BERC Draft Solar Rooftop (Net Metering) Regulations 2015

The Bihar Electricity Regulatory Commission (BERC) has recently notified the draft Net Metering Regulation for Grid Interactive Solar Rooftop Systems. The regulation will allow electricity consumers of the state to generate solar energy on their roof’s, and to consume such generate energy for their internal use and to feed the remaining surplus solar energy into the distribution system.

The main features of the regulation are given in the points below:

  1. The systems to be installed under the regulation shall be of min. 1kWp capacity and Max. 1Mwp cap. However the yearly target capacity of 10MW has been fixed in the area of the distribution licensee.
  2.  The Discom shall offer the provision of Net Metering to the consumer who intends to install rooftop systems on first come first serve basis.
  3.  A max. cumulative capacity at a particular distribution transformer shall not exceed 15% of the peak capacity of the distribution transformer.
  4. The capacity of an individual rooftop PV system would be equal to the sanctioned load of the consumer.
  5. The energy accounting and settlement will be done based on the reading of the bidirectional meters.
  6. Any energy credits of a consumer from previous months will be carried to next billing period and will be set to zero after the settlement period.
  7. The electricity generated from a solar rooftop systems shall not be more than 90% of the total energy consumption of any consumer in a settlement period. No payment shall be made by the distribution licensee, beyond this limit.
  8. The quantum of energy consumed from the rooftop system will be considered towards the Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) of Distribution licensee if the consumer is not an obligated entity.
  9. Such rooftop systems shall be exempted from payment of wheeling, banking and cross subsidy surcharge if under Open Access mode.
  10. The eligibility for availing benefits of REC mechanism shall be as per CERC REC Regulation 2010.

The regulation can be accessed here.

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BERC Finalizes solar tariff for FY 2014-15

The Bihar Electricity Regulatory Commission (BERC) has finalized the new tariff for solar energy tariff.

The tariff determined is applicable for FY 14-15 and for which PPA is signed by 31.03.2015 or until the issue of the next tariff order, and the project is commissioned up to 31.03.2016 or within one year from the signing of the PPA, while for solar thermal project the tariff will be applicable even if the project is commissioned up to  31.03.2017 or within two year from the signing of the PPA.

The details of the tariff’s determined are given in the table below:

ParticularsLevelized Tariff Rs / KWhLevelized benefit of AD Rs /KWhNet levelized Tariff with AD benefits Rs /KWh
Solar PV Power Projects including Rooftop Solar PV Projects7.690.766.93
Solar Thermal Power Projects11.841.2310.61

The BERC Solar Tariff order can be accessed here.

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Rockefeller Foundation pledges $75 mn for Smart Power India project

US-based philanthropic organization Rockefeller Foundation on Wednesday pledged $75 million as part of its new initiative to use renewable energy based mini-grids not just to light up 1,000 villages in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, but also create new jobs by providing electricity for commercial purposes.
Renewable energy-based distributed power systems or off-grid solutions have been a rage among renewable energy companies, government agencies and even some not-for-profit organisations and many such systems have come up across the country over the last five years.
The Smart Power Project claims to be different. “Our model is different from other similar initiatives undertaken in India so far because we are focused on two key areas of providing reliable power as well as engaging with communities to enable their economic development,” says CEO Jaideep Mukherji, Smart Power India, an entity incubated by the Rockefeller Foundation.
Smart Power model uses mini-grid technology for both lighting and productive use. So far companies working on the off-grid model have been focussing on domestic lighting needs—leaving out a whole segment of the rural entrepreneurs and wannabe entrepreneurs.
Smart Power India will partner with energy service companies (ESCOs), telecom tower operators, investors, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and government agencies to cover 1,000 villages in the next three years.
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MNRE ministry eyes rooftop solar plants

The government is set to replace the existing capital subsidy programme for roof­top solar power projects with an interest subvention sch­eme to help accelerate the development of solar power projects in the country.The new and renewable energy ministry has set an ambitious target of adding 100,000 MW of solar power in the country by 2022, up from the present level of around 3000 MW. Out of this, a significant 40,000 MW is set to come from rooftop solar projects where government feels there is a need to provide a support mechanism to keep costs down.

“The capital subsidy scheme has lived its utility and interest subvention would work best for the sector as this will help to reduce overall tariff from solar projects. The aim is to reduce effective interest rate for rooftop solar projects to around 8.5 per cent per annum that will help to reduce the levelised cost by around 10 per cent,” said a government official privy to the development.The government has already indicated its intent to shift from capital subsidy structure to interest subvention scheme during the stakeholder meeting organised by MNRE on March 19, 2015.

The MNRE has already notified that its intent of reducing its share of 30 per cent subsidy to 15 per cent level. The reduced level of support now will be considered in the form of interest subvention. Additionally, the MNRE is also pushing the finance ministry to get public sector banks on board to encourage home loan seekers to install rooftop solar units and to include the cost of such equipment in their loan proposals. Eight public sector banks have already issued instructions to give loans for such rooftop solar schemes. All these efforts are to achieve an overall 100 GW target by 2022.

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Solar Power For Routes In Marwar

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Indian Railways is exploring solar and windmill power generation through public-private partnership (PPP) for the proposed electrification of routes in Marwar region. “Railways has developed an action plan for power supply in next five years with private partnership for setting up 1,000 Mw solar power project and 25 Mw windmill plant,” said Railway board member, Naveen Tandon.

Tandon said railway’s associate company RITES has formed a new company Railway Energy Management Company (REMC). This new company will invite tenders from private people and industrialists for setting up solar plant, which will sell power to railways on cheaper rates. An MoU will be signed to buy power continuously for 25 years.

He added that the govt’s priority is to cut down the fuel expenses. At present Rs 20,000 crore is spent by railways on diesel and Rs 10,000 crore on electricity.

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Wind Energy companies infusing huge funds into Solar Energy

Big wind energy companies in India such as Gamesa, Mytrah and Suzlon are all diversifying into solar space this year with plans to invest several hundred million dollars in the next five years in installing thousands of solar megawatts, given the government’s impetus to the sector.

While London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM)-listed Mytrah Energy (India) Ltd, which is an independent power producer, plans to invest a total of $400 million, of which $100 million would be in equity over the next one year solely in setting up its solar business, Gamesa India will invest euros 200 million over the next two years for its overall operations, as it diversifies into solar space this year.

“We don’t want to depend on only one kind of fuel. Last year, the prices in solar were high and we didn’t want to do subsidy-driven business as it is not sustainable. We’re waiting for tenders related to National Solar Mission now and hope to be in the 1,500-2,000 MW range over the next 5-7 years,” said Vikram Kailas, MD at Mytrah Energy.

The company intends to install nearly 100 MW of solar energy projects over the next one year, he added. Similarly, the Indian subsidiary of Spanish wind turbine maker Gamesa, which has the largest wind energy market-share in the country, is also diversifying into solar power this year with plans to install 100 MW going up to 500 MW in the next two years.

Wind turbine maker Suzlon, meanwhile, plans a hybrid model of wind and solar energy, whereby solar plants will be set up on the same land as wind turbines. This is intended to save the company from land issues and overcome power evacuation hurdles as grid is available near wind farms.

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Odisha eyes USD-1.8bn NCEF for hydro, solar financing

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The government of Odisha state is seeking funds from the National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF) for local solar photovoltaic (PV) projects and small hydro schemes, a senior state official told the Business Standard.

NCEF has already reached some INR 110 billion (USD 1.76bn/EUR 1.66bn), according to estimates mentioned by the unnamed official. Money for the fund comes from a tax levied on the coal mined in states like Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Odisha.

The Odisha government has asked the Union power ministry “to allot adequate funds” from NCEF for green projects in the eastern state.

According to the report, there are 18 MW of solar, 20 MW of biomass and 5 MW of small hydropower plants operational in Odisha now. The state has many other renewable energy projects in need of financing.

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Power Grid to seek shareholders’ nod to raise Rs 13K Cr

State-owned utility Power Grid Corporation will soon seek shareholders’ approval to raise up to Rs 13,000 crore from domestic and external sources during the current fiscal.

The Board of Directors has approved the proposal to raise Rs 13,000 crore through issuance of bonds, Power Grid said in a BSE filing. The funds to finance the company’s various expansion projects will be raised from domestic as well as external sources through issuance of tax-free bonds under private placement in 2015-16, the filing said.

Last month, Power Grid Corporation Board had approved total investment of Rs 1,481 crore in its various projects to be commissioned in the next 2-3 years.

These investment proposals include the one for installing transmission equipment at an estimated cost of Rs 1,071.24 crore for the western region and setting up of transformers in Northern Region at an estimated cost of Rs 63.56 crore. The state-run firm is in discussions with power and finance ministries as well as the World Bank regarding funding assistance of transmission systems for evacuation of power from the solar parks.

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Govt planning to vet power usage pattern;More charge for consumption during peak hours

Using the washing machine at night may help you save on your electricity bill. The government plans to introduce a time-of-day power tariff structure for residential customers, where peak-hour prices will be costlier than non-peak rates, after getting data on supply and consumption of electricity, coal, petroleum and renewable energy.

NITI Aayog, the government think tank tasked with creating a knowledge support system through collaboration with national and international experts, will soon set up an energy data management cell. The unit will uncover India’s energy consumption pattern in a more comprehensive and detailed manner in coordination with half-a-dozen ministries and departments. The think tank will monitor the usage of electronic appliances and spot a trend that will eventually form the basis for the introduction of time-of-day tariffs for residential customers.

It has tied up with the US Energy Information Administration, an agency that collects, analyses and disseminates independent and impartial energy information to promote sound policy making, efficient markets and public understanding of energy and its interaction with the economy and the environment.

Time-of-day tariff is a structure that offers different rates for use of electricity, depending on the time of the day. Its objective is to reduce power consumption during peak hours. To do this, charges are reduced during off peak hours as an incentive for people to use electricity at those times rather than during peak hours, when it would be more expensive. This means using appliances at certain times will be cheaper than using them at other times. In India, time-of-day tariff is used for the industrial and commercial sectors.

NITI Aayog is also working on an integrated energy policy for the country.

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India plans push for green bonds

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Obtaining affordable, long-term and adequate funds has been a challenge for developers of clean-energy projects in India, where interest rates are high and banks are often reluctant to lend to renewable energy projects.
The government has approached at least eight lenders, including Rural Electrification Corp. Ltd (REC), to raise low-cost and long-term funds to help finance India’s plan to quadruple its renewable energy production, while also aiming to make it economically viable for debt-laden distribution companies to buy clean power.
The dollar-or rupee-denominated green bonds may be raised by India Infrastructure Finance Co. Ltd (IIFCL), Power Finance Corp. Ltd (PFC), REC, IDBI Bank Ltd, Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd (Ireda), ICICI Bank Ltd and Yes Bank Ltd, among others, according to three people familiar with the development.
The low-cost funds raised through green bonds will potentially help cut the cost of clean power and make it easier for developers to sell power to distribution utilities, whose inability to effect necessary, but unpopular, tariff hikes has saddled them with losses and restricted their ability to buy costlier green power. The government is aiming to provide green power at less than Rs.4.50 a unit.
Read more here. To know more about green bonds visit our earlier article here.
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