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GERC to hear petitions of solar power developers

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The fate of as many as 29 odd in Gujarat will be decided by the electricity regulator, (GERC) on Friday, December 30, 2011 as the later will take up the hearing on the petitions filed by the companies for extension of control period of Solar power in the state.

The developers of about 450 megawatt solar power generation capacities in Gujarat have demanded an extension of the current tariff regime, the deadline for which comes to an end on December 31, 2011.

"Solar power developers have petitioned the regulator for extension of the current tariff structure. About 29 companies have filed the petitions, for which the hearing will start tomorrow," informed a source at GERC.

According to the GERC website, some of the developers, who have moved the petition, includes notables like Ltd, GMR Gujarat Solar Power Pvt. Ltd, Kemrock Industries and Exports Ltd and Claris LifeSciences Limited have filed the petitions with the regulator. The industry association, Solar Energy Association of Gujarat is also one of the petitioners.

In order to encourage solar power projects in the state, the state government launched a solar policy in 2009, under which a 25-year power purchase agreement is to be signed with the company enabling them to avail tariff for photovoltaic projects at Rs 15 per unit or kilowatt hour for the first 12 years and Rs 5 per unit from the 13th to the 25th year.

For the solar thermal projects the tariff is fixed at Rs 11 per unit for the first 12 years and Rs 5 per unit from the 13th to the 25th year.

All the projects, that have signed the agreements, would have to get commissioned by December 31, 2011.

As per the terms of PPAs, if a developer fails to commission the project by the set deadline, it is liable to pay a penalty of Rs 10,000 per day per Mw to Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd (GUVNL), the state-owned power distribution utility, with which the PPAs have been signed.

According to the information available with the state government officials, out of the solar power capacity committed under PPAs, only 140 Mw of capacity has been commissioned in the state so far. Earlier, the state government had anticipated commissioning of 300 Mw by the end of December, 2011.

Interestingly, the state power regulator has proposed new tariff structure for those solar power producers, who will commission their plants in the state during the period from January 29, 2012 to March 31, 2015.

However, the new structure excludes solar power projects, for which PPAs have already been signed.

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