AP powering up solar photo-voltaic projects

V. Rishi Kumar | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on August 29, 2013

A solar power farm of photo-voltaic panels in Visakhapatnam. — A. Manikanta Kumar   -  The Hindu

Comes out with norms to encourage installation of rooftop units at homes and commercial complexes

The Andhra Pradesh Government has initiated several measures to encourage installation of solar photo-voltaic projects in the State, including roof-top solar units.

It expects the pace of implementation to pick up in the second half of 2013 and next year.

Solar power generation is yet to pick up in Andhra Pradesh in spite of a series of measures announced by the State Government, including a comprehensive policy for private developers.

While States such as Gujarat and Rajasthan have made strides in encouraging and attracting investments from the private sector with their own policies, Andhra Pradesh is still a little away from translating its plans into reality. Gujarat has already managed to have an installed base of close to 900 MW.

M. Sahoo, Special Chief Secretary, Energy, Government of Andhra Pradesh, has said the implementation has still not taken off in spite of the efforts initiated by the State Government. The focus now will be on stepping up the implementation of the projects by addressing their concerns and building a campaign to communicate the advantages of solar power.

The State Government had announced a policy framework late last year to encourage the setting up of grid-connected solar PV projects. It had invited bids from developers to set up over 1000 MW in 12 months after they get the mandate and letter of intent to develop the projects.

Tariff structures

A Group of Ministers constituted by the Government, after studying tariff structures offered in some other States, have decided to offer a tariff of Rs 6.49.

The State policy for captive and third-party sale offers incentives such as exemption of wheeling and transmission charges, cross-subsidy surcharges, electricity duty in case of captive use, and refund of VAT for all inputs required for solar power projects. In addition, these projects are entitled for stamp duty and registration charges for the purchase of land required for the project.

Based on the offer, the State announced last month that it has received offers for setting up 418 MW under the solar policy. The State Government claims the response has been good. However, it has now decided to encourage more developers to avail themselves of the opportunity to take up solar PV generation projects under the policy.

AP Transco, which has been chosen as the nodal agency for inviting bids and facilitating the implementation of the projects, received 331 bids from 184 companies for projects in 161 locations. In the end, 35 bidders interested in setting up a capacity of 418 MW, had come forward with their intent.

With some more developers showing interest to take part in the setting up of projects in the State, the Government decided to encourage them by offering them some more time to come forward with their proposals. The State has accorded sanction for about 1200 MW for grid connectivity.

Interaction with some of the developers in the recent past has shown that they expressed concern over the tariff proposal of Rs 6.49 a unit. They felt Rs 7 would have been ideal as Tamil Nadu is offers a facility to enhance tariff through an escalation clause.

The State power generation corporation AP Genco, too, has decided to pitch in to set up 150 MW of solar power farms by investing about Rs 1,000 crore over the next 18 months.

Roof-top units

The State Government has also come out with norms to encourage installation of rooftop units at homes and offices and other commercial complexes. These could be for total captive consumption by setting up back-up batteries or making use of the grid-connected net metering facility. The State has announced move to offer 20 per cent additional subsidy for setting up these roof-top units. This will be in addition to the 30 per cent subsidy offered by the Central Government. Those who set up a one kilowatt solar power generation facility with net meteringwill be able to implement the project by investing Rs 50,000 against the investment of Rs 1 lakh. The cost of implantation comes down due to State and Central subsidies.

The State Government has also initiated moves to set up roof-top solar PV units at public places, Government offices, district collectorates and other establishments.

Already several units have been set up in State Secretariat, Vidyut Soudha, some education campuses and IT facilities. The idea is to showcase them for replication by others.

Published on August 29, 2013
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