Other, solar, Solar-Offgrid

Lack of clarity grounds Tamil Nadu government’s solar power plan

According to reports, though the Tamil Nadu government is coming up with incentives to encourage installation of rooftop solar power systems, lack of implementation of these policies is holding people back from solarising their buildings.

Further to a bunch of incentives announced in the solar policy announced last October, the government recently announced an additional subsidy of 20,000 per household for setting up a rooftop system. However, six months after the policy was announced, there is no word yet on how the incentives and subsidies will be passed on to people. 

For instance, the government promised a generation-based incentive of 2 per kilowatt hour generated by a household, but how the money will reach people is something it has not yet spelt out. There is no clarity on how electricity generated will be measured either.

“If you call the electricity board for details on net meters, they don’t have any idea, and say they are still awaiting instruction. The government order has come but there has to be technical notes to it,” said R Chellappan, managing director of Swelect Energy Systems. “Even on the subsidy of 20,000, there is no clarity yet on how this will work with the central subsidy,” he said.

Today, there is a central government subsidy of 30% on the price of the system, and the state government promises a further capital subsidy. “Even the central subsidy hasn’t reached us, so we cannot be sure if the state subsidy will be passed on to companies,” said KE Raghunath, managing director, Solkar Solar Industry.

With residents suffering hours of power cuts, there is an increased interest to install rooftop solar systems, industry experts say. But implementation issues are preventing people from going ahead.

This lack of clarity is affecting installation of solar systems in industrial and commercial buildings too. While the solar policy mandates industries and commercial entities to procure 6% of their power from solar sources, there has been no official communication along with guidelines on how to go about this. The state nodal agency in-charge claims that bringing out specific rules based on the policy is a long drawn process and that guidelines are in the works.

“The electricity regulatory commission is holding public hearings and the issues will be sorted and guidelines will be out soon,” said Sudeep Jain, chairman and managing director of Tamil Nadu energy development agency.



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