Uttar Pradesh will tender another 500 MW solar capacity by end of October

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In addition to the reverse auction for 500 MW of capacity, the Uttar Pradesh (UP) government is also planning a 150 MW grid-connected floating solar PV plant at Rihand Dam in Sonbhadra, and will establish a green corridor. This news was shared by Alok Kumar, principal secretary, Department of Energy and Additional Sources of Energy, government of UP, on the second day of RE-Invest 2018, currently taking place in Greater Noida, just outside of Delhi.

Speaking to pv magazine about the 150 MW floating plant, Kumar said, “Initially, we were doing the power purchase agreement (PPA). Now we have changed the commercial arrangement and made Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) the intermediate procurer so that the tariff is lower. SECI will have the PPA with the selected developer and sell power to us back to back.”

Policy boost

As the most populous Indian state, UP requires 20 GW of electricity generation every day. However, renewable energy currently comprises just 7% of the state’s energy generation mix. “The UP government is keen to increase this share with a conducive policy framework, which is a welcome move. It plans to add 2,767 MW of grid-connected renewable energy and around 58.6 MW through off-grid projects up to FY 19. The state has a 440 MW operational park,” said Alok Verma, vice president, utility-scale business at Amplus.

Emphasising that the Solar Energy Policy 2017 of Uttar Pradesh was framed after incorporating suggestions from various stakeholders, and is much more conducive to solar development than other states, Brajesh Pathak, Minister of Additional Energy Sources, government of UP announced full support to institutional investors, as well as to individual households to adopt solar energy. Specifically, the Bundelkhand and Purvanchal regions have been accorded top priorities, he said.

“The UP government has provided single window online clearance of rooftop solar. We have also provided 100% stamp duty exemption on land bought for setting up solar energy plants. Additionally, UP is providing 50% concession on charges on solar electricity sold within the state and 100% concession on solar electricity sold outside the state,” Pathak said.

Before this, during the Chief Ministers’ Plenary Session, Pathak called for a solar revolution akin to the country’s telecom revolution. “Every house should install a 5KW rooftop panel and reap the returns. Lucknow alone has 700 km of rooftops, which can be used for solar energy generation,” he said.

Initiatives in other states

The Chief Ministers’ Plenary Session at the 2nd Global RE Invest India-ISA Partnership Renewable Energy Investors Meet & Expo also saw representatives of Himachal Pradesh, Puducherry and Andaman & Nicobar Islands sharing their states’ renewable energy policy initiatives and visions for capacity expansion.

The session was moderated by Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, Confederation of Indian Industries (CII).

Jai Ram Thakur, Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, said that Himachal Pradesh is planning to allocate a solar power project totaling 1 GW in Lahaul Spiti, and has taken several steps to attract investments in renewable energy.

“Himachal Pradesh is offering land at INR 1 per square meter for renewable energy projects. The state has deferred royalty payments from renewable energy projects. Additionally, Himachal Pradesh has also taken another step to encourage the investors by declaring that for renewable energy projects of up to 25 MW, state electricity board will buy power directly,” he said.

In order to promote domestic manufacturing, V. Narayanasamy, chief minister of Puducherry, said, “The government must support innovation in renewable energy to achieve India’s ambitious targets. It should protect domestic investors from foreign investors. It must provide subsidy, tax holiday for domestic players to set up solar panel manufacturing facilities in India.”

Briefing about the renewable energy initiatives of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Admiral (Retd) Devendra Kumar Joshi, Lt Governor of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, said, “Andaman & Nicobar is witnessing the development of world class infrastructure and tourism projects. There will therefore be increased demand for energy and an opportunity to invest in the renewable energy sector. Projects of 45 MW of solar energy in and around Port Blair alone are planned to be set up. All new buildings in cities will mandatorily have provision for roof-top solar and this policy will be extended to rural areas.”