Solar and Other Renewable Policy Roundup_ Key Announcements From September 2019

Central and state government agencies made several key policy announcements in September aimed at removing the bottlenecks in the solar industry. The most important announcement of the month was made by the finance ministry that reduced the corporate taxes in a bid to propel the sluggish economy.

The following are some of the key announcements made by the state and central government for September 2019.

Center:

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) issued a clarification regarding the subsidy applicable for rooftop solar installations by individual residential households under phase-II of grid-connected rooftop solar program.



The finance ministry passed an ordinance bill to give the Indian economy a fiscal stimulus of $20.4 billion by way of reducing corporate tax rates from 30% to 22% for domestic companies.  The move is expected to impact corporate India positively as it will increase the after-tax profits of these companies.

The MNRE issued a notification shedding light on its earlier order regarding the compulsory registration under the Approved Models and Manufacturers of Solar Photovoltaic Modules.  The ministry has stated that the list would consist of List-1, which specifies the models and manufacturers of solar PV modules, while List-II will specify the models and manufacturers of solar PV cells. Both the lists will come into effect from March 31, 2020.

The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) issued regulations for the Power System Development Fund (PSDF), which will come into effect from the date of their publication in the Official Gazette. According to the CERC notification, the fund would be created by credits received from a variety of charges collected, which include congestion charges that are in surplus after the amounts are paid to the eligible regional entities along with interest, if any, according to the Congestion Relief Regulations.

States:

The Andhra High Court quashed the state government’s order and letter issued to renewable developers to reduce their quoted tariffs.  Considering the health of the distribution companies in the state, and that fact that developers need liquidity to keep the projects in operation, the court has directed them to immediately pay ₹2.43 ($0.034)/kWh and ₹2.44 ($0.034)//kWh to wind and solar developers respectively. However, this is only an interim relief for the outstanding payments by the DISCOMs.

To facilitate the growth of renewable energy generation systems in the state, the Chhattisgarh State Electricity Regulatory Commission (CSERC) approved the regulations for distributed renewable sources. These regulations would apply to prosumer distributed renewable energy systems owned by prosumer or third parties.

Through the approval of a petition filed by Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam Limited and Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam, the Haryana Electricity Regulatory Commission gave its approval to install grid-connected solar-powered tube well pumps in the state. The pilot project involves the installation of 468 solar pumps totaling a cumulative capacity of around 2.9 MW.

The Gujarat government relaxed the state’s solar policy to allow micro, small, and medium enterprises to install solar projects that are more than 100% of their sanctioned load or contract demand.

The Uttarakhand Electricity Regulatory Commission (UERC) approved the extension of benchmark capital cost and generic tariff for the financial year 2019-20 (up to October 2020) for the upcoming solar projects of 52 MW in the state.

Lastly, the Rajasthan government, through the Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corporation Limited, launched its Solar Energy Policy 2019. The policy aims to deploy 25 GW of solar energy capacity in the state by 2020-2021 and 50 GW over the next 5-6 years to meet the renewable purchase obligations (RPOs) of distribution companies.

Image credit: Jeremy Buckingham [CC BY 2.0]