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TIDCO awaits policy push to boost solar capacity

According to reports, state-owned Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (Tidco) is awaiting a clearer policy directive from the state government to take forward its given task to establish 1,000 mw of solar power capacity in association with private sector in five years.

With the state electricity board not in a position to offer any concession to private power producers, Tidco is banking on the new policy, expected to be unveiled by the state government anytime, to prepare a base for inviting private players, a Tidco official said.

A few months back, Tamil Nadu government had announced its plan to establish solar parks across various districts. The idea is to establish 1,000 mw of new solar power capacity in the state over five years in a phased manner and in association with the private sector. Tidco, the principal industrial development agency, was named as the nodal agency to implement the same.

“We have done our preparatory work to implement the same, especially given the grim power scenario the state is witnessing. However, with the state electricity board expressing its inability to offer any form of concession, including a power purchase agreement, to private power producers, we are awaiting direction from the state government to take this forward,” a senior Tidco official told FC on condition of anonymity.

The state is expected to announce a Clean Energy Policy outlining initiatives and incentives that the state is likely to extend for investors investing in new projects to produce clean energy, including solar power.

“Such a policy will bring in better clarity on what support the investors can expect from the state agencies, including assured power purchase,” the official said, while adding, “Several private sector companies focused on solar power have already approached us, evincing interest in the project. We have assured that we will get back to them once the clarity emerges on the policy side”.

In fact, the TN vision 2023 document, which was unveiled by the present government soon after it came to power in May, 2011, envisaged total investments of Rs 450,000 crore in the energy sector over the next 11 years for new thermal capacity addition of 20,000 mw, renewable energy capacity addition of 10,000 mw including 5,000 mw solar power and in augmenting transmission and distribution infrastructure to support the new capacity additions, among others.

According to a study by Pune-based World Institute of Sustainable Energy, the gross potential for solar PV in Tamil Nadu is estimated at over 4,000 mw and for CSP (Concentrated Solar Power) it is over 400 mw. A KPMG report on India’s solar energy sector has also revealed that Tamil Nadu is best suited for solar thermal power plant locations after Rajasthan and Gujarat.

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