Tamil Nadu power regulator seeks comments on solar power policy


Chennai : The Tamil Nadu state energy Regulatory Commission (TNERC) has invited comments and suggestions from stakeholders on its consultative paper on issues related to the government’s solar energy policy.

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The Tamil Nadu Energy Regulatory Commission (TNERC) has called for the comments/suggestions by Dec 28 on issues like solar purchase obligation, net metering, renewable energy certificate (REC) for solar power generators, banking of solar power, transmission and wheeling charges, cross subsidy surcharge, reactive power charges, adjustment of generated power for captive use and others.

According to TNERC, the consultative paper is necessitated as the state government has come out with Tamil Nadu Solar Energy Policy 2012 and also directed it to take necessary action on it under Section 108 of Electricity Act 2003.

The consultative paper is a prelude to TNERC’s order on issues mentioned in the state’s solar energy policy, the regulator said.

As per the policy, the state would make it compulsory for high tension power consumers like special economic zones (SEZ), industries, IT parks, telecom towers, colleges and residential schools and buildings with built up area of 20,000 square metre or more to purchase six percent solar power from January 2014.

The above category of consumers may fulfill their obligation by captive generation, buying from third party solar power generators or renewable energy certificates from solar power projects in Tamil Nadu or purchasing solar power from Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Ltd. (TANGEDCO) at solar power tariff.

As per the policy, installation of solar water heating systems would be made mandatory for industries having hot water boiler/steam boiler using fossil fuel.

Power consumers falling under domestic, agricultural, power looms, low tension industries, cottage and small-scale industries categories are exempted from solar power purchase obligation.

According to the consultative paper, for domestic rooftop solar generators the consumer meters shall be replaced with suitable meters for net metering.

The meter/meters for net metering shall be installed by the distribution licensee at the cost of the consumer/generator.

The TANGEDCO shall evolve a detailed procedure for implementation of net metering for domestic roof top solar generators and get the same approved from TNERC.

The procedure shall contain makes and standards for the meters, location of meter, reading of meter, maintenance of database, period of power credit, lapsing of balance energy etc.

“For net metering the general practice is that the tariff has to be the same for export as well as import of energy as the billing is done on net energy basis. The tariff is inclusive of government subsidy,” the consultative paper suggests.