Ritesh: Another large nail in the coffin for Solar in India. Business interests taking pre-eminence over actual solutions. Wind power is no guarantee of power and TN will continue to suffer power cuts those months of the year that wind turbines don’t rotate. Interest in TN as a Solar investment destination will wane significantly based on this order – A short term gain for a huge long term loss.
An appellate body for power sector disputes has set aside the Tamil Nadu government’s rule requiring industries to meet a portion of their energy needs through solar power
APTEL, the appellate body for power sector disputes has set aside the Tamil Nadu government’s rule requiring industries to meet a portion of their energy needs through solar power, in a setback for the power-starved state’s solar plans.
The Appellate Tribunal for Electricity on Tuesday ruled on a challenge filed by the Tamil Nadu Spinning Mills Association, an industry body whose members say they run wind farms with over 3 gigawatt capacity, nearly half of the state’s wind capacity.
K Venkatachalam, chief advisor to the association, confirmed the setting aside of the solar order through an email statement.
He further said that “no HT (high-tension) consumer is obligated for the solar purchase obligation in any manner”. The full order wasn’t available at the time of this report going to the press.
Last year, the state government introduced a solar purchase obligation of 3% (for 2013) and 6% (2014 onwards) in an attempt to add 3 gigawatt solar power by 2015 from virtually next to nothing in early 2013. Tamil Nadu, thus, became the only state to have such mandatory requirements for solar power use. The Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission had approved the plan.
Solar developers preferred to wait for the finer details of the order before commenting on its implications.
However, Tobias Engelmeier, joint MD at the New Delhi-based consulting firm Bridge To India Energy, termed it as a setback to the state’s solar plan. He said: “One of the reasons why developers looked at Tamil Nadu was the solar purchase obligation because it assured them of a definite market. Now this will have an implication in the 1,000-megawatt tender process and the signing of power purchase agreements”.
Tamil Nadu had invited bids for building solar plants with a total capacity of 1,000 megawatt. And, though over 50 solar developers have signed the letters of intent to set up nearly 700 megawatt capacity, the power purchase agreements haven’t yet been signed.