consumption from the hydro source of power. It is necessary that the achievements of solar RPO compliance are up to 85% and above. If so, the remaining shortfall if any can be met by excess non-solar purchased beyond Non-solar RPO for that particular year. The same goes in case of Non-solar compliance which will be met by solar, beyond the solar RPO for that year.

RPO mechanism has been in the frame for a long time but have its own share of ups and down. Since last year, the process is getting back on trade and REC trading is also working consistently. MNRE recently announced about building an RPO compliance cell providing aid to SERCs for better implementation.

An article by Quartz India has also talked about how the Indian government is now pursuing major energy consumers to take the renewable energy route and has quoted entrepreneurs in the industry expressing their views on the current developments.

The trend till now has seen states not following their RPO obligations religiously. It is known by all the states that RPO is very important and abiding by it is mandatory. The order also falls under the National Tariff Policy 2016, which in itself is a recommendatory document in nature.

The updated RPO targets also come into the picture after the country’s  Power Minister R.K.Singh announced in an interview about the increased capacity target to 227 GW from 175 GW earlier.

Union government proposes to build a National Discom consulting the state discoms

In recent news, the Union Government has planned to set up a national power distribution company that will have a grip on the state discoms in electricity distribution activities and ensure timely implementation of central schemes.

The proposed company is said to compete with the private firms and contractors to bag contracts for appointing franchises or engineer tenders. Currently, there is no national-level distribution company, only small level distribution consultancy wings like Rural Electrification Corporation (REC), Power Grid Corporation and NTPC. The new company will act as a consultancy firm without acquiring a distribution license. This announcements also gives support to the Prime Minister’s wish to of giving power to all till the 2019 elections.

Similar to the National Tariff Policy (NTP) 2016 amendments, the draft Electricity Act is also in the process of being circulated for comments. The proposed amendments suggest separation of distribution infrastructure ownership from power supply licenses and also penalties in income for unexpected load shedding.

According to Deutsche Bank Market Research report, the annual losses of discoms have reduced by 70% to approximately INR 17,350 crore in the past two years.

We feel that with various amendments being proposed in the policies if the implementation is carried out strategically, the state of country’s electrification will see a new sun in the coming years.

National hybrid wind and solar policy announced by MNRE

Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) announced the National Wind-Solar Hybrid policy in a press release on 14th May 2018. The objective behind this is to provide a framework for promoting large grid-connected wind and solar PV hybrid system for efficient utilization of transmission infrastructure and land. Along with this, it also aims to help reduce the inconsistency in the renewable power generation and in turn achieve better grid stability.

The policy also intends to encourage new technologies, methods, and solutions related to the combined operation of wind and solar PV plants.

The summary of the policy is as below:

  • According to the policy, the Wind Turbine Generators (WTGs) and Solar PV systems both will be configured to operate at the same point of grid connection.

  • The integration of wind and solar can vary depending on the size of each source and their technology type.

  • If the wind turbines are connected to the grid at a fixed speed using an inducing generation, the integration can be on the High Tension (HT) side at the AC output bus.

  • And in case of variable speed, wind turbines using inverters for connecting to the grid, the wind, and solar system can be connected to the intermediate DC bus of the AC-DC-AC converter.

  • Depending on the size of the respective renewable capacity, the other resource can be integrated. However,  a plant will only be considered hybrid if the power capacity of anyone resources is at least 25% of the rated power capacity of the other resource. (i.e. wind and solar).

  • The implementation will depend on various configuration and technology:

                      1. Wind-Solar hybrid – AC integration

                      2. Wind-Solar hybrid – DC integration

                      3. New Wind-Solar hybrid plants

  • The hybrid power generated from the wind-solar hybrid project can be used for captive, sale to third-party through Open Access, sale to the distribution company (ies) either at tariff determined by the respective SERC or at tariff discovered through transparent bidding process; and ) sale to the distribution company (ies) at APPC under REC mechanism and avail RECs.

  • In case of bidding, the Central/State can follow competitive bidding process and can select the winner on the basis of the tariff.

  • The additional power generated from the hybrid plant can also be used for solar/non-solar RPO fulfillment.

  • Battery storage is also enabled in the hybrid projects.

Central Electricity Authority and CERC shall formulate necessary standards and regulations including metering methodology and standards, forecasting and scheduling regulations, REC mechanism, grant of connectivity and sharing of transmission lines, etc. for wind-solar hybrid systems.

With significant capacity additions in renewables in recent years and with Hybrid Policy aiming at better utilization of resources, it is envisaged that the Hybrid Policy will open-up a new area for availability of renewable power at competitive prices along with reduced variability. A scheme for new hybrid projects under the policy is also expected shortly.

In conclusion, the new policy for hybrid wind-solar plants seems to be a good move at a Pan-India level as all the states will get an opportunity to utilize the much abundant renewable sources (Wind and Solar) in the country. We here at REConnect feel that if the implementation of this policy is done correctly, India will get a step closer to its goal of installing 175 GW renewable capacity till 2022.

The detailed policy can be found here.

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