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Tamil Nadu electricity regulator to come out with rules on solar charges in 2 months

According to reports, the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission (TNERC) will come out with rules for the charges that solar power producers in the State might need to pay the State-owned electricity generation and distribution utility, in about two months.

These charges relate to ‘wheeling and banking’, ‘open access’ and ‘cross-subsidy’. ‘Wheeling’ refers to solar power producers using the State’s transmission lines; ‘banking’ is a developer putting his electricity into the grid, in order to take it back at a time of his choice, within a specified period of time. ‘Open access’ is a power producer selling his power to a consumer directly using the state’s transmission and distribution facility. Cross-subsidy charges are those that are paid to the distribution utility when a power producer sells power to a consumer — in order to defray the state’s burden of subsidising poor consumers.

When TNERC approved the Tamil Nadu Solar Policy earlier this year, it had said that it would come out with these regulations later.

This was disclosed by S. Nagalsamy, Member, TNERC, at a conference on ‘Solar Power Generation’, organised here by the Confederation of Indian Industry.

Speaking at the conference, M.R. Sreenivasa Murthy, Chairman, Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission, said that Karnataka had decided not to levy any charges for wheeling and banking, open access and cross-subsidy, in order to boost solar power installations in the State.

Any solar power developer who puts up solar plants in the State in the next five years would not have to pay these charges for the entire life of the solar power plant, Murthy said.

Sudeep Jain, Chairman and Managing Director, Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency (TEDA), said that the agency would soon come out with a tender to empanel vendors of solar power plants. This list of vendors would be for the ‘10,000 rooftop’ scheme of Tamil Nadu. Under this scheme, the State Government wants to encourage house owners to put up 1 kW solar plants on their rooftops. The scheme is for the first 10,000 applicants and the State Government will pay Rs 20,000 for each installation, over and above the subsidy that the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy gives.

TEDA will empanel a list of vendors. Those who apply for subsidy under the scheme will need to buy their systems from one of the empanelled vendors.

Jain said that there were delays in getting MNRE subsidies (which are routed through State nodal agencies, such as TEDA in Tamil Nadu). However, the State Government’s subsidy would be disbursed within 45 days, he said.

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