Is Tamil Nadu moving too fast in implementing its solar policy?

In early October 2012, stakeholders in the Indian solar sector were feeling nervous about the lack of project pipeline, especially given the fact that JNNSM Phase 2 guidelines were not yet announced, Gujarat had already completed commissioning a majority of projects it had targeted, and there were no major announcements from state governments. The lackluster trading of RECs due to lack of RPO enforcement further added to the gloom in the industry.
Enter Tamil Nadu. On October 21, Tamil Nadu announced that it is planning to construct 3 GW of solar projects in the next 3 years.This was unprecedented in the short history of solar in the country. Andhra Pradesh followed suit with an announcement of its intention to allot 1 GW of projects this year. Meanwhile, Rajasthan resumed its bidding process and MNRE came with the draft guidelines for the Phase 2 of the JNNSM. In a span of a few months, the morale of the solar improved drastically.
However, there is lot of apprehension about how many of these policies will be implemented. This has been especially true in case of Tamil Nadu. After the pre-bid meeting on 19th December 2012, Economic Times analyzed some of the challenges that face the developers, especially the tight deadlines. The challenges included land acquisition, payment security, anti-dumping investigations, L1 tendering processSeveral industry participants like V Subramanian , former secretary of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Pashupathy Gopalan, MD of Sun Edison, Narasimhan Santhanam, Founder of Energy Alternatives India, Bharat Bhooshan Agrawal of Bloomberg New Energy Finance and myself had shared our views with ET.
This is what RESolve had to say- ”there would be pressure on developers to acquire land or sign MoUs with landowners in a very short time, as the bid period is short. In addition, some of the time available after the selection will also be taken up for load-flow studies. Also, it would put pressure on contractors as well in terms of resource mobilisation.”
The complete article can be found here.
On the positive side, Tamil Nadu is known for its leadership in renewable energy(especially in Wind energy) and the officials at TEDA, TNEB, Tangedco, etc are well informed about these challenges. The Chief Minister(CM) of TN has in the past demonstrated her drive to succeed against all odds. The success of the rainwater harvesting initiative(details available here and here ) in Tamil Nadu is a case in point. At the end of the day, the CM’s determination will ensure that the policy will succeed despite all the apprehensions.
Note : We have started a LinkedIn Forum for sharing news,insights and perspectives on solar specific to Tamil Nadu. The group is updated every day and several stakeholders have already joined the group. I invite you to join the group and share your views there. The link to the group is
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