Solar to rescue Tamil Nadu from dark days

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While focused on establishing Tamil Nadu as a power state, the government has forgotten the dire power strait of the Southern state. The state is said to rely on wind with 12.64 per cent of the energy, power generated by wind farms and 14.9 per cent from all renewable sources till date and households are the obvious sufferers of the shortage.

To overcome the shortage, Tamil Nadu is set to install 3000 MW solar capacity by 2015 (1GW each year) to be energy secure, reduce carbon emissions and become a solar industry hub. The state also plans to tap all 3 solar segments. Utility scale solar projects of 1000 MW will be developed through reverse bidding where developers will make competitive bids with respect to a base tariff released by the government for bidding.

This will be backed by Solar Power Obligation (SPO will require 1000 MW by 2015), which is set at 3 per cent until December 2013 and 6 per cent from January 2014 for the commercial, administrative, institutional and industrial consumers. Other than this, 500 MW in utility scale will be based on generation-based incentive.

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Promotion of decentralised solar plants in industrial estates has been mentioned in the policy, which will be the most sought-after solution for the already struggling manufacturing industry.

Tamil Nadu becomes the first state in India to tap the domestic segment in rooftop solar projects (50 MW), where it has planned to offer generation-based incentives for the power generation for the first 6 years. This will require the government’s support for net metering at multiple voltages for domestic rooftops, which is considered a challenge by industry experts. The state government has mandated government/commercial buildings, industries and houses to install solar water heaters.

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