The Kerala Solar Energy Policy, approved by the Cabinet on Wednesday, envisages use of tribal land for solar power projects.
The policy proposes a revenue (not profit) sharing mechanism for the landowner besides lease rentals for the land. The willingness of the landowner is mandatory.
(The policy proposals on solar installations on tribal land assume significance in view of controversy over dispossession of the land belonging to tribals in Attappady and installation of wind power units.)
The policy says that the land ownership rights shall continue to fully vest with the original owner (tribal). The developer shall have only rights to set up and operate the project. The landowner will have the right to use land for agricultural purpose. Revenue sharing based on the power generated, possibly in the range not below 5 per cent, is envisaged.
The payment of share of revenue, it adds, shall be made directly to the bank account of the landowner. For this purpose, a tripartite agreement has to be entered into among the developer, landowner, and the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB). Only lands which do not have an immediate productive use shall be thus identified or permitted.
It says that the prime responsibility for identifying land for renewable energy shall be with the developer. The government shall endeavour to assess clearly the land suitable for the development of solar installations in the possession of either the government or the private party or tribal individuals.
The policy proposes that the KSEB shall create evacuation facility beyond the pooling station for the projects with a capacity of less than or equal to 10 MW. For higher capacity plants, the KSEB shall construct evacuation facility on deposit work basis.
There shall be no open access charges for solar projects for wheeling power within the State. Wheeling and transmission and distribution losses will not be applicable for the captive solar generators within the State. The energy generated shall be fully exempted from electricity duty.
The Agency for Non-Convention Energy and Rural Technology (Anert) will be the nodal agency for non-conventional energy.
Administration of the policy will be entrusted with a State-level empowered committee headed by the Additional Chief Secretary or the Principal Secretary in charge of power.
The Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission will notify the normative feed-in-tariff of solar power procurement by the KSEB in case of off-site commercial installations.