The Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Limited (GUVNL) can now procure power from solar energy generating systems of Salt Pan Workers of Self Employed Women Association (SEWA) during the off-season period when the energy generated remains unutilized.
The procurement will be done at average pooled power purchase cost fixed by the GUVNL for the year in which the parties enter an agreement for power sale.
The GUVNL had petitioned the Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission (GERC) seeking its approval for the procurement of solar from SEWA’s solar systems. In its petition, the GUVNL submitted that there are approximately 3,000 salt pan workers having solar panels with an aggregate capacity of 2.7 MW. They do not fall in the category of captive generating project or selling the energy to any third party. Panels are procured by the salt pan workers on low interest loans from the banks and they have to repay their debts to banks regularly. Therefore, this sale of solar power will be an additional income for them.
After reviewing the petition, the GERC observed that according to the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Power for the procurement from solar projects, the minimum capacity should be 50 MW. As the capacity in question was only 2.7 MW, it would not qualify to participate in the bidding process.
In its ruling, the commission also observed that the solar power project was set up mainly for running the water pumps for production of salt in the Little Rann of Kutch. The self-consumption and the sale of power will only be during the off-season period to optimize the utilization of the panels and generate some revenue for the economic uplift of SEWA which will be helpful from the socio-economic aspect also.
Considering these factors, the GERC approved GUVNL’s request to procure 2.7 MW solar from SEWA at the average pooled power purchase cost. The state commission has asked the GUVNL to enter power purchase agreement with SEWA for 2.7 MW solar capacity and to host the PPA on its website.
Recently, the GERC announced new regulations for the forecasting, scheduling, and deviation settlement of solar and wind generating sources in the state.
Image credit: MIT