State aims to become first to reduce thermal power consumption and dependency on coal; Policy to be functional by end of current financial year
PANJIM: The State cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday approved the long-awaited Solar Power Policy, with an aim to generate 150 MW of green power by 2021, to meet the target set by the Union Ministry for New and Renewable Energy under the National Solar Mission.
Goa intends to become the first State to reduce its consumption of thermal power, thus reducing its dependency on coal.
The policy speaks about gross metering wherein residential or commercial units generating less than 100 KV power would be compensated by the State government at a rate fixed by the Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC), apart from providing 50 per cent of the installation cost as interest-free loans to the units.
Addressing media persons after the cabinet meeting, Parrikar said, “Lots of people were anticipating Solar Power Policy. We had extensive discussions on the policy before finalising it. The attempts are made to have robust and functional policy.”
The Chief Minister said that the policy would be functional by the end of the current financial year. “It will take two-three months to have proper documentation required for the policy and by the end of this financial year, the policy will be functional and will start showing an impact,” he said in the presence of Power Minister Pandurang Madkaikar.
The draft solar power policy, prepared by the State-run Goa Energy Development Agency was kept open for public suggestions and inputs in July.
Highlighting the main thrust of the policy, Parrikar said the policy is divided into three categories including one where even a small units producing solar power will be accommodated.
The first category speaks about the producer/consumer who will generate less than 100 KW of power. This will include small commercial establishments, houses, residential societies or buildings having less than 10 flats.
“These consumers will be allowed gross metering. That is State will compensate the consumer for power generation in addition to its consumption. The consumer can even sell the power to the grid at a rate fixed by JERC,” Parrikar said.
In case of the units producing more than 100 KV power will be compensated on net metering as they would be participating in the reverse gridding of the power, he said.
The policy also encourages power generation by individuals who have available land at the disposal of their own or can procure NOC from the land owners to set up a unit, Parrikar said.
The land owner would be spared from conversion of his land under Town and Country Planning Act or permission from local panchayat or civic body, if he is installing solar power generation plant under the policy, Chief Minister said.
“In such circumstances, the power producer will have to show the documents of the land and also bank guarantee of six months. The unit operator would be penalised in case of non-supply of the power to the government or delay in it,” he said.
The policy also speaks about providing 50 per cent of the installation cost as interest-free loans to the units, which can be repaid in the form of supply of power to the State, six months after the unit is functional.
Parrikar said that Housing colonies can have their roof top solar power generation by employing one contractor if all the owners come together.
Government will be coming up with a separate policy to allot government land for installation of solar plants. “Until then, government departments can generate solar power within their premises,” he said.
Madkaikar said that the central government has given a target that by 2021, Goa will have to produce 150 MW of power. “So initially we will go for 50 MW power. After that we will opt for expansion of another 50 MW,” he said.