Private utilities Tata Power and Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra) have blamed inordinate delays in commissioning of solar projects for their failure to meet the solar renewable purchase obligation (RPO) targets for the last two completed fiscals.
The companies, in separate representations, informed the sectoral regulator MERC in October they could not meet the mandated power purchases for want of solar power availability.
On December 5, Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) allowed these firms to carry forward the shortfall to the current fiscal, considering their petitions expressing inability to meet the targets due to non- availability of solar power as well as RECs (renewable energy certificates).
While Tata Power will have to carry forward its remaining RPO target of 22.68 million units in FY2012-13, RInfra will have to procure 39.58 million units to meet the backlog of past two years, MERC had said.
Under the national tariff policy, MERC had made it mandatory for all utilities in the state, including RInfra, Tata Power, state-run Mahavitaran and BEST to procure 0.25% their energy demand from solar projects annually for a period from 2010-11 to 2012-13. From 2013-14 to 2015-16, this would double to 0.5% every year.
RInfra and Tata Power, in their representations, have blamed their failure to meet the RPO targets on delays in commissioning of various solar plants with whom they had entered into purchase agreements and non-availability of solar RECs for trading on the exchanges.
The tariff policy also allows a solar-specific renewable energy certificate (REC) mechanism to enable solar companies to sell certificates to the energy utilities to meet their purchase obligations.
According to the Electricity Act, 2003, both private utilities are liable for penalty if they do not meet their targets in this fiscal.
The central government aims to derive 15% of the country's energy requirements from renewable energy sources by 2020.
The RPO is the minimum amount of power to be purchased by states in order to meet the renewable (solar and non-solar) energy requirement.
Under these rules, distribution companies, open access consumers and captive consumers are obligated to buy a certain percentage of their power demand from renewable sources of energy.