A forward-looking Government needs to have a structured approach to seriously evaluate the possibilities of harnessing renewable energy sources and accord due weightage in a realistic manner for such sources to be integrated into its overall energy generation strategies. There is a popular perception that solar energy could be a key part of the solution to the energy crisis in the State. To promote the systematic tapping of Solar Energy potential to the maximum, an appropriate policy framework is essential. This policy seeks to evaluate, in a realistic manner, the possibilities of harnessing solar energy to optimal levels and to put in place the necessary framework.
Low maturity level and high cost of the technology, non-compatibility of transmission and distribution infrastructure, limitations on land availability, the inadequacy of fiscal incentives and entry of unscrupulous elements into the field have been the reasons behind the very low penetration of solar energy in the mainstream life of Kerala. The lack of easy off-the-shelf availability of solar-powered equipment with standardized quality and pricing is another reason for its very low presence.
Solar energy is one of the major sources of renewable energy. As improved technology becomes available and at a reasonable cost, the use of Solar energy will gain acceptance. The negative impact that the actions of the imposters and fly-by-night operators out to make illegal gains, has to be strongly counter-acted by the governmental agencies working in the field of renewable energy.
However, at a macro level, Electricity Act 2003 promotes the absorption of renewable energy and mandates for specified consumption from renewable sources in the area of every distribution utility. Accordingly, Renewable Purchase Obligations (RPO) and more specifically solar purchase obligations have become mandatory recently. This at present is fixed at 3% of the total consumption for RPO and out of which 0.25% shall be from the solar sources alone, with annual escalation at 10% till the quantum from renewable reaches 10% of total purchase.
The vision is to mainstream the use of solar energy in the energy mix of Kerala in an inclusive manner to ensure optimal usage of the available solar potential in this region.
The Mission of Kerala Solar Power Policy
i. Increase the installed capacity of the solar sector in the State to 500MW by 2017 and 2500 MW by 2030;
ii. Contribute to long-term energy security of the State of Kerala as well as ecological security by a reduction in carbon emission;
iii. Define end users who can adapt solar in a big way and target them;
iv. Adopt a multi-pronged approach in targeting different groups of consumers;
v. Deploy package of incentives and disincentives for identified groups;
vi. Adapt solar to trigger a paradigm shift in the usage of energy at the micro and macro levels;
vii. Generate large direct and indirect employment opportunities in solar and allied industries;
viii. Create skilled and semi-skilled man power resources for installation and maintenance of the solar systems through promotion of technical and other related training facilities;
ix. Promote entrepreneurs/startups industries/ institutions in the State that are
engaged in the development of innovative solar based systems;
x. Create an R&D hub by establishment of institutional collaborations with educational institutions, research centres, industries, utility, etc. for working towards applied research and commercialization of nascent technologies to accelerate deployment of various combinations of solar power technologies and solar-based hybrid co-generation technologies which will focus on improving efficiency in existing systems, reducing cost of balance of system.
4. Title and enforcement:
a. This Policy will be known as Kerala Solar Energy Policy, 2013
b. The Policy will come into operation with effect from the date of publication and will remain in force until superseded or modified by another Policy.
c. State Government may undertake review of this Policy as and when the need arises in view of any technological breakthrough or to remove any inconsistency with Electricity Act 2003, Rules & Regulation made thereof or any Government of India Policy/State Electricity Regulatory Commission’s order.
The DISCOM link is below: