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Tamil Nadu’s solar policy is a welcome move, says industry

According to reports, the focus of Tamil Nadu solar power policy on de-centralised production and small units is welcome, say leading industry representatives in the solar sector.

But the crux of the issue is in its effective implementation. While the road map up to 2015 has been clearly spelt out, it is critical to enforce the provisions such as solar power purchase obligation, which mandates assured minimum usage of the renewable energy by consumers.

Solar power equipment manufacturers, solar power generators, consumers and industry associations have welcomed the Tamil Nadu State Solar Energy Policy 2012.

The policy announced on Saturday targets establishment of 3,000 MW of solar power generation by 2015, provides generation-based incentives for roof-top systems, mandates 6 per cent minimum purchase obligation from 2014, beginning with 3 per cent next year, and provides a package of incentives for solar equipment manufacturers.

Pashupathy Gopalan, Chief Executive Officer – India, Sun Edison, a leading owner-developer of solar power generation facilities, welcoming the provisions, said the State policy is unique in that it “embraces distributed generation” and supports small systems. This is a proven approach in many countries globally.

The policy outlines a road map for the next three years — a crucial period for solar power when it needs this kind of support. Beyond 2015, solar power is set to achieve grid parity and will be competitive compared with other sources of power.

The target of establishing 1,000 MW of solar power generation a year for three years is a viable target. But it is important to enforce the minimum purchase obligation and effectively roll out the policy as spelt out. Providing the flexibility of achieving minimum purchase obligation through captive production or third party purchase is a welcome move, he said. Sunil Rallan, President, SEZ Developers Association, welcomed the announcement. Mandating the minimum purchase obligation for solar power is a welcome move, he said.

C. Velan, Executive Director and CEO, Tril Infopark, said the support to renewable energy is a significant step. In Chennai alone, there is over 50 million square feet of office space, which on an average, consumes about 5 MW per million square feet. Ensuring large consumers meet a portion of this energy from solar power is a welcome step. This policy will give a fillip to solar power even as all commercial and industrial users were opting for roof-top solar power systems.

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