Several States have implemented the policy

Despite the wide range of discussions the State witnessed against the backdrop of the solar panel scam, the government is yet to finalise a solar energy policy. Several States in the country have already implemented the policy to facilitate smooth generation and transmission of solar energy.

M. Jayaraju, Director, Agency for Non-conventional Energy and Rural Technology (ANERT), told The Hindu that the policy was drafted a fortnight ago and a final version would be published after the Cabinet approves it.

However, sources said a draft policy on solar energy had been conceptualised much earlier and the ANERT was supposed to implement it from April 1 this year. But the government did not approve the plan.

The basis of a policy on solar energy evolves from the Electricity Act, 2003, which emphasises on promotion of renewable energy. It mandates specified consumption from renewable sources in the commercial and domestic power circuit. Accordingly, Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) that includes solar power purchase obligations will become mandatory.

Draft policy

The draft policy aims at increasing the capacity of the solar sector in the State to 500 MW by 2017 and 1500 MW by 2030. It is expected to contribute to the long-term energy security apart from ensuring a substantial reduction in carbon emissions. Identification of end-users who can adapt solar energy, generation of direct and indirect employment opportunities, creation of skilled manpower and promotion of innovative solar-based systems and creation of a research and development hub in collaboration with educational institutions are among other objectives.

Water heating system

As part of the policy, the State intends to have mandatory use of solar water heating system (SWHS) in categories such as industrial buildings, government and private hospitals and nursing homes, hotels, resorts, catering units and industrial canteens. Individual residential buildings with an area of 3000 square feet and above within the limits of municipality/ panchayat/ corporations including housing complexes set up by group housing societies/ housing boards will also come under the purview of the policy. Grid connected systems will be promoted for government and non-government buildings as well as individual houses.

Incentive

A tariff incentive for consumers opting for solar generation will be offered with respect to non-solar consumption. Solar Procurement Obligation (SPO) will be mandated for commercial consumers with more than 20 kVA connected load, low tension industrial consumers with more than 50kVA connected load and for all high tension and extra high tension consumers in a phased manner.

All new domestic buildings having a floor area in between 2000 sq.ft to 3000 sq.ft should install at least 100 litres solar water heater and 500W solar photovoltaic system, according to the draft policy.

All the buildings above 3000 square feet should install 100 litre solar water heater and at least 1000W solar PV system.