- No grid support charges on rooftop solar installations in Maharashtra
The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has announced that they will drop all grid support charges on rooftop solar installations until Maharashtra achieves its rooftop solar installation target of 2,000 MW. The grid support charges were fees paid to Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MESDCL) as infrastructure costs of the grid.
Currently, the state has only rooftop solar capacity of 426MW built in the last 5 years. Followed by the pandemic, Maharashtra being the most affected state has witnessed significant losses with no new installations. MERC secretary claimed that the move was to encourage clean energy usage and solar installations. Experts claimed the move to be an excellent opportunity to utilize the potential of rooftop solar in Maharashtra.They further stated that this move could make their rooftop solar installation target of 2000MW achievable within 3 years. Maharashtra is estimated to have an overall rooftop solar capacity of 4000MW of which only 10%has been achieved.
- MNRE extends Deadline for all Renewable Projects
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Anand Kumar, secretary of the MNRE has put a halt on all renewable projects under construction for the personal safety of all citizens. He has assured that the duration of the lockdown and the halt on workforces will be taken into consideration while granting an extension towards project deadlines. The MNRE also issued an official memorandum stating that extending time for scheduled renewable projects will be treated as a ‘force majeure’ event considering the interruptions of supply chain.Renewable space business owners have stated that almost 15% of their businesses have been affected by the pandemic.
- India’s Open Access Market to receive sizeable investments
In the end of 2019, India recorded a total solar installation capacity of 3.6 GW under open access solar projects with an estimated 1.5 GW projects still under pipeline. Reports have suggested that the boom in open access markets in India is due to theopportunities it offers to multiple stakeholders which include solar project developers, investors, large corporates, and DISCOMs.
As of December 2019, Karnataka has been recorded as the largest market to adopt open access projects followed by Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, and Haryana. In 2018, Karnataka was a thriving destination to expand open access opportunities making them the leading solar state. However, the state has now become restrictive towards expansion.
Additionally, reports have suggested that the biggest roadblock to invest and commission an open access project is seeking the approvals from government bodies.
Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group has also stated that huge investments can be unlocked from large corporates and MNCs who are willing to invest in open access markets to meet the country’s renewable targets and also fulfil the demand of a cheaper utility source.
- Modhera Sun Temple receive grant for 6MW solar installation
The MNRE have announced a grant of ₹650 million towards the solar installation project of the Sun Temple in Modhera, Gujarat. This project will act as a pilot demonstration towards powering an entire town via solar energy. The project is expected to fulfil all agricultural and domestic electricity needs of the household. The grant amount will be 50% funded in the form of Central Financial Assistance (CFA) from the Government of India through MNRE and the other 50% will be funded by the Government of Gujarat.
The complete project includes a 6 MW ground mounted solar project, 271 rooftop solar PV systems accounting to 1kW, 100 kW of rooftop solar installations on government buildings, 15 MW and 6 MW battery energy storage systems (BESS), and other energy saving components.