Higher Power Tariffs, Not Policy Support, Driving India’s Rooftop Market

In another case involving delay in commissioning of a solar project, the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) has declared that the petitioner, a rooftop solar project installer, is not entitled to any of the reliefs sought for due to the delay in commissioning. The petition in question was filed by a resident of Harihara taluk in Davangere district.

According to the petition, a 100 kW rooftop solar project was installed after the approval of Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited (BESCOM), which is the respondent in the case, and a PPA with tariff ₹9.56 (~$0.130)/kWh was entered between the two parties on December 31, 2015.

The Additional Chief Electrical Inspector approved the drawings pertaining to the electrical installation of the project and issued the approval on August 5, 2016. The petitioner then submitted a work completion report on August 20, 2016 and subsequently it was provided safety approval for the project on September 28, 2016. Hereafter, the project was commissioned on December 26, 2016.

After the petitioner started supplying power, BESCOM signed another PPA for the project on December 14, 2016. According to the previous PPA, the respondent had to pay at ₹9.56 per unit, whereas as per the new PPA, the tariff was set at ₹6.14 (~$0.083)/kWh.



To this, the commission has passed its order, stating that as a part of the state government’s solar policy dated May 22, 2014 and per other guidelines, the time prescribed for commissioning the project is 180 days and there is no provision for extending it.

“In respect of plants for which PPAs that have been entered into prior to May 1, 2016 and are commissioned within the period of time as stipulated by the ESCOMs concerned or the Commission prior to the date of issue of this order, the tariff as per the commission’s order on October 10, 2013 shall be applicable. Such plants shall be eligible for the revised tariff if they are not commissioned within the stipulated time-period and there shall be no extension in time period for commissioning them,” observed the commission.

The commission stated that since the petitioner has failed to install the project as per the terms of the respondent’s scheme, and since the generic tariff fixed in the PPA was revised much before the project was ready for commissioning, the rooftop solar project will be eligible for the revised tariff of ₹6.14 (~$0.083)/kWh as per the new PPA.

Recently, KERC had dismissed another petition filed by Emmvee Photovoltaic Power Private Limited, stating that the solar power developer is not entitled to the relief due to project commissioning delay of one day. The ruling was extremely harsh considering the dispute was based on a matter of hours and the fact that the developer had some evidence showing power injection activity.

Maintaining its tough stand on delays in project commissioning date, KERC recently passed a similar ruling in which it dismissed the petition filed by Marakka Solar Power Project LL.P stating that it is not entitled to relief under force majeure (unforeseeable) events.