Lack of clarity in rules hampers off-site solar power investments

KOCHI: Absence of regulatory framework with respect to off-site captive solar power generation projects has dampened investments in this sector, according to experts in this area.

Though there are several large entities, including hospitals, schools and residential clusters that are keen to set up off-site captive solar power generation facilities as they don’t have enough land or appropriate rooftop spaces to install solar plants, they are constrained by the lack of clarity in regulation as to how to go about this.

Since off-site power generation takes place in far-off sites, transmission of the power generated to the consumer’s site needs government green signal as well as the Kerala Electricity Board Ltd (KSEBL) approval for the use of their transmission facilities.

INKEL Ltd, a public-private partnership initiative, which has successfully completed several major infrastructure projects in the state, is keen to enter solar power generation business in a big way.

“We have enough enquiries to provide solar power from large clients. But we are awaiting greater clarity on the regulatory front before we could go ahead with the work,” Dr Mohammed Sagheer, managing director of INKEL Ltd, said while talking to businessbenchmark.news.

In fact, Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) has set a model for captive power generation through solar plants and the airport is not only self-sufficient on its power needs, but interestingly it has surplus power to sell as well.

CIAL’s plant being on-site, the regulatory issues don’t pose hurdles to their solar power generation. The Centre is keen to increase the solar power output of the country and hence the states may be soon pressured to increase their solar power output as part of the strategy to boost the share of alternative energy.

As part of the objectives of the solar policy, Kerala has highlighted the need to increase the installed capacity of the solar sector in the state to 500 MW by 2017 and 2500 MW by 2030. The government is keen to contribute to long-term energy security of the state as well as the ecological security by reduction in carbon emission.

The government in its policy has underlined the need to adopt a multi-pronged approach in targeting different groups of consumers.

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