India: UPNEDA issues draft Solar Power Policy 2017

The Uttar Pradesh New and Renewable Energy Development Agency (UPNEDA) has adopted the draft Solar Power Policy 2017 to ensure advancement towards both economic and environmental objectives, including the state target of 8% solar renewable purchase obligation by 2022.

Once approved by a competent authority, the policy will stay in effect for a period of five years or until the government issues a new one.

As noted in the draft, Uttar Pradesh aims for 10,700 MW of solar power, including 4,300 MW of rooftop solar projects, by FY 2022 in line with the Indian government’s ambitious plans of reaching 170 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022, of which 100 GW is to come from solar.

Moreover, the state pledges to encourage the use of wastelands for the development of integrated solar parks, as well as help public and private sector entities to develop solar parks with a minimum 100 MW capacity.

The policy draft specifies that “minimum project size will be 5 MW at a single location for standalone projects, and they will be awarded through competitive bidding only.”

In terms of incentives for grid-connected rooftop solar projects, which have suffered from connection delays of up to 90-100 days in Uttar Pradesh, the local government has pledged to provide a subsidy of INR 10,000 (~$155)/kW up to a maximum limit of INR 20,000 (~$310)/kW per consumer for the first 100 MW applications submitted online to UPNEDA.

To encourage solar power generation, UPNEDA will undertake a single window clearance for all solar power producers. Banking of 100% energy in every financial year will be permitted and, for 10 years, the electricity duty will not be levied on sales to distribution licensees, captive consumption, and third-party sales for all solar projects set up within Uttar Pradesh.

According to Mercom Capital’s India Solar Project Tracker, Uttar Pradesh has a cumulative installed solar capacity of over 450 MW and a pipeline of nearly 500 MW under various stages of development. Although this is far behind India’s leading solar states, such as Andhra Pradesh with 1,867 MW, Uttar Pradesh is still one of the 10 Indian states, out of 29, that accounts for 90% of the country’s large-scale solar capacity.