February 11, 2015: The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has given an open invitation to receive comments on its Draft Solar Policy, which was published on the web yesterday. The ten-page document simply outlines what the different government departments are thinking. However, minute details and relevant information on when the estimated time taken for the projects, prices for electricity generated, etc. are not provided.
Despite such shortcomings, the document provides a hint on the fact that feed-in-tariffs could be applied. The author of the proposals writes, “The State shall promote implementation of solar power plant and sale of electricity generated to a person other than the distribution licensee. The nodal agency shall extend its support for implementation of solar power plants under this segment. The Electricity Regulatory Commission shall announce suitable provisions for the development of the plants under this category.”
Heavy investments by the government are also hinted by the Draft Solar Policy in the areas of decentralised and off-grid solar applications to meet guidelines set out by MNRE. The nodal agency is initially supposed to identify the priority areas for off-grid and decentralized deployment. Furthermore the draft policy states, “The nodal agency shall take necessary action to proliferate its application in feasible sectors including residential (solar water heaters, solar cookers, indoor air heating etc.), commercial and industrial sector (solar cooling, solar air dryers, large scale solar water heaters, large scale solar cooking utilizing solar concentrator technology, process heating etc.).”
This invitation for comments has come shortly after MNRE launched guidance on the bidding processes for Phase II, Batch II, Tranche I of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) auction. The date till which comments on the Draft Solar Policy can be given is March 1. The comments should be sent to Dr Arun K Tripathi, director of MNRE by email.