The Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission (KSERC) has extended the validity of its incentives for off-grid solar projects by extending the program by another two years.
KSERC, in its order dated September 30, 2014, had provided the provision of incentives for off-grid captive solar power projects. The commission had directed the licensees to provide generation-based incentive at the rate of ₹1.00 ($0.014)/kWh for a period of five years from September 30, 2014, or until Kerala State Electricity Board Ltd. (KSEB) meets its solar renewable power purchase obligation (RPO) for any year. KSEB is yet to reach its RPO targets while the ongoing program expired on September 30, 2019.
The commission has also stated that the solar power for which the incentive has been paid by the licensee to the consumer should be accounted towards the solar RPO of each licensee.
KSEB has taken several steps to meet its RPO, like 200 MW through its Soura program, 200 MW solar power through competitive bidding route, and 92 MW floating solar power from NTPC.
While KSEB has taken these steps, the commission observed that it might take another two years for the power from these projects to flow into the grid.
Considering the shortfall on the part of the KSEB, the commission feels that it is necessary to promote off-grid solar generation by providing suitable incentives.
The order also states that the entities who want to avail generation-based incentives from the licensees will have to apply for it with details such as the capacity of the off-grid solar system, consumer number, and address of the premises where the off-grid solar system is or proposed to be installed. The power generated will be separately metered for which a solar meter will be installed at the expense of the consumer.
Earlier this year, the Kerala Government launched Soura program to add 1,000 MW of solar projects to the existing capacity of Kerala State Electricity Board Limited (KSEBL) by 2022. The projects will be implemented under the Urja State Kerala Mission and will be executed to fulfill the state’s RPO. The Soura program involves 500 MW rooftop solar, 200 MW of ground-mounted solar, 100 MW of floating solar, 150 MW of solar park, and 50 MW of canal top solar projects to be installed by 2022.
Previously, the state passed an order for the cancellation of a tender for 200 MW of ground-mounted solar power projects. The project was retendered through a competitive bidding process in March 2019.
Rakesh is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Prior to joining Mercom, he worked in many roles as a business correspondent, assistant editor, senior content writer, and sub-editor with bcfocus.com, CIOReview/Silicon India, Verbinden Communication, and Bangalore Bias. Rakesh holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU).