A total of 600 MW solar power projects, set up with investment of Rs 2,500 crore under the open access scheme, in Karnataka have come under severe stress after the state electricity regulator last month increased wheeling and transmission charges retrospectively.

As per the new order from the Karnataka SERC, dated May 14, developers will have to pay 13 paise/unit as transmission charge at 25% of current charge of 51.09 paise/unit for conventional power producers. These charges were exempted for 10 years from the date of commissioning for open access projects.

The wheeling charges levied by various discoms in Karnataka vary between 57 paise per unit and 94 paisa per unit for conventional (thermal) power producers. Now, solar power developers under open access will have to pay 25% of this as wheeling charge.

The open access policy allows solar power generators to directly supply power to consumers, mostly corporates, instead of supplying to discoms.

According to people close to the development, investments have got stuck for developers such as CleanMax Solar, Azure Power, Shapoorji Pallonji Group, and Golden Group with clients asking for renegotiation of contracts, since they entered into contracts at much lower tariff. According to industry estimates, setting up a 1MW solar power plant costs between Rs 4 crore/MW and Rs 4.5 crore/MW, while levellised cost of tariff is between Rs 2.6/unit and Rs 3/unit.

Gajanan Nabar, managing director of CleanMax Solar, told FE that the company, along with other developers, has approached the court and obtained a stay order on the latest charges.
Animesh Damani, managing partner of Artha Energy Resources, said since the state discoms made retrospective amendments to open access charges, thousands of crores of investments are put in question.

Read more: 600 MW K’taka solar projects stuck over new...

For a long-time we have been saying that there is a divide between rural and urban India, Anand Mahindra said. (Image: Reuters)

Products from the Mahindra group are now designed to cater to the whole ‘universe of customers’, breaking down the ‘artificial divide’ of urban and rural buyers, M&M Chairman Anand Mahindra said. Aspirations of the people residing in rural areas are identical to those in urban centres, spurred by the rapid increase in technology and communications, Mahindra told PTI.

“For a long time we have been saying that there is a divide between rural and urban India. We for some time in the Mahindra group have been seeing that as an artificial divide,” Mahindra said. The diversified group, with presence in multiple sectors, now designs its products keeping in mind varied nature of customers, he said.

“In our businesses we design our products now for universe of customers. We believe that rural people should not be looked down, they have the same purchasing power and their aspirations are the same,” he added. Mahindra further said: “We do not see any divide anymore. We think whatever we provide for urban customers we ought to provide the same to the rural customer as well.”

A leader in utility vehicles segment, Mahindra has products like Bolero and Maxx which are more popular in semi-urban and rural areas as compared to new models like XUV500, KUV100 and TUV 300 that are in demand both in big cities and small towns.

Mumbai-headquartered Mahindra group is a USD 19 billion entity with presence across various segments including automobiles, financial services, agribusiness, aerospace defense, logistics, real estate, renewable energy, speedboats and steel, amongst other businesses. The group employs over 2.4 lakh people in 100 countries.

Read more: Anand Mahindra bats for India, slams urban-rural...

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