National

Subsidy regime blamed for solar scam

Vinson Kurian Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on March 13, 2018

A renewable energy expert has blamed the raging ‘solar scam’ on the subsidy regime made applicable for generation of solar energy.

Subsidy scheme creates fertile ground for scams, says K. Sivadasan, former top official of Kerala State Electricity Board and researcher.

FEED-IN TARIFF

This may be replaced with the concept of feed-in tariff, he told Business Line here. It refers to payments made out to ordinary energy users for renewable electricity generated by them.

The tariff could be set in two parts by the power sector regulator – one payable to producer by the utility and the other payable by the Government (Centre/State) to the utility.

The second part would seek to reimburse the utility for what it has already paid to the producer. “First priority is to motivate investors,” Sivadasan said.

FIRST PRIORITY

Motivated producers/investors would raise demand for solar modules and ‘balance of system’ (encompassing components other than photovoltaic panels) components.

Manufacturers and others in the chain could hope to make profit from increased transactions generated in the process. It will also help evolve healthy market competition, Sivadasan added.

The State has a rooftop potential of about 10,000 MW. This could be exploited to help meet energy deficit. As a first step, a feed-in tariff may be decided for small rooftop plants from 1 KW upwards.

SOLAR POLICY

State Electricity Regulatory Commission is empowered to decide tariff for renewable energy as per Section 86(e) of Indian Electricity Act 2003.

Along with this, an appropriate solar policy should be formulated to popularise solar harvesting. The commission should decide on codes and standards for grid connection.

Along with administrative reforms, a manufacturing hub should be developed in the State for the solar sector. In this context, Sivadasan said that Tamil Nadu had got it right calling the hub a ‘solar manufacturing ecosystem.’

vinson.kurian@thehindu.co.in

Published on June 27, 2013

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