Kerala Releases Comprehensive Solar Policy Draft; Targets 500 MW by 2017

The Kerala government has been taking significant strides in promoting the use of solar in the state. Previous announcements such as the 10,000 rooftop solar(more details here, here and here) and the 75,000 rooftop solar program aims at proliferating the use of solar in the state with an aim to alleviate the growing energy deficit. Continuing in a similar vein, the Kerala government today released the draft Kerala Solar Policy 2013. It is expected that many of the topics will come up for discussions at the event Save Power Show , where the Director of ANERT, Prof(Dr) M. Jayaraju will be hosting a session on the implementation of Kerala’s 10,000 rooftop programme.
Some of the highlights of the solar policy include

  • The policy comes into force from April 1st, 2013
  • Targets – 500 MW by 2017 and 1500 MW by 2030
  • Implementation Strategy – Solar PV
    • Off-grid rooftop systems – residential, commerical (telecom towers, hoardings etc.)
    • Grid connected small scale systems
    • Installation of floating solar arrays over canals, reservoirs etc.
    • Off shore generating plants using solar thermal systems
    • Specific emphasis on the development of Balance of Supply (BoS) plants
    • Explore the use of energy storage systems with an emphasis on Pumped Hydro storage
  • Implementation Strategy – Solar Thermal
    • Widespread use of solar water heating systems (SWHS) by mandating compulsory use of such systems a la Bangalore
    • SWHS would be made mandatory for all industrial buildings, hospitals, hostels, hotels and residential buildings with an area of 3000 sq. ft. or more
    • Promoting the use of solar steam systems in community cooking institutions, industrial applications, laundries
    • Specific focus on water heating systems in industrial units with a view to provide hot water and steam for process requirements
  • Financing and Subsidies
    • Ensure bank finance at attractive rates
    • Focus on a GBI/FiT mechanism rather than capital subsidy
    • For grid connected systems, a BOOT model would be adopted for government buildings for implementation within two years
    • Net metering, FiT and REC mechanism would be tapped for grid-connected solutions in non-government buildings
    • For the REC mechanism, the government would periodically announce the APPC price – this is a very important measure
    • Implementation by domestic consumers would be encouraged in a phased manner after formulating (LT) grid connection standards
    • Competitive bidding and allocation would only be adopted for challenging projects (such as off-shore systems)
  • Infrastructure – a comprehensive/wholesome set of protocols would be formulated to improve the quality of the grid in general with specific focus on nano/community grids which would be integrated with the no load-shedding campaign
  • Regulatory Framework
    • KSEB would get first preference for power purchase (outside of captive consumption) at APPC price – this would greatly discourage third party sale
    • Tariff incentives would be decided based on existing consumption levels – we are likely to see “slabs” of tariff as seen in the case of domestic/commercial electricity tariff
    • Solar Procurement Obligation (SPO) will be mandated for Commercial consumers with more than 20 kVA connected load, LT Industrial with more than 50kVA connected load and for all HT & EHT consumers in a phased manner. All HT and EHT consumers shall have to procure 3% of their energy consumed through SPO till March 2014 and 6% from April 2014 onwards.  From April 2014 onwards the same shall be applicable for Commercial consumers and LT industrial as per the criteria mentioned above. The same shall be made applicable for high consuming domestic consumers. i.e., more than 500 units per month at a later stage.
    • SPO would be fulfilled in a manner similar to TN solar policy – through purchase from KSEB @ solar tariff, RECs, third party sale and installation of captive solar systems
    • SWHS (100 liters) and PV systems (100 kW) is mandatory for all buildings having floor area between 2000 Sq.ft. and 3000 Sq.ft.
    • SWHS (100 liters) and PV systems (500 kW) is mandatory for all buildings having floor area above 3000 Sq.ft.
    • Residential flats – 5% energy use for common ammenities from solar
  • Other Incentives and Facilities
    • No open access charges
    • No wheeling and T&D charges for captive consumers
    • Exemption of electricity duty
    • Conditional banking for captive generators
    • KSEB would create the necessary evacuation infrastructure

The document can be downloaded here.
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3 thoughts on “Kerala Releases Comprehensive Solar Policy Draft; Targets 500 MW by 2017”

  1. Comment _Draft _Kerala solar policy 2013
    It seems the policy is written to promote a system -Floatovoltaic” that does not exist anywhere in the world. Read a few messages under ‘Lobbying”. Alternatively, we could proceed with rooftop installations at a faster pace. Feed in Tariff could be decided taking into account the necessity. Many countries have done it. Japan is doing it now. It is a proven concept. It is in fact ‘dangerous’ to proceed with ‘floatovoltaic’. Our precious time is being wasted for a concept which does not exist anywhere in the world. How much money and time was spent by KSEB in the 90s for wave energy etc? It is still a concept under research. There are a few small plants in Pacific area.
    Also I fear the ‘land mafia’ may hijack the whole scheme for their advantage.
    Knowledgeable members of this forum may commend on the draft policy document uploaded today 5.3.13. I do not know to whom the comments is to be forwarded.
    I. 3. Mission
    ix. ‘balance of system’ to be corrected as “balance of system components”
    II 5. Strategy of implementation
    1.4. Why should we include the item ‘FLOATING SOLAR PLANTS’ in the
    policy when it is known that this concept is in an R&D stage? Nowhere in
    the world such plants are successfully commissioned. We are inviting
    conflicts and contradictions and prolonged litigations. Why not wait till we
    find one successful venture somewhere? Do we to be over smart?
    1.5. It is mentioned that “Offshore generating plants – primarily solar-thermal
    systems”. This may be the Ocean Thermal Plants. Note that this system
    is in an R&D stage. Why should we include this in the policy?
    1.10.Note the wording “Since developing Balance Of Supply (BoS) plants is essential to tap the employment opportunities presented by Solar to the fullest measure, the state will promote public sector enterprises like Keltron etc to manufacture BoS plants.”
    The wordings has to be rewritten defining Balance of System Components”.
    2. Promotion of solar thermal collectors
    It is better to avoid any budget provision for incentives for such activities. It
    could be better regulated by deciding tariff structure of KSEB and Feed in
    Tariff for solar energy. The present approach invites corruption and drain of budgetary
    3.5. It is advisable to wait for the result of R&D on floatovoltaic plants. It is recommended a public debate on this concept.
    4.0. Building Transmission and Distribution Infrastructure.
    It seems we are about to create ‘volumes of confusion’ in solar sector and solar harvesting.
    5.0 Legal and regulatory framework
    Legal framework for consumption of electricity does not go with the fundamentals of electricity distribution. A commercial establishment like KSEB should think of ways to generate more power and make profit by encouraging people to consume more energy. The framework envisaged, such as REC, SPO etc may not work as visualised. This is an ‘anti-industrialization’ move. There is a mention ‘Purchasing power from KSEB at Solar Tariff”. Here ‘solar tariff’ is not defined. Note that cost of solar energy will be cheaper than energy from fossil fuel in a few years.
    6.0. ‘Feed-in-Tariff’, ‘Net Metering” and ‘Pooled Cost of Energy’ of the utility applicable to Solar energy”
    The whole clause is confusing which needs redrafting.
    7.0 Request for connectivity
    KSERC has not published rules for connectivity. How can the utility be advised to follow a non-existing regulation?
    8.0. Procurement Policy on grid connected solar plant
    This clause is confusing. The procurement policy is to be governed by Feed in Tariff decided by the KSERC.
    9.0. Reservation of land for the renewable project
    Vested interests may use this clause to misuse arable land.

    1. Sivadasan, floating solar panels is not a new concept at all. Infact there are companies across the world which specalize in this e.g. ciel terre. I believe there is a proof of concept floating power plant operational right now in Bangalore. In addition to this, there is the “floating” solar panels installed across the Narmada Canal in Gujarat. I sincerely believe that this would not be a wasted endevor especially considering the lack of land availability in Kerala.

    2. Now who has to do the R&D? Do you only accept if it is done by some Non-keralite or Non-Indian? The real problem lies here. Whenever we tried for change there were always some narrow minded people who have never done anything for the country or society came with protest. KSEB lost money, time and effort in implementing wave energy project in 90’s. Though it may a loss in monetary aspects, now we are left the experience and knowledge which is in fact valuable for the better understanding, especially for the groundwork of the similar projects. A country’s prosperity now-a-days lies in its dexterity for the innovations.

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