Attempting to capitalise on 300 clear sunny days available in the state annually, Tamil Nadu government today unveiled a new solar energy policy, envisaging to produce over 3000 MW of power, exclusively from solar power, in the next three years.
Christened as 'Tamil Nadu Solar Energy Policy 2012,' the new initiative of the Jayalalithaa government, with a slew of encouraging features, finds opportunity in the rapidly declining solar power costs and aims at tapping at least 1000 MW through solar power annually in the power-starved state.
".. (the policy) intends to made solar energy a people's movement just as it did earlier in the case of rain water harvesting," the policy said.
Targeting to clock a production of 3000 MW of power by 2015, the new policy says the falling prices of solar panels were on the verge of coincidence with the growing cost of grid power in India.
The policy also involves large-scale power consumers into the initiative by mandating six per cent SPO (Solar Purchase Obligation) on them.
The SPO to be administered by TANGEDCO (Tamilnadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Ltd) will be applicable to all High Tension (HT) consumers, including SEZs and IT parks, but Low Tension (LT) consumers like domestic consumers, powerlooms, cottage and tiny industries, agricultural consumers will be exempted from the mandate, the policy said.
Elaborating on how 3000 MW of power would be generated, the policy said, "In utility scale out of 1500 MW, 1000 MW will be funded through SPO and balance 500 MW through Generation Based Incentive (GBI) provided by the government."
The policy also promotes solar rooftops in domestic and government buildings.
As for the domestic rooftop, a GBI of Rs two per unit for the first two years, Re one for next two years and 50 paise per unit for subsequent two years will be provided for all solar or solar-wind hybrid rooftops beign installed before March 31, 2014.
The state government, in all its new buildings, will provide solar rooftops, while all existing buildings will be provided solar panels in a phased manner.
The government would also be energising over one lakh street lights through solar energy by 2015-16 and water supply installations in local bodies will be energised through solar power in a phased manner.
Solar parks with a capacity of 50 MW each will be developed in 24 districts across the state.
The government has also announced a slew of incentives to power manufacturers, encouragaing them into solar power. "Appropriate tax incentives as per the Tamil Nadu Industrial Policy will be provided to attract investors from India and abroad," it said.
In a bid to reduce the transmission and distribution losses, aggregate technical and commercial losses and other infrastructure expenditure, solar power plants will be set up in all industrial estates, subject to availability of land at reasonable cost.
Encouraging households into producing solar power, the government will also promote net metering to promote rooftop penetration.
It has also announced exemption from electricity tax, tax concessions, exemption from demand cut to those who produce solar power from their rooftop.
An Empowered Committee comprising Chief Secretary, Finance Secretary, Energy Secretary, CMD-TANGEDCO, CMD-Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency - Member Secretary and TANGEDCO technical member will accord project clearances for the establishment of solar power projects in the state.