Maharashtra is the 3rd biggest state in India by size but currently ranks 8th in the list of top solar power contributing states. It evidently has ample potential to develop and increase its solar power production capacity.
Currently, Maharashtra has a cumulative capacity of 1.1 Gw of solar power. As MNRE is gearing up to meet the solar installation goal of 175GW by 2022, the state of Maharashtra has set an ambitious target of achieving 12 GW of solar power by 2022.
The state has revised and updated its solar policy to meet this target.
Highlights of the Current Solar power policy of Maharashtra:
Planned Target Solar Capacity for the State
Maharashtra has set a target of generating an additional grid-connected solar power capacity of 7500 MW by 2019. Of this, 2500 MW would be generated as a public-private partnership with MAHAGENCO (Maharashtra State Power Generation Company Ltd, formerly known as the MSEB). The remaining 5000MW solar power projects will be tendered to other developers.
Public-Private Partnership for Solar Generation with MAHAGENCO
10% of the target planned to be developed using public-private partnership will be implemented at public spaces along water bodies belonging to the Water Resources Department and local government bodies like lakes, canals, channels and so on.
MAHAGENCO will sign agreements with the local government bodies and the Water Resources Department regarding project installation, project management, revenue sharing, etc.
The electricity developed using this mode will be used for fulfilling the RGO (Revenue Generation Obligation) of the MAHAGENCO, and the tariff will be fixed by the MERC.
Public Solar Parks
The Public Private Partnership can also be carried in the form of solar parks. Solar parks will be installed in townships, industrial areas, and warehouse zones, wherever location is available. Departments like the Water Resources department, Metro or Public Transport department can partner with MAHAGENCO to build solar parks.
The electricity generated from solar parks will be sold to distribution licensees via competitive bidding, or for third-party sale, or captive purposes both within and outside the state. Projects developed as solar parks should have a minimum solar capacity of 1MW or more.
Private Solar Parks
Private investors can also build independent solar parks in the state. If a solar installation project has a target capacity of less than 1 MW, it can be developed if several projects of a minimum 250 kW capacity are combined.
The MSEDCL is in charge of providing grid connectivity to these smaller projects if the overall combined capacity exceeds 1 MW.
The project developer should procure the land required for private solar parks. However, the private investor can approach the respective district collector to grant government wastelands on a leasehold basis.
Concessions offered by the State Government for Development of Solar Power Projects
- Government land, if available will be granted without auction for the manufacturing of solar modules, panels, and other allied machinery at 50% concessional rate.
- Solar power projects developed under this policy are free from obtaining NOC from the Pollution Control Board.
- Distribution license holders can purchase electricity from private solar power projects via competitive bidding, under the approval of the MERC. In competitive bidding, solar projects can either participate independently or on a cluster basis.
- Private solar project developer can generate solar electricity for third-party sale or captive use within or outside the state. It can also be sold via the Renewable Energy Mechanism.
- Equipment used for solar power projects must meet the technical standards set by the MNRE.
- Private developers can also register their solar power projects as Industrial units under the Industrial Department.
- All solar power projects implemented in the state must be registered with the MEDA (Maharashtra Energy Development Agency).
- Solar power projects are exempted from electricity duty for the first ten years of operation.
Maharashtra approved the state’s rooftop solar energy policy in January 2016.
- The policy offers several concessions encouraging both public departments and private entities to go solar. The policy instructs Civic Development Authorities to provide construction permission only to government buildings and colonies that pledge to install rooftop solar.
- Government and semi-government offices that have pledged to go solar can receive up to 100% subsidy, while private offices and companies can receive up to 15% subsidy for installing rooftop solar panels.
- Residential, commercial and industrial buildings are setting up rooftop solar systems to cut down energy bills, making use of the subsidies offered by the government.
Net Metering for Domestic Solar Rooftops
Maharashtra provides a net metering system for domestic solar rooftops. The size of the solar system determines the voltage level that will be fed into the grid, and the MSEDCL (Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co. Ltd.) is in charge of the application processing for Net Metering.
Maharashtra – Finding its Place in the Sun
Geographically located in an area which receives plenty of sunshine nearly 250 to 300 days of the year, with average radiation of up to 4 to 6 kWh per sq.m, the state of Maharashtra is poised to find its place in the sun.
The favourable solar policies of the Central Government further support Maharashtra’s solar industry helping it emerge as one of the leading solar power producers in the country.