The government has finally unveiled a long awaited roadmap for achieving its target of commissioning 175 GW of renewable energy (RE) by 2022, of which 100 GW will comprise solar, and 60 GW wind. The announcement was made in a meeting held in New Delhi last Friday, November 24.
Addressing the gathering, Union Minister of State for Power and New & Renewable Energy, Raj Kumar Singh expressed confidence in comfortably achieving the “somewhat conservative” RE target of 175 GW by 2022 and even exceeding it, along with providing 24/7 affordable, clean and efficient power for all. “All these targets would be positively achieved with the cooperation of the States in ensuring that their power utilities/ DISCOMS remain financially viable,” Singh said.
Anand Kumar, Secretary of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), elaborated on the solar development roadmap to 2022. Kumar mentioned that the MNRE, along with individual states, will announce bids for 20 GW worth of ground-mounted solar parks in 2017-18. Of this total, 3.6 GW have already been auctioned off, while 3 GW are set to be auctioned this December; 3 GW in January 2018; 5 GW in February 2018; and 6 GW in March 2018. “30 GW will be bid out in 2018-19 and 30 GW in 2019-20,” added Kumar.
The government has yet to mention its plans for rolling out 40 GW of rooftop solar, which have been communicated previously. However, if it still wants to meet that figure, its 100 GW solar target will be exceeded by 20 GW. If not, it may mean the figures will be revised down from 40 to 20 GW.
Regarding GST (goods and service tax) on solar panels, Kumar said the MNRE is in talks with the Ministry of Finance. The issue, which concerns the high rates are, is set to be resolved in the next seven to 10 days. It is expected that they will be reduced.
RK Singh further said that the central government has provided all the required support, including funds under the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) and Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS), to the states to ensure 24/7 power for all by strengthening the intra-state transmission networks and guaranteeing the mandatory presence of metered connections. “The Ministry is in talks with the States to ensure 100% metered connections through Smart/Pre-paid meters,” Singh added.
Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), meanwhile, must be honored said Singh. The ministry is in constant talks with state governments, including Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, to ensure this. Similarly, with Renewable Purchase Obligations (RPOs), Singh added, “These obligations are mandatory and need to be adhered to strictly.”