Policy Developments in India’s Solar and Other Renewables in August 2019

The month of August witnessed policy announcements related to net metering, distributed solar, rooftop solar, and even inverter related regulations. The ministry showed leniency in the solar parks program in a move to assist developers in commissioning projects in these areas. Following are some of the significant policy announcements at the national and state levels for the month of August 2019:

Center:

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has recently amended the guidelines for implementing the Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM) program for the agricultural sector solarization in India. Only manufacturers of solar water pumps or solar modules will be allowed to bid for projects in this domain. The MNRE has also issued a memorandum for state-wise renewable energy capacity allocation under the KUSUM program.

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change published a draft policy called National Resource Efficiency Policy (Draft) 2019. This measure has been taken to prep the solar photovoltaic (SPV) sector of the looming SPV waste.



The MNRE has approved the series guidelines for grouping solar inverters. These guidelines are related to conducting tests in laboratories for the implementation of quality control order that was introduced in 2017. This would also include any change in the design and material for the testing of solar inverters in test labs for the compulsory registration with the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).

The MNRE issued operational guidelines to implement phase two of its grid-connected rooftop solar program. Around 22 GW of rooftop SPV projects will be established under phase two of this program. The program also aims to promote domestic manufacturing of solar cells and modules.

The MNRE came out with new benchmark costs for off-grid SPV systems and solarization of grid-connected agricultural pumps for FY 2019-20.

The MNRE also issued new guidelines incorporating changes in the project timelines for the development of solar parks in the country. The modifications state that solar parks approved in and after FY 2017-18 under Phase II of the Solar Park Program will be completed in two years from the date of the in-principal approval or one year from February 5, 2019, whichever comes later.

The MNRE clarified that energy from the ocean like tidal, wave, ocean thermal energy conversion, will be accepted as renewable energy.

The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has issued a notification to address the procedure, terms, and conditions for the grant of licenses for electricity trading. The draft notification sets the general, financial, and technical criteria that companies have to achieve to be granted trading licenses.

States:

The Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC) for the state of Goa and union territories has finalized the net metering regulations. These regulations will apply to grid-connected rooftop-mounted, ground-mounted and floating solar PV power projects in Goa and the union territories of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadar & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, Lakshadweep, and Puducherry.

The Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) has issued an order setting the generic tariff for solar projects in the state for the period starting April 1, 2019, and ending March 31, 2020.

In a step to curb pollution in the city, the Delhi Electricity Regularity Commission (DERC) has cut down the rates of charging stations for e-rickshaws and other electric vehicles. In November of 2018, the Delhi Electric Vehicle Policy was launched with the objective of improving Delhi’s air quality by reducing emissions in the transport sector.