Skip to main content

Gujarat's solar slowdown: Top state adviser blames inertia on "problem of plenty"

By Our Representative
A senior adviser working with a state-run institute has sharply criticized Gujarat government's official inertia in putting up more solar plants after 800 MW were commissioned for three years starting with 2009. Pointing out that subsequently to this "not much has happened", the senior expert regrets, "There have been no further allocations, and the state solar policy expired in 2014. No new policy has yet been officially announced."
Akhilesh Magal, head adviser, solar energy, Gujarat Energy Research and Management Institute (GERMI), promoted state-controlled Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC), says one reason why the solar power producers are refusing to come in is, "Gujarat does not allow third-party open-access" where an independent power producer "connects to a buyer" directly. "The state electric utility companies are wary of granting open-access permissions, as this would thwart businesses", he regrets.
An environmental engineer from Carnegie Mellon University and an expert on solar policies and grid integration of renewable energy, Magal, in his commentary in a top international renewable energy portal says, "It would be wrong to say that there isn’t enough land. The solar resource, of course, continues to be good"", he says, wondering, while most developers and investors have had a good experience in Gujarat, "why is the state holding back on further allocations?"
Magal
The commentary, titled "Gujarat & The Problem Of Plenty", suggests, the reversal in solar field has happened despite the fact that "Gujarat was the first state in India to announce its solar policy in 2009" and its "policy preceded the National Solar Mission (NSM) and was the first (and since then the only) policy to be based on a fixed feed-in tariff (FiT)." 
A major reason why solar power is no more being encouraged in Gujarat, suspects Magal, is "Gujarat is one of the few states in India that have a power surplus" and Gujarat’s state-owned "distribution companies (DISCOMs) literally do not need any more power, and therefore have no reason to purchase solar power."
As against this, Magal says, "In most other states with power deficits, solar power is an easy way to quickly meet the deficit. Thermal power plants take time to get commissioned, and coal linkages are a constraint in India today. In Gujarat, solar can only replace conventional generation, and not augment it. Sending power to other states is allowed, but severely limited due to transmission capacity bottlenecks."
Then, Magal says, "Although the price of solar has fallen by more than 60% since Gujarat signed its first power purchase agreements (PPAs), solar is still about 30% more expensive than long-term thermal power contracts from new coal plants." Against this backdrop, "DISCOMs are not allowed to freely pass on these costs to consumers unless they get the proposed tariff approved by the regulator, State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC)."
Explaining the constraint, the expert says, "This would leave the onus on the government to bridge the difference. Solar PPAs are long-term agreements (at least 25 years), which would mean that the government has a sizable outflow on its cash-flow sheet for a long time. Governments generally are wary of making such long-term commitments."

Comments

Ms. Sowbhagya Rao, Senior Project Fellow, Outreach Manager (Social Media and Content), Gujarat Energy Research and Management Institute said…
I am writing to you with reference to the article published on the following site - http://www.counterview.net/2015/04/gujarats-solar-slowdown-top-state.html

​I would like to bring to your notice​ ​that the views expressed in the article published in Counterview has even remotely no proximate nexus to the views expressed by Mr. Akhilesh Magal.

​Firstly, The author’s views and tone are not critical in nature. They simply present unbiased facts (“Gujarat has not announced a policy yet”, “DISCOMs are wary of procuring solar power” etc.).

Secondly, The author has also offered solutions (second part of the article) which the blog Counterview has not even discussed. This is incorrect information. If you want to quote the author, it is fine, but quoting only one part of the article is a misrepresentation of the author’s views and facts of this case. Both sides of the argument need to be presented duly. ​

I would request you to eschew from publishing inaccurate information (that is duly required of you from the Norms of Journalistic Conduct).

TRENDING

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

India reaches 8th of 10 stage genocide: US Muslim advocacy group raises 'alert'

By Hena Zuberi* India has reached the 8th stage of genocide with the persecution of the Muslim community. Stating this, Professor Greg Stanton, who heads Genocide Watch, declared a Genocide Emergency Alert for India today at Justice For All online briefing.

Anti-poor? 'Cumbersome' to link aadhaar, voter ID for people sans internet access

By Prashant Kumar Chaudhary, Ajit Kumar Jaiswal*  At present, technology plays an increasingly crucial part in modelling human existence by offering a variety of solutions to many of the challenges individuals confront in the real world. As a result, every branch of research works to provides means to solve these difficulties precisely and efficiently. The Central government works along the same lines as well.

'Dargah site was a temple': Claim in Gujarat following post-Babri verdict demands in UP

By Rajiv Shah  Will Gujarat also see demands to replace mosques and dargahs with Hindu temples? It would seem so, if a new fact-finding team conclusion is any indication. Apprehending the “danger” of communal conflagration, it has cited the claim on a 15th century dargah was originally a Hindu temple – allegedly quite on line with what has been happening in UP following the Supreme Court verdict on Babri Mosque.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Why Church in India today needs a Rutilio Grande, martyred for stance on social justice

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  For the people of El Salvador, January 22, 2022 will be more than just a red-letter day. Three of their sons, Jesuit Fr Rutilio Grande and his two lay associates 72-year-old Manuel Solorzano and 15-year-old Nelson Rutilio Lemus (and Italian Franciscan missionary Fr Cosme Spessotto who was also martyred) will be beatified in San Salvador.

Sweden-backed study: India won't achieve 2030 UN goals, officials can't recognise SDG

By Rajiv Shah  A Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC)-sponsored study, carried out by the advocacy group Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) India, seeking to analyse the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No 12, Responsible Consumption and Production (RCP), has regretted, it is "very unlikely" India will achieve any of the targets of SDG 12 by 2030 "unless some serious measures are taken by the government to reverse the present trend."

Gender insensitive? Model Gujarat's cyclone relief package ignores 40,000 fisherwomen

CSJ volunteers talking to fisherwomen By Rajiv Shah  A Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) note on the Gujarat government’s compensation package to the victims of the devastating Tauktae cyclone, which hit the coastal belt of Saurashtra's Amerli, Rajula, Una, and Gir-Somnath districts in May 2021, has said, the relief offered was so terribly inadequate that many of the fisherfolk were not able to fish for the rest of the year.

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam* In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Haridwar call for genocide direct result of Modi 'tolerating' Islamophobic policies

By Our Representative  A high-level briefing organised in Washington DC, in which as many as 17 human rights and interfaith organizations -- including Amnesty International USA, Genocide Watch and Hindus for Human Rights, apart from several persons in their individual capacity -- participated, has come down heavily on what they called "Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Islamophobic policies and tolerance of open incitement by Hindu extremists for a genocide of Muslims."