The Centre has started talks with states and Union territories (UTs) to introduce dollar-based solar tariff bidding, to make rates more competitive. Such a move would bring down solar power rates to Rs 6.70 a unit from the current Rs 4.37 a unit, as developers would not have to bear the risk of foreign exchange. It would also help India achieve additional capacity of 175,000 Mw of renewable power by 2022. States have also been told to formulate a solar power policy to make cost of renewable energy affordable and also provide for promotion of grid-connected solar rooftops. The Centre has sought the cooperation of states and UTs for speedy execution of the Green Energy Corridor Phase-I and timely development of Phase-II. The first phase involves laying a transmission network to carry 25,000-30,000 Mw of clean energy from renewable sources. The second envisages transmission of 22,000 Mw from solar parks. States are expected to provide land according to their policies with all clearances, including for ultra mega solar projects, and establish a single window clearance system for renewable projects. Coal Minister Piyush Goyal told Business Standard: “Of the proposed capacity addition of 175,000 Mw, 100,000 Mw is from solar. The government is getting support from states, UTs, developers and investors.
States understand that coal-based plants will gradually have a price escalation, increase in operation cost, freight charges and coal costs. Over the years, coal prices have gone up... in solar and wind, there is a flat rate and energy security. So, sensible states will invest heavily in renewable power.” The Karnataka government had proposed to allow landowners to use their farmland for installation of one to three Mw of solar generation. About 10,000 landowners were interested. However, the state government has appealed to the Centre to amend the Telegraph Act so that compensation could be provided and issues with regard to right of ways could be settled early. The Tamil Nadu government had suggested the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy enhance capital subsidy for off-grid and grid solar PV system from 100 Kw to 500 Kw. The Centre had asked the states to establish metering and communication infrastructure for renewable energy pooling stations and capacity building of state load dispatch centres, so that renewable energy scheduling and forecasting could begin immediately. Sources said a high-level committee would look into the issues concerning forecasting and variability of renewable power relating to grid operation. Besides, another committee would recommend measures to sort issues relating to banking time for renewable energy.