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Tamil Nadu is all set to roll out its 2018 solar policy. The state which stands 5th in installed solar capacities in India is forging ahead with all new determination to help the country achieve its target of 100GW of installed solar capacity by 2022. The policy draft, released by Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency, which currently seeks public solicitation aims to create a framework that enables an accelerated development of solar energy in the state. Let’s take a look at the key pointers and highlight from the draft below:
- The state aims to make solar energy the main source of energy. With this vision, the state will have an installed solar generation capacity of 8,884 MW by the year 2022 of which 40% will be met by consumer scale solar energy generators.
- An ecosystem will be established with clear and transparent policy governance to facilitate solar power deployment and encourage solar system adoption by consumers. For the same, a single window system for technical, funding and project clearance support will be established.
- Penalties specified by Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission (TNERC) shall be enforced on the DISCOM in case of failure to comply with the RPO mandates.
- 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.
- TNERC shall determine a dedicated solar energy storage feed-in tariffs which shall be designed to incentivize solar energy export to the grid at peak demand hours.
- Building type that requires being Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC)-compliant will follow ECBC compliance guidelines for the installation of Solar PV and Solar Thermal energy systems. The Directorate of Town and Country Planning in collaboration with local bodies shall amend their building by-laws to mandate ECBC.
- All public buildings will be mandated to meet 30% of their energy requirements from solar energy, streetlights, and water supply installation of Corporations, Municipalities and Local Urban Bodies are mandated to meet 30% of their energy requirements from solar energy and all State Government Departments shall replace 10% of their existing vehicle fleet with solar powered, electric vehicles by 2022.
- Solar energy will be exempted from electricity tax, grid connectivity, open access, wheeling, and banking and cross-subsidy charges.
- Property tax abatement shall be provided by Corporations, municipalities and local urban bodies to the domestic building that installs consumer scale solar energy systems.
- Suitable incentive schemes will be designed to promote solar energy generation in the agricultural sector and to promote the co-utilization of land for solar energy projects, crop cultivation, and rainwater harvesting.
- 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 will promote manufacturing of solar energy components in the state and land for the same will be identified. A single window process for all departmental approvals, including a set time limit for each approval, will also be designed.
- April 2019 onwards, new service connection meters shall be configured for energy recording and display so that all new service connections and existing service connections for which the meters are replaced in the normal course of maintenance are ready for effecting solar energy net metering at any time in the future.
- The billing system will be updated and enhanced by the distribution licensee such that relevant details pertaining to solar gross feed-in and net feed-in are included in the electricity consumers bills.
- The billing data of each consumer will be made available online by DISCOMs along with along with a sample bill explaining the various billing components above.
- The online application for gross feed-in and net feed-in will be promoted by the distribution licensee. The status of applications received for net-metering, both offline and online, will be displayed online by the licensee.
- All public and private schools in the state will be mandated to introduce curriculum on energy and environment into the syllabus of 9th standard students and higher education institutions will be mandated to host an annual energy and environment day to create awareness about climate change and the benefits of renewable energy as a climate mitigation strategy.
- The state will facilitate research and development in the solar energy sector.
The policy once effective would remain valid for the next five years unless suspended or modified by other government policy and will be monitored by the government annually to evaluate actual results against the policy objectives and added targets.
Tamil Nadu has one of the highest installed solar capacities in the country. In 2017 the state had solar installations with a cumulative capacity of 1,720 MW and has over 2000 MW of solar projects lined up for the calendar year 2018. Above this, the vision of the policy to create a sustainable future with solar energy clearly testifies the Tamil Nadu’s (link to TN solar policy page) determination to become a leader in solar energy. The policy has laid needed emphasis on the need to create education about the benefits of solar energy. It also takes into account the easy transformation process for consumers and ease of doing business for businesses along with transparency in the processes.