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Gripe about solar power tariff

According to reports, the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) should consider a preferential subsidy for solar power generated from regions with less exposure to the sun’s radiation, a top official of the Bengal government said.

“It is illogical to follow a single feed-in-tariff (FIT) concept when it comes to setting up solar power plants. Advanced countries such as Germany and the US have multiple tariff system based on the exposure of a particular region to solar radiation. The same policy should be adopted in India,” S.P. Gon Chaudhury, adviser to the state’s power and non-conventional energy department, said.

“The yield per megawatt on account of exposure to sunlight is much higher in places such as Rajasthan and Gujarat, but much lower in Bengal. So, greater incentives should be given to investors looking to set up solar power plants in Bengal,” Gon Chaudhury added.

Under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, CERC has set the tariff at Rs 17.90 per kilowattt hour (kWh) for solar photo voltaic projects and Rs 15.40 per kWh for solar thermal projects. It reviews the cost every year and fixes the tariff accordingly for new projects.

The aim is to install 20,000MW of solar power by 2022 with the first phase contributing 1000MW by 2013. Competitive bidding for the first phase will start soon.

“While the government has set lofty targets, solar energy through its present manifestation can only supplement conventional fuel sources such as coal and diesel by lowering carbon dioxide emission,” said Gon Chaudhury.

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