Electricity tribunal sets aside TNERC solar order

CHENNAI, JAN 21:

The Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (APTEL) has set aside the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission solar order.

This development is a major setback for the development of solar power in Tamil Nadu, and indeed in the country, as the State is expected to be the bulwark of solar power capacity additions in India in the current year.

Acting on a petition filed by the Tamilnadu Spinning Mills Association, which said it was aggrieved over the order’s mandate that industries (and some other specified categories of consumers) needed to buy specified quantities of solar power, which is expensive.

Solar purchase obligation

On October 19, 2012, the Tamil Nadu Government came out with its ‘solar policy’, which sought to create 3,000 MW of solar power capacity in the State by 2015.

The cornerstone of the order is the ‘solar purchase obligation’. Specified categories of consumers need to get 6 per cent of their consumption (3 per cent in the first year) from solar power plants. This SPO therefore is expected to create a demand for solar power, and is generally hailed as a model for other states to emulate.

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