Draft regulations to make solar costlier for open access consumers in Rajasthan

NEW DELHI: Rajasthan has sought to impose charges on open market purchase of renewable energy by large consumers, raising tariffs by at least half-a-rupee. With the draft regulations released on Tuesday, the state has joined Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Telangana, which are restricting large consumers from buying power from the open market to protect their power distribution companies.

Industry experts said the move could go against new and existing solar plants in Rajasthan, the most promising state in terms of solar energy potential. The draft of the renewable energy regulations released by Rajasthan electricity regulator is not aligned with the state’s solar policy released last year.

“Around three years ago, open access projects for renewable energy were running quite strong or considering projects in the state,” Ajay Yadav, president of Rajasthan-based REAR Renewable Energy Association, told ET. “The measures in this draft will further worsen the future for open access.”

According to experts, this move had been coming, considering the financial state of the discoms. “Despite attractive fundamentals, the state has resisted open access to protect the interests of its discoms. We see many states taking a similar approach unfortunately and it is important that the government finds a middle ground to balance the interests of both discoms and consumers,” said Vinay Rustagi, managing director of renewable energy consulting firm Bridge to India.

As per the latest draft tariff regulations by the Rajasthan Electricity Regulatory Commission (RERC), per unit wheeling charges are proposed to be imposed on renewable energy projects. Also, the cross-subsidy surcharge and additional surcharge is proposed to be levied on open access transactions based on renewable energy power plants. While the state’s last year’s solar policy provides there should be no cross-subsidy in case of open access transactions based on renewable energy.

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As per Rajasthan’s 2019 Solar Energy Policy, the state has set a target of 30 GW of solar capacity by 2025. Grid-scale solar parks will account for 24 GW, while the rest will be made up through solar rooftops and solar pumps.



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