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When releasing the tariff decision for 2022–2023 last month, the Rajasthan Electricity Regulatory Commission (RERC) suggested the state government take into account creating regulations requiring solar power providers who are exporting energy out of the state to offer 10% free electricity to the state’s Discoms.
The topic has been a part of conversations among representatives of the sector, think tanks, and government officials throughout the course of the previous year. However, RERC is undoubtedly drawing in more and more interested parties who have strong opinions on both sides of the issue.
Those who support the offer of free electricity from companies claim that compared to any other business, solar power utilizes the most land and the generators laboriously rely on state resources, including the environment, and electrical infrastructure. The whole ecosystem and resources of the surrounding areas are taken over in the process.
As a result, they argue, it is both ethical and lawful for the government to mandate solar power providers to contribute 10% of their energy to the state for free so that it can be distributed to the local population.
Members of the solar industry, on the other hand, claim that the Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corporation already charges power providers Rs 2 million per megawatt who sell their power to customers outside the state.
“The state government is already taking money from Inter-state Transmission System Projects (ISTS).”, said Sunil Bansal, president of the Rajasthan Solar Association.
He goes on to say that if they want free electricity, they should stop invoicing the Renewable Energy Development Fund and instead start utilizing their own power. If this advice is taken seriously and incorporated into legislation, the emerging industry will suffer.
Rajasthan now has more than 14,000 MW of installed solar power generating capacity, and the pipeline of projects is solid due to land availability. Senior government officials have expressed doubts about the law’s legality.
Some government officials are concerned that putting free electricity on generators may discourage investors from investing in the state.
If solar power producers are obliged to pay 10% free power in Rajasthan, it will set a bad precedent in the country, with other coal, wind, and hydro-rich states possibly falling in line.