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The state government's drive to encourage roof-top solar power installations has hit a roadblock in the absence of tariff fixation and net metering to evacuate the power into the grid. Many institutions that have invested heavily on solar panels are restricting their generation, thereby underutilizing the installed capacity.
State government is hoping to have at least 3,500MW of solar roof top power generation by 2020. At present Tamil Nadu has around 700MW of roof top solar power installations.
"We have 3KW capacity solar panels on our roof top. After our consumption, we are left with a sizeable amount of power that can be sold. On days when the school is not working, the entire solar power generation goes waste as we don't have net meter," said a school principal not ready to be named. The school works only for 5 days in a week and even during the weekdays there are many holidays on account of festivals. On all such days, power was getting wasted, she told TOI.
As per the Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency (TEDA), the problem for the educational institutions as well as temples is that there is no fixed tariff under which they can sell solar power to Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Company (Tangedco). "We have asked the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulation Commission (TNERC) to fix a tariff for these installations so that power can be evacuated to the grid. This will help solving transmission losses for Tangedco and the state will also get more green power in the grid," a senior TEDA official told TOI.
According to experts, there is no net meter for some categories of solar power instillations as there is a fear that there will be revenue loss to Tangedco. "Net metering is another issue, which the governments must look into seriously," said Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India partner-consulting Vedamoorthy Namasivayam at a meeting in Chennai recently. "Many distribution companies are opposing net metering as they will lose out on high-end consumers. This will affect their cross-subsidisation plans. The subsidy mechanism is also too complicated," said Namasivayam.
The state government's solar policy is silent on the educational institutions as well as temples, said a TNERC official.
"We are awaiting a proper policy on the tariff for the institutions as well as for others, where there is no net-metering. The commission has written to the government on this and we are expecting a new policy for roof top solar power generation in the coming months," said the official.
Apart from the state government, the Centre is also expected to change the present policy on roof top solar power installations, said the official.
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