More than 200 projects with installed capacity ranging from 10KWh to 1MW are on hold.
AHMEDABAD: The solar power sector in Gujarat is facing serious challenges with an investment of Rs 1,500 crore hanging in balance in rooftop projects, according to estimates by a clutch of solar power developers.
They made a representation to the state’s energy and petrochemicals department recently.
They have claimed that more than 200 projects with installed capacity ranging from 10KWh to 1MW are on hold. They say the reason is the change in Gujarat Solar Policy in the last week of December 2020.
They have sought an extension till June 2021 for commissioning those projects which were registered during the implementation period of Gujarat Solar Power Policy 2015.
“The solar sector in Gujarat has been suffering over the past few months due to a paralysis in policies and also because of the lukewarm response to real issues from the Government of Gujarat,” said a solar rooftop project developer whose projects of 3.5MW have been stuck for the past few months.
One of the key reasons for projects being held up is that the government has stopped installing meters since December 2020.
“The new solar policy imposes a ‘banking charge’ which is like a solar tax,” said another solar developer while speaking to media persons in Ahmedabad.
“No discussion has been initiated nor logic provided for such a charge. Also, the government stopped installing meters even as other states continued, giving enough time for projects that were in the pipeline to be completed.”
Moreover, fresh investments have dried up in the past few months as there are no takers for projects of over 10KWh capacity.
“The state government claims there is confusion in policies at the Union power ministry,” said an EPC contractor whose 12 projects with a total of 3MW capacity are stuck. He went on to say: “Projects worth Rs 1,500 crore are ready for commissioning but the government is not installing any meters.”
The central power ministry has introduced the Electricity Amendment Rule 2020.
The provisions say that the grid-interactive rooftop solar PV system and its related matters shall provide for net metering for loads up to 10KW and for gross metering for loads above 10KW.
Under a net feed-in arrangement, rooftop solar power used for self-consumption is charged at retail tariff.
The surplus energy is exported to the grid after self-consumption is credited at a net feed-in tariff determined by the state. In the case of gross metering, corporate consumers will not benefit commercially from using the power generated from their own systems for self-consumption.
It is feared that MSMEs and individuals will suffer and be non-competitive due to the additional cost because of these directives, according to the developers.