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Govt of India's solar move will improve the overall performance of electricity sector

Shankar Sharma, Power & Climate Policy Analyst, writes to R K Singh, Union Minister for Power, with copy to Vice-Chairperson, NITI Aayog, Union Finance Minister, and the Prime Minister:

This has reference to the Gazette of 14th June 2023 notifying amendments to Electricity (rights of consumers) Rules 2020, wherein it is mentioned that the Consumers will be asked to pay at least 20% Lower Electricity Tariff During Solar Hours, and 10- 20% Higher Electricity Tariff During non-Solar Hours. This amendment seeking to implement the Time-of-Day (TOD) metering system to optimise the usage of electricity across the country so as to minimise the overall societal level costs, is one of the best decisions to be implemented to improve the overall performance of electricity sector in the country in recent years, and the same was long overdue.
May I take this opportunity to congratulate you, your team and all others who have contributed to this critical policy decision, which will go a long way in satisfactorily addressing many of the chronic problems confronting our power sector?
The amendment, if implemented affectively, will lead to massive societal level benefits in: (i) reducing the peak hour crises/ costs, and (ii) in optimally utilising the humongous solar power potential in the country so as to minimise associated ecological degradation from power sector activities. The financial and economic implications alone can be humongous, when we objectively consider the societal level costs of massively increasing the infrastructure capacity needed to provide reliable grid quality electricity supply during the non-solar/ non-wind hours.
Such an amendment to harness solar power potential can bring massive benefits (both direct as well as indirect benefits) to the entire country, if the roof-top solar PV systems are encouraged to be setup on every building of adequate strength across the length and breadth of the country. As of now, the encouragement and financial incentives for the end consumers to optimally harness the freely available solar power, is inadequate to say the least, and can even be termed as disappointing. Two consumer segments within the power sector, which have low hanging fruits, and which can provide massive economic benefits immediately are the segments of residential, commercial and agricultural consumer.
A direct and positive consequence of this amendment is that there could be massive decrease even in the perceived need for more of conventional technology power plats such as coal based, nuclear based and dam based hydro power plants, which only can lead to massive improvements in the overall health of our natural resources.
As the next step in taking the country early towards the green energy transition, I urge the Union power ministry to provide maximum focus on the associated policies to provide urgent and effective focus on roof-top solar PV systems, and the associated energy storage battery systems.
On behalf of the rational observers of the power sector in the country, I would like to express appreciation for the above mentioned amendment, which can be seen as revolutionary in future. I hope there will be more of such revolutionary improvements in the power sector within the next few months/years.



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